iPhone 5 users that want to improve iPhone battery life ahead of the iOS 7.1 release are in luck because we want to share some simple tips and tricks for getting more battery life out of the iPhone 5 in iOS 7.
iOS 7 has been out since September but the iPhone 5 has been out since September of 2012. So, for more than a year, friends, family and even readers have harassed me about how I manage to get fantastic battery life on my iPhone 5, even after installing major iOS updates like iOS 7 and more recently, iOS 7.0.6.
While there is a good chance that the upcoming iOS 7.1 update will fix some of the battery life issues that iPhone owners are apparently dealing with in iOS 7.0.6 in below but there is also a chance that we could see iOS 7.1 deliver some battery life issues of its own to iPhone 5 owners. If that does happen, some of these tips might come in handy. At the very least, it will stop the questions from friends and family.
In this guide, I tell you how I personally get great battery life on my iPhone 5. There are many factors that cause horrible battery life on the iPhone 5 but I’ll focus on some of the tools that I use to ensure that I get a full days use out of my iPhone.
How to Get Better iPhone 5 Battery Life
Disclaimer. There is no guarantee that these will work for you. We probably use different applications and we probably use our iPhone differently. I consider myself to be a borderline power user. I don’t play a lot of games but I am constantly on my phone. Whether it’s talking to someone, browsing the web, checking and responding to email, or otherwise. Something to keep in mind.
Turn off Push Email
Long ago, I turned push for email off. Not only did I hate the fact that my phone was constantly buzzing or ringing but I also realized that my battery life took a hit because my phone was constantly working to pull email for me. I get a large volume of email per day and it simply started eating at my battery.
With push turned off, I now check email at my own leisure without the annoyances. Better yet, my battery life doesn’t take the hit that it took before I shut it down.
While I turned push completely off, iPhone 5 users can simply set the phone to check at larger intervals. Checking every 15 to 30 minutes is much better than checking every minute.
Checking email less often will not only be good for your sanity but it will also be good for your iPhone 5′s battery.
Turn Down Screen Brightness
Another setting I have permanently changed is the screen brightness. Instead of using Apple’s default or turning it all the way up, I have moved the slider all the way down to the lowest setting. Even on the lowest setting I have an easy time seeing things on the home screen and watching content that I pull up during down time.
So why do I do this? Simple. The iPhone 5′s display is one of the biggest drains on battery life and by keeping the brightness low, it minimizes the drain.
There are times when I need a brighter screen and all I do is pull up iOS 7′s Control Center from the bottom of the screen, adjust the brightness and then put it back down once I am done. Users who don’t trust themselves to change can set the brightness to Auto but even on Auto, my iPhone 5 experienced some problems.
Simply get into a habit of adjusting it when you need to adjust it and you’ll be much better off.
Turn off 4G LTE
4G LTE provides extremely fast data speeds but 4G LTE also eats away at iPhone battery life.
The 4G LTE drain on the iPhone isn’t as bad as it is on some Android smartphones but it’s still there. So, when I am out and I don’t necessarily need those fast data speeds, I turn 4G LTE off. My iPhone 5 is on AT&T’s network which means that it typically runs on the carrier’s “4G” HSPA+ netwokr when 4G LTE is turned off. It’s slower but it’s still pretty quick and it doesn’t use up as much battery.
Here in Southern California, I tend to run into fringe areas where my phone is constantly bouncing between 4G LTE and HSPA+ and that’s something that can cause drain as well as my phone works to get itself situated.
So, turn off 4G LTE when you don’t need it and when the phone is jumping around. It will save you battery life. To do this, go to Settings -> Cellular – > Enable LTE -> Off to turn it off. Remember to flip it on again when you need it.
Use Airplane Mode
There have been times when battery life on my iPhone is extremely precious. For instance, on long trips or errands in places that I’ve never been. In those instances, I lean on my iPhone for navigation and for support in case of an emergency.
Several times, when I’ve needed it most, my iPhone has dipped below 20% or so. And it’s in those cases where I’ve simply flipped on Airplane Mode to conserve battery.
Airplane Mode delivers limited connectivity but it does turn off services that hamper iPhone battery life making it handy in emergency situations or when you simply want to get something done before the phone dies.
To flip on Airplane Mode, swipe up on the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center and then tap on the airplane icon. Remember, this will stop all calls, texts and emails until you tap on the airplane icon again.
Turn Off Location Services & Notifications
Limiting location services and notifications can help save iPhone battery life. Personally, I disable push notifications for most applications. This helps to retain battery life because it prevents the screen from lighting up every single time a notification pops up.
In order to flip off notifications, go to Settings -> Notification Center -> Tap on an App -> Scroll down and toggle Show on Lock Screen. Of course, notifications will still show up but they will buzz or alert you with a sound rather than lighting up the entire iPhone. Notifications will also still pop up when the phone is in use.
I also keep the use of iOS’ location services to a minimum as well. Like notifications, location services will often light up the phone when you don’t need it to. So, by turning it off, users are able to milk the iPhone for a little more battery life.
To Turn off Location Services for specific apps go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> Toggle it off for apps that you don’t want using your location info. You have the ability to turn it all the way off but you will not be able to use maps and photos taken will not know the location they were taken.
Turn off Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh is one of the nifty features that arrived inside iOS 7. When it’s flipped on, it makes sure that when you open an application, you’ll have all of the latest data. It’s extremely useful for those that are constantly checking the news or Facebook but for others, it’s a feature that can be turned off in an effort to save battery.
Before disabling it completely, it’s probably worth disabling the feature for applications that you don’t use. This will help to minimize activity. If that doesn’t work, try disabling it completely.
To do this, head to Settings -> General -> Background App Refresh -> Toggle all or individual apps. Once toggled off, these apps won’t update in the background, a small price to pay for a small increase in overall iPhone 5 battery life.
Uninstall Recent Apps
If none of these fixes and habit changes work, it’s possible that a third-party application is to blame for the battery drain. Of course, this is extremely difficult to pinpoint because it requires uninstalling an app, checking for battery life, and then repeating the process until things improve.
We recommend heading into the App Store and taking a peek at your purchase tab. This will show you the last applications that you’ve downloaded. If the battery drain problem is recent, this will make finding the culprit a much easier endeavor.
Restart the iPhone
After using my iPhone for the day, I tend to leave it on a charger until the morning. I imagine that many iPhone 5 owners do the same. Use, charge, repeat. All the while, the iPhone never shuts down.
Interestingly I, and many others, have seen great results after shutting down the iPhone from time to time. Sometimes, shutting the phone off for a bit will fix a lingering battery life issue. Best of all, it’s extremely simple to try. Simply hold down the power button, power it down, and then hold it down again to power on.
Reset All Settings
It’s possible that over the past few months, or even year, you’ve toggled on some settings that are contributing to poor battery life. Fortunately, Apple makes it extremely easy to reset iOS settings without erasing your data, photos, apps, or contacts. Everything but the settings will remain the same.
By resetting all settings, it will restore the iPhones settings to the default. From there, you’ll be able to easily pick and choose what you want enabled and what you want disabled.
To do this, go to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset All Settings -> Enter your PIN to complete the process. This is a process that will take several minutes but it’s one that could dislodge bugs and help to better preserve battery life.
Restore the iPhone
If none of these tips and tricks work, well, then it’s time to think about the last resort. Those that don’t want to visit the Genius Bar at an Apple Store will want to consider restoring the iPhone 5. It’s also known as a hard reset.
This erases everything and resets the iPhone to factory settings but it also has the potential to eliminate issues and bugs and make the iPhone feel almost like new.
Before doing this, you’ll need to plug in and sync photos and data to the computer and perform a full iTunes or iCloud backup. This will ensure that your data won’t vanish.
Once the iPhone is backed up, go to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase All Content and Settings -> enter your PIN to start the process. When this process is done, you have a few options. You can either restore the iPhone from a recent backup, or, simply use the phone as if it were just pulled out of the retail packaging.
If this fails, we recommend heading to an Apple Store and conversing with a Genius. My girlfriend dealt with terrible iPhone 4s battery life for months before she took it into an Apple Store where a Genius revealed that the battery inside was damaged and needed to be replaced. This came about a week or two after her warranty expired but they still replaced it for free.