Nerd Chick Adventures: Stretch Your iPhone’s Battery Life

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My hubby’s iPhone 5 was always dying on him. He’s constantly on the phone at work, and he was charging it two or three times a day. I’m not a power user, but even I had to recharge every night or I wouldn’t have a battery to speak of in the morning. When we upgraded to iPhone 6’s, we were determined to thwart those blasted battery problems however we could. Here are some tips for conserving the life of your iPhone and other iOS devices.

While these tips apply to all mobile devices, the instructions for changing settings are iOS specific. Please note, these instructions assume that your device is equipped with the latest iOS. If you’ve been neglecting your iOS updates, note that Apple recommends keeping your iOS up to date to improve battery life because new software often includes “advanced energy-saving technologies.”

Starting with average Joe users, there are several modifications you can make right now to squeeze the most juice from your battery.

Brightness settings. Lighting up your screen takes a lot of battery power, and the brighter the screen the more juice it drains. Manually adjust the brightness of your iOS mobile device by swiping up from the bottom of your screen and moving the bar next to the little “sun” picture as far to the left as you are able to with your current lighting. Obviously, if you’re in bright sunlight, the bar will need to be further to the right, but inside you should be able to get away with dropping it all the way down. Also, under Settings > Display & Brightness, you can toggle on Auto-Brightness and the phone will automatically adjust for you.

Do an app audit. You can find out which applications are using the most power by going to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage. This may not be a big surprise – text messaging was taking up the bulk of my usage – but if you see an application that’s unnecessarily sucking up a lot of juice, you can stop it from running in the background. Under Settings > General > Background App Refresh you can switch the whole feature off, or toggle it off for specific applications.

Disable nagging notifications. Push notifications – those little messages that light up your phone to remind you to play Candy Crush – can put a strain on your battery, particularly if you’ve got a bunch of them pinging all day. Toggle off the ones you don’t need under Settings > Notifications and switch off Allow Notifications for unnecessary apps. You can turn them back under the same menu if you change your mind.

Ditch Unnecessary Services. The process of gathering and sharing location data is power-intensive, particularly if you have apps tracking your every move. Disable GPS for apps that don’t need it or turn it off altogether under Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Similarly, the act of constantly seeking out a WiFi or Bluetooth signal will drain your battery. If you’re out of WiFi range, turn it off. If you don’t use Bluetooth, turn that off too. And if you’re out of cell range, consider enabling Airplane mode.

Give it a rest. Set your device’s Auto-Lock to a shorter duration (one or two minutes is advised) so that if you put your phone down, the screen darkens quickly and preserves your battery. Adjust the duration under Settings > General > Auto-Lock.

Now for the power-house battery users like my hubby. I’m not a fan of backup battery packs because I forget to bring them, or charge them. Good news! There are phone cases that extend your phone’s battery life by as much as 120%. They add weight to your phone, but it may be well worth it for those of you who are constantly battling low battery warnings.

The Trianium Atomic S iPhone 6 Battery Case (http://trianium.com/) is sold on Amazon for approximately $70. It more than doubles your battery’s life span. The case is designed to protect your phone completely from life’s bumps and bruises, and you can charge the phone and the case at the same time, so you never have to remove the case when you plug into the wall at night. A button on the back allows you to check the remaining charge with an easy-to-read LED display. Reviewers rave about how slim it is compared to how much additional battery it provides.

MOTA’s (http://shop.mota.com/) iPhone 6 Extended Battery Case, sold on Amazon for about $35, charges your phone completely back from the grave in about two hours. It has a 1-year warranty, and is designed to add minimal bulk to your phone while still providing access to all necessary buttons and functions. MOTA has a lot of experience in the portable power supply market, with chargers for all sorts of devices on their website.

For older phones, Mophie (http://www.mophie.com/) offers some great charging solutions. They’re built to stand a beating with shock absorption that holds your iPhone suspended inside the case. I love that you can toggle the charging of your phone on and off via a switch in the back. The Morphie Juice Pack Helium for iPhone 5 and 5s is available through Amazon for $33.20. Mophie also sells universal batteries able to charge multiple device types, iPad power stations that double as stands and a Juice Pack for the new Galaxy phone is in the works.

Nerd Chick Adventures is written by Andrea Eldridge and Heather Neal from Nerds on Call, an onsite computer and laptop repair company in Redding. They can be reached at [email protected].

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.