Last updated on September 17th, 2020 at 08:48 pm

Writer John Hawthorne provides some tips on extending your phone's battery.

Charging a low battery smartphone

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The following article originally appeared on Lightningfast and has been republished here at the request of the author, John Hawthorne.

iPhones are great, right? You can do so much with them, from paying bills to texting people who owe you money to scheduling doctor’s appointments for that wicked rash on your back. It’s like having a computer in your pocket.

But they can also be incredibly frustrating, particularly when it comes to keeping them charged. It feels like a full time job. You’re always watching the little battery icon, dreading the moment when you receive the low power warning. The moment that message of doom appears, it’s a race against the clock. You have to find somewhere to charge your phone, and fast. If you don’t, you won’t be able to check Facebook for a solid hour, and that would send you into serious withdraw.

There are some workarounds, of course. You can purchase a phone case that contains an extra battery, but depending on the size of your phone, it can feel like you’re carrying around a small typewriter. You can also try to keep it constantly plugged in, but that can be difficult if you travel a lot.

There are a few other, less inconvenient options, however – options that don’t involve you constantly keeping an additional power source in your pocket. If you know these tips, tricks, and workarounds, you can keep your battery kicking longer and your power panic in check.

Here are hacks and tips to stop your iphone from dying so fast.

Dim The Screen

This may seem obvious, but dimming the screen of your phone can cut down on unnecessary battery drain. Two simple ways to do this.

  • Turn on the “Auto-brightness setting” so that your phone adjusts automatically based on the light in the room.
  • Manually dim it further when you don’t need as much light.

If you really want to go the extra mile, there is a simple hack to dim it beyond the maximum levels used by Apple. This can be a good setting if you’re in complete darkness. Plus, it’s also easier on the eyes.

Be Careful What Apps You Use

Certain apps drain the battery faster than others, particularly ones that are heavy on graphics or audio. So while that beautiful retina screen makes gaming a delight, it also kills your battery. If you’re going to play battery heavy games, consider keeping your phone plugged in during that time.

Simply tap on an app under your battery settings to see what percentage it’s using compared to the time it’s been on the screen. This will let you know which ones are hogging all your juice.

Additionally, consider closing out background apps instead of just minimizing them. When you click the home button once, it only minimizes the app, still leaving it running in the background where it can suck juice from your battery like some sort of digital vampire.

To close apps, double tap your home button and then swipe up on each app/screen that appears.

Start Using A Battery Saving App

Apps like Battery Doctor allow you to quickly determine which apps are killing your battery, as well as use settings that will minimize power drain. These can be useful if you want to quickly toggle certain settings on and off without having to go through a series of manual steps.

Don’t Unnecessarily Use WiFi

Connecting your phone to Wifi is fantastic. But when you’re just out and about, your phone will keep looking for a router to connect to. As it searches high and low for a WiFi network, your battery is steadily being drained. Simply turn off your WiFi connection when you’re not using it.

Stop Using Location Services

Any app that uses location settings kills your battery. Why? Because they all utilize your phone’s built in GPS, which is a big battery hog. So, for example, if you let Facebook always use your location, every time you use the app it puts a much heavier strain on your battery than if it wasn’t using the GPS.

When you first install an app, it will ask to use location services. You can prevent it from doing so at that point. You can also disable location services after the fact.

Quit Being So Addicted To Your Email

There are two ways to get email on your phone. The first way is to have your mail app automatically look for new email every few minutes. If you’re one of those people who treat email like cocaine, this is probably you. Fortunately, your habit won’t ruin your life, only your battery.

The second, more battery friendly method, is to only have your phone look for new mail when you open the app. You can change this setting in the “Mail” settings.

Stop Getting So Many Notifications

Some of you receive notifications every three minutes, making your phone vibrate more than a Swedish massage chair. And while you might like knowing every time your friend posts a new Drake meme on Facebook, you’re killing your battery.

Turn off notifications for apps that don’t matter much to you.

Use Low Power Mode

When the low power message of terror pops up on your screen, you have the option of putting your phone into low power mode. This automatically optimizes your battery through things like turning off system animations, iCloud sync, and other things that will suck the life from your phone.

Stop Using Bluetooth

Unless you’re actually using a Bluetooth device, like wireless headphones, there’s no reason your Bluetooth connection should be on. When it is, your phone is constantly searching for other devices to connect to, like some sort of socially awkward person always trying to make friends.

Turn off your Bluetooth connection unless you’re actively using it.

Don’t Let Apps Refresh In The Background

When you only minimize apps, they typically keep refreshing in the background. For example, if an app reports sports scores, it will keep automatically updating even if you’re not actively using it. While this allows you to quickly hop back into an app, it also uses a lot more battery.

Stop your apps from automatically refreshing and your battery will be grateful.

Don’t Use Dynamic Backgrounds

Dynamic backgrounds are wallpapers that constantly move in the background. They’re really neat looking, but they also constantly tap into your battery. Unless you really want to have that growing flower in the background, don’t use any dynamic backgrounds.

Note: this isn’t a feature you turn off. Just don’t use these backgrounds and you’ll be fine.

Have Your Phone Lock Faster

When you aren’t using your phone, it will automatically lock after a set period of time. When it’s locked, it uses less battery. Instead of having it lock after 10 or 15 minutes, set it to lock after 3 or 5 minutes. Plus, if you leave it somewhere by accident it will keep someone else from using it.

Don’t Use Fitness Tracking

Apple wants to be everything, from your phone to your fitness tracker. In an effort to do this, it has a fitness tracking setting, where it counts the steps you take and the amount of movement you do. Of course, this tracking also requires battery life. Make sure that this is turned off.

Turn AirDrop Off

AirDrop is a convenient feature that allows you to quickly share files with other iOS and Mac users. While this feature can be really useful, it also will slowly drain your battery. Only use AirDrop when you’re actually sharing or receiving files.

Stop Automatically Uploading Photos

Apple will do everything in their power to get you to use their iCloud services, including letting you automatically upload all your photos to iCloud. This feature is convenient, in that you don’t have to worry about saving them on your phone, but it also requires constant juice from your battery. This can especially be a problem if you are a big camera user.

Turn off auto-uploads and save your battery life.


Every new version of the iPhone has newer, neater features. It’s faster, has smoother animations, allows you to use your face to unlock it, and probably will soon have voice recognition. The downside of all these innovations is that they use more and more battery.

So while the phones are getting more and more powerful, they’re also putting more and more strain on the battery, which means less battery life.

But there are ways to squeeze more power out of your phone. They can be a bit cumbersome to implement, but they’re better than constantly being confronted with the low battery warning.

John Hawthorne is a health nut from Canada with a passion for travel and taking part in humanitarian efforts. His writing not only solves a creative need it has also lead to many new opportunities when traveling abroad.

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