I’ve personally had no problems with battery life since upgrading to iOS 7, and after using the initial developer preview betas noticed a big hike in performance as the software was further refined. However my experiences on an iPhone 5 have not necessarily been mirrored across the board, and there are enough users complaining about sub-par longevity since updating their software.
Enough to warrant an article about furthering your phone’s juice, anyway. You’ll be pleased to know there are a few steps you can take to make your phone last longer under iOS 7, though they’ll cost you in terms of shiny new features.
Turn Off Background App Refresh
In iOS 7, Apple has attempted to strike the perfect balance between running background processes and preserving battery life using a technology known as Background App Refresh. This allows apps to take note of your habits and refresh periodically in the background at times of low-usage. If you read the news every day at 8am, Background App Refresh will take note and try to have your news reader refreshed and ready to go before you start your day (provided the app supports it).
While this is a nice feature to have access to (and has many more applications beyond the oft-mentioned news reader analogy), you can choose to turn this feature off entirely from the Settings > General > Background App Refresh menu. If you’d only like to allow certain apps to use the new feature, you can disable it on a per-app basis. Take note of apps with a small pointer next to them, as they use location services in the background as well.
As the feature is designed to minimise battery use, only kicking in at times of low-load, your mileage may vary in terms of added battery life.
AirDrop, Bluetooth & Brightness
If you have an iPhone 5, 5C or 5S (or one of the latest iPads), you’ll also have access to an iOS-to-iOS wireless transfer method known as AirDrop. The technology allows two users to send each other files, contacts and everything else from the share menu. By default it’s on, broadcasting your availability to nearby devices and potentially wasting precious juice.
You can disable AirDrop from Control Centre, accessed by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen. Tap AirDrop then Off to disable it, though be aware you can still send files to others from the Share menu via the protocol. Control Centre also holds a few other useful battery saving controls, like the ability to quickly disable Bluetooth and manually reduce screen brightness (a huge drain on battery) with a flick of your finger.
For what it’s worth, I quite like the parallax effect included in iOS 7 which adds an element of depth to your device as you tilt the screen around – but others don’t. In this instance you can disable it from the Settings > General > Accessibility menu under the Reduce Motion setting.
It’s unclear how much battery life will be impacted by doing this, but it’s bound to give you a small bump.
Spring Clean Your Settings
This has nothing to do with iOS 7, but it might help save you some juice anyway. By running through your settings you might find that you’re able to save a significant amount of battery life just by doing without certain features. Notifications are arguably the biggest drain that many of us face throughout the day, so heading over to Settings > Notification Centre and turning off all non-critical notifications will result in less drain.
Tap on each app you would like to change the settings for, and select None to disable notifications entirely. You can also remove individual apps from Notification Centre using the settings below this option.
Disabling push email is another great way of saving some juice, particularly if you receive a lot of mail throughout the day. If you don’t need to be notified the second an email comes in (and lets face it, most of us don’t) then you can choose to fetch your mail instead. You can change this setting under Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data then disabling Push. You can also specify a period to check for new mail, with the longer you specify resulting in better battery life.
Finally turning off Siri’s raise to speak feature (if you haven’t already) might also help somewhat, accessible under Settings > General > Siri.
Restore As New
This is anecdotal, but many users swear that restoring their phone or tablet in iTunes (by connecting the device, selecting it and choosing Restore on the Summary tab) and then setting the phone up “as new” results in better battery life. This has probably more to do with the fact that a brand new phone isn’t receiving push notifications from 30 different apps, but some claim that user data can also be to blame.
According to many users, restoring as new (and not from a backup) while using iCloud to backup your most important information (contacts, calendars and so on) then re-syncing with iCloud after restoring is most effective. Your app purchases are safe, as you can re-download again from the Updates tab under Purchased through the App Store, but the hassle involved in getting your phone set back up the way you love it sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me.
I’d personally be very hesitant to try this before resorting to the option below – so proceed with caution, and backup anyway before you restore your device in iTunes.
Sometimes things go wrong, and when they do it’s handy to be able to return to the manufacturer to get the problem sorted once and for all. If you really think there’s a problem with your device, be it a dud battery or other component causing unnecessary drain, you can always return to Apple at one of their retail locations, or via their support website for further help.
Naturally, it helps if your device is still under warranty but those of you with AppleCare can also make an appointment with relative confidence in the service. That’s not to say that those of you out of warranty who don’t have AppleCare can’t do this, with Apple quoting $79 plus shipping for an iPhone battery replacement and $99 plus shipping for iPad owners on their battery replacements page.
Have you experienced poor iOS 7 battery life? Had any luck resolving it? Leave your own tips in the comments.
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