Whether you’re a die-hard iPhone/iPod Touch user or an iPad owner completely obsessed with your refreshed iOS 4.2-powered tablet, there’s one thing everyone needs — more power! But until you get an external battery pack or a portable car/travel charger (both of which will be big on the iOS-obsessed user’s holiday wish lists), then exercising a few ways to save yourself some juice is a good idea — especially if you’ll be out shopping or stuck on a bus/train/airplane this season.
If you’re tech savvy enough to know these tips, consider this a reminder. If you’re not, you may want to save this list. (Better yet, forward it to your iOS-packing parent/spouse/gf. You’ll want their devices juiced up and ready for the borrowing when yours dies, don’t you?)
Keep your device away from heat: Forget temporary drainage; prolonged exposure to hot sun or heat could damage it permanently.
Dim the screen: Turning down the brightness of your display can make a big difference to battery life. You may need a lot of brightness in direct daylight, but in a darker room or airplane cabin, there’s no need. (Plus, it will annoy the passengers around you.)
Check your phone’s sleep settings, and shorten it as much as possible: This is a no-brainer. If your device doesn’t need to be fully on all the time, then let it auto-sleep itself. That way, you won’t forget.
When possible, use Wifi instead of 3G: Wifi is more energy efficient for our devices than 3G data. Plus, there’s no worry about exceeding your data limits.
Limit email checking and/or calendar syncing, or better yet, set it to manual: Constant email or calendar checking can be a necessary evil for people who use their devices for work. But if you don’t, consider changing your settings. (Ask yourself this: Do you really need to receive those joke emails as fast as possible?)
Turn off Bluetooth, Location Services when you don’t need it: You know all those cool geo-locating apps, like Foursquare, Mobcast and even the built-in Maps app? They use GPS, and that can really dwindle your energy.
You could simply choose not to run them, but it’s best to just turn off Location Services when it’s not needed. Same goes for Bluetooth. Just having that on, even when unused, can still tap your reserves.
Shut off Vibrate in games: It’s one thing to have a little shaky shaky when you get a call. It’s another to have this going off constantly during a game. Yeah, it’s fun. But so is extra time battling those pigs or monsters.
Discharge your battery completely once in a while: Topping off your device is fine most of the time, but it helps your battery stay in peak conditon to use it up occasionally and then recharge it fully. Do it once a week or even once a month, but make sure you do it. That alone will help optimize its performance.
Switch to Airplane Mode if you don’t need Internet or calls (3G iPad/iPhone): If your device can’t find a signal, it will still constantly search for one. And that results in a huge drain.
Doublecheck that the music’s not on: You’d be surprised how often I stuff my iPhone in my pocket, only to discover later that the mic/audio control on my earbud got tapped and music has been playing for hours.
Or I listen to Pandora when a call comes in, finish the call and shove the device in my pocket, not realizing that Pandora has resumed. (And Pandora, Slacker, the iPod app — they all continue to play even when the device is asleep.) I either need to doublecheck that the music is off — or stop sticking my device in my pocket.
Return to the homescreen when finished with an app: There’s a theory that Safari, Maps and other geo-location or Internet-reliant apps continue to communicate if it’s still onscreen when the device is put to sleep.
To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s true, but if you don’t want to take any chances, you may want to return to the homescreen before putting the device on standby.
Other tweaks to spare some juice:
- A few Push Notifications won’t kill your device, but many people have a veritable cacophony of notifications across dozens of applications. Even then, it probably won’t save an enormous amount of life, but it will save some. And if you’re looking to squeeze every last bit of juice (as well as maybe your sanity), consider reevaluating those Pushes.
- Ditto for System Sounds. This won’t yield huge savings, but if they annoy you anyway, you might as well (and every last bit helps).
Let’s be honest — no one in their right mind is going to do all of these things. It takes away an awful lot of the functionality we love about this platform. But if you can take on a few of these (or even more when you’re traveling), you can extend your battery life — and that could be important at a critical time.