Tech Tips How to save the battery on your iPhone 4 or 4S

Published on June 27th, 2012 | by Tom Wake

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12 simple ways to increase the battery life on your iPhone

How to save the battery on your iPhone 4 or 4SHow to conserve the battery on your iPhone 4, 4S or 5 (some of these tips will also work for earlier models)

The iPhone is a fantastic little device but the one area where it falls well short is battery life.

You know what it’s like, you do a bit web browsing on your way to work, check your emails at lunch, make a few phone calls during the day and suddenly it’s 7:30pm you’re down to 12% battery life.

The problem is you’re supposed to be catching up with friends in half an hour and you can’t remember where it is you’re supposed to be meeting. Can you risk making one last call to check? Will you need that battery life for later?

The whole point of having a mobile phone (the original point, before apps, ringtones, web surfing and Facebook came along) was to have a reliable tele-communications device you could keep on you at all times and use to contact others with in case of emergency.

The problem is technology companies have become so obsessed by giving us fancy 3D graphics and media storage on our phones that the batteries on our phones are barely able to keep up.

Fear not! There are few simple tweaks you can make to your iPhone’s settings to help increase your battery life significantly. Often by switching off a few features you probably don’t use anyway you can extend the battery life by several hours!

1. Make sure Bluetooth is set to ‘off’

Unless you use one of those wireless headsets that makes you look like you’re talking to yourself, the chances are you don’t need to have Bluetooth mode switched on. Because it’s constantly scanning for wirelessly devices when enabled it can be consume battery life fast. Switch it off by going to…

Settings > General > Bluetooth > Slide to ‘Off’

2. Set up the ‘Auto-lock’ feature

Auto-lock is an automated function that will send your phone to sleep after a specified period has elapsed. This is a great battery saving feature because when the screen is not in use but is to blaring it uses up a considerable amount of battery life. By setting up an Auto-Lock of 1 minute you can ensure your iPhone conserves energy when not in use. You can set it up here…

Settings > General > Auto-Lock > Choose preferred setting

3. Switch off ‘Data Push’ mode

Data Push is where you’re phone will periodically check for emails and other data updates and buzz you an alert. I personally prefer it download and check emails when I actually hit the ‘Mail’ button. It only takes a second to download emails anyway and it saves a HUGE amount of battery life. If your work calls for you to be alerted the moment a new email comes through you might want to leave these on. Otherwise you can switch it off by going to…

Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Fetch New Data > Slide to Off

4. Make sure ‘Auto-Brightness’ is enabled

Auto-Brightness is a clever little iPhone feature that actually enables your phone to detect how much light there is in the room and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly. Screen brightness is one of the major battery drains so by ensuring the screen automatically dims when it’s light outside you’ll save precious energy. It’s also far easier on the eye. You can switch this on by going here…

Settings > Brightness > Slide Auto-Brightness to On

5. Pick which ‘Location Services’ you need enabled

In your iPhone is a little GPS sensor which helps apps locate where you are in the world. This is useful for the map facility and for apps which provide location relevant data – like restaurant finders, that sort of thing. You’ll probably find that there are a number of apps on your phone that you don’t need using the GPS. By switching these off you can save a considerable amount of juice. You can pick and choose which ones you want switched on and off here…

Settings > Location Services > Choose which apps you want to enable 

PLUS

Settings > Location Services > System Services > Choose which settings you want to enable

(Tip: Diagnostics & Usage, Location-Based iAds, and Setting Time Zone are good ones to switch off as you’re unlikely to miss these at all).

If you’re running low and you want to increase your battery life further there are a couple of other tweaks you can make (don’t forget to turn these back on afterwards though).

6. Switch off ‘3G’ mode

3G is the highest speed of Internet you can get on your iPhone when you’re not connected to wifi. In fact even when you’re not using the Internet it can be a big drain on the battery because it’s constantly searching for the connection. Switch it off if you’re low on juice.

Settings > General > Network > Slide Enable 3G to Off

7. Switch of ‘Wi-Fi’ mode

Really desperate? If you just need your phone to make calls and you’re not going to be going online then you can switch off Wi-Fi altogether. Again when this is enabled it’s constantly scanning the airwaves for a Wi-Fi connection which eats up battery life. Switch it off by going to…

Settings > WiFi > Slide ‘Wi-Fi’ to Off

8. Turn off EQ settings on iPod

I use my iPhone as an iPod and listen to music all the time so I’m loathe to do this… but if you’re in a bit of a pickle you can save extra battery life by switching off any EQ settings (for example Bass Booster) on your iPhone. You can do this by going here:

Settings > Music > EQ > Slide to Off

8. Turn off the ‘Vibrate’ function

This is a no-no for me because I keep my iPhone in my pocket with the sound switched off. However if you’re a laaaady and you keep your iPhone in a handbag or purse you might want to switch off the vibrate feature because the physical judder zaps up a lot of battery life. You can do this by going here…

Setting > Sounds > Slide Vibrate to Off

Lastly here a few general tips to help you keep your battery life in check when you’re on the move.

9. Know what causes the biggest drain on your battery so you can plan in advance

Obviously it helps to know what kind of things place the biggest drain on battery life in the first. If you have a rough idea of what uses what, you can prepare ahead when you know you’ve got a long day without a charger in sight.

In short any form of media drains battery. That means taking photos, playing games (especially graphics intensive ones), watching movies and browsing the Internet (especially when you’re not using Wi-Fi).

Use these functions in moderation and you’ll extend your battery life considerably.

10. Let your battery drain to 0% at least once a month

Your iPhone uses a lithium battery which likes being looked after – boringly. One of the best ways to do that is to charge your battery up to 100% and let it run down to 0% at least once a month. Please note: you absolutely don’t need to do this every time you charge it – just once a month!

11. Make sure you download all software updates!

Apple can feel like a right nag telling you to update this and that all the time. I know it’s boring, but updates often improve functionality, security and… wait for it… help with battery life. As the software ages individual app developers and Apple’s own developers find new ways to make it run more efficiently without using up quite so much power.

The only way you can ensure you’ve got the most up to date software on your phone is by (you guessed it) updating it when it tells you too.

12. If you’re in an area with no signal switch on ‘Airplane Mode’

If you’re traipsing through the Congolese rainforest, hiking up K2 or sand boarding in the Sahara the chances there’s no phone signal for miles. The problem is when your iPhone can’t find a signal it keeps on checking for one like a hyperactive child. This is a good thing if you’ve just passed under, say, a motorway tunnel – but it’s bad if you’re going to be out in the wilds for sometime because it’s a big drain on battery life.

The solution? If you know you’re going to be off limits for a while simply switch the phone onto Airplane Mode and it’ll extend your battery life considerably. Flick it back on again when you’re back in an area where you know you can get signal. You can do this by going here…

Settings > Airplane Mode > Slide to Off

That’s it! I hope you found these tips useful.

If you’ve good any tips of your own or if you found this article helpful please do leave a comment below. 


About the Author

My name's Tom Wake and I'm the editor of Insider's Edge. I bring you tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you save money, make money and save time.



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