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Don't Run Out of Juice: How to Save Battery Life on Your iPhone

Does your iPhone battery need a boost? These Apple iPhone battery tips and tricks will help get you through the day without a charge.

(Credit: AlekseyH / Shutterstock)

It's tough to exist without a smartphone these days. So much of our lives are contained inside these tiny devices that we don't want them running out of juice at an inopportune time. But thanks to Apple's dedication to its proprietary Lightning cable (for now), there isn't always a compatible charger at the ready.

In our tests, the iPhone 14 Pro Max offered 19 hours of battery life, but what if you have an older model that's struggling to last all day? Normal wear and tear (and our own bad habits) will degrade your battery over time. Apple has also been known to throttle battery performance.

Apple's $29 battery-replacement program is long gone, but the Self Service Repair Store(Opens in a new window) sells replacement batteries you can install yourself at around $70. If you would prefer to eke out a few more months without paying for a new battery (or iPhone), though, here are some things to try.

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1. How to Show Battery Percentage on iPhone

battery percentage settings

Before you can monitor your battery life, you need to know exactly what you're looking at. The iPhone battery icon in the top-right corner of the screen represents how much juice is left on the device, but it's not a very precise measurement of battery life.

You can see the exact battery percentage left by opening the Control Center, but if you want that information at a glance in the phone's top-right corner, you need to turn on the feature. Head to Settings > Battery and enable Battery Percentage. The battery icon will then show a number, making it easier to monitor battery life.

(Note that the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, and the iPhone 13 will need iOS 16.1 for the option to show the battery percentage.)

2. Activate Low Power Mode

low power mode settings

One of your strongest weapons against battery drain is Low Power Mode(Opens in a new window). With it enabled, your phone only performs the most essential of tasks, so background activities like downloads and mail fetching are disabled. Low Power Mode will automatically kick in when the battery falls below 20%, but you can also activate it manually to keep your phone going for longer.

Head over to Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode and toggle it on. You can also add Low Power Mode to the Control Center under Settings > Control Center. When activated, the battery icon in the top-right corner will turn yellow. Note that this mode will only work if your phone's battery is below 80%.

3. Adjust Screen Brightness

iPhone screen-brightness settings

The greatest hurdle in your fight for more batter life is your phone's own screen. Smartphone displays are bigger and brighter than ever, but they are also murder on your battery life. You can't really get around this fact, but you can turn down the brightness.

Manually adjust brightness levels in Settings > Display & Brightness by using the the slider bar. A slider is also accessible via the Control Center; press lightly on the brightness icon and move the slider down.

Turn off auto-brightness to ensure your changes stick. Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Auto-Brightness and toggle it off. Your phone will no longer try to adjust its brightness based on your current lighting situation, which will avoid situations where the screen becomes brighter than it really need to be.

4. Manage Your Lock Screen

auto-lock settings

Since the screen is your battery's enemy, you should also think about managing when the phone's display turns off automatically. You can take care of this under Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock. If you tend to put your phone down without locking it, set this to something lower to give the battery a break.

Introduced with iOS 16 is the ability to edit your iPhone's lock screen. As nice of a feature as it might seem, widgets are huge power hogs, since they have to constantly update to provide useful information. We recommend staying away from complicated wallpaper and widgets here, so you're not overworking the battery.

New to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, is the Always-On display, which will show the time, widgets, and wallpaper while the phone is locked. While Apple has taken steps(Opens in a new window) to make sure it doesn't eat up too much power, you can also turn that off from Settings > Display & Brightness and disable Always On.

5. Turn Off Location Services

iPhone settings location

Location services are helpful for apps like Google Maps or Yelp, but those GPS pings happening in the background can wear down a battery quick. You can turn off location services completely via Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services and your phone will stop feeding location data to these services.

This, however, will make a number of useful apps stop working. Your weather app won't know where you are for the latest forecast, and you won't be able to ask Google for directions based on your current location. If you don't want to go to the extreme, Apple instead allows you to rein in individual apps.

From the Location Services settings screen, you can customize how most apps use location data: Never, Ask Next Time Or When I Share, While Using the App, or Always. We recommend setting Google Maps to While Using the App, for example, so the app will only ping your location when you actually need it.

If you need more battery life, we also recommend shutting down the Find My app if you're sharing your location with friends and family. You can do this if you select your name under Settings, then choose Find My > Find My iPhone, then disable the switch next to Find My iPhone.

6. Turn Off Background App Refresh and Updates

iPhone settings app refresh

When you close an iOS app, it will keep running for a bit until entering a suspended state. However, those apps can still check for updates and new content from time to time—a process that can drain battery life. You can disable Background App Refresh completely or just for certain apps.

Navigate to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Here, you can disable on an app-by-app basis if you only want to cut off refresh-heavy apps, like email or social media platforms. Otherwise, select Background App Refresh at the top of the screen and set it to Off (or Wi-Fi if you want to restrict but not outright disable).

Disabling background app refresh should not have any effect on how the app works, but it might take a moment longer to surface new information when you return to them.

Similarly, when your apps automatically update from time to time, that process can use up precious battery life. It's generally a good idea to leave this feature on, since updates can help apps run faster and smoother, decreasing the processing power needed to make them function.

But you can open Settings > App Store and disable App Updates if you need to make every second count. While this feature is turned off, you will need to manually update your apps in the App Store.

7. Cut Down on Notifications

iPhone settings notifications

If your screen lights up with a preview of every notification you receive, it's consuming power with each text, breaking news alert, or Twitter follow. Cutting down on these interruptions can save your battery and sanity. Open Settings > Notifications and choose which specific apps should be allowed to send notifications to your phone.

To disable these pings for a certain window of time, use the Focus feature under Settings > Focus to set up restrictions for when notifications are allowed to come through. Select Focus Status and enable Do Not Disturb.

Another option is to set specifications from a single notification. If you see an alert you no longer wish to see, swipe left on it and tap Options to tell the notification to be delivered quietly next time. This means it will go to your Notification Center without displaying on your lock screen, playing sound, or showing a banner or badge icon. You can also turn off notifications for this app completely.

8. Turn Off Wireless Services

iPhone settings airplane mode

From Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular data, your phone has many wireless features running in the background. If you're in a real power jam, you can turn some of these off in order to eke out just a little more juice before the battery runs out. The quickest solution is to open Control Center and press down on the menu options in the top left to change these features.

Tap the airplane icon to put your device in Airplane Mode, which turns off all your phone's cellular features. Calls and texts won't come through, but you can still connect to Wi-Fi if necessary for iMessages and other tasks. You can also enable this in Settings; just toggle it on. You'll know it's activated by the airplane icon on the top right.

Wi-Fi doesn't do wonders for your battery if you're not currently using it. Your phone continuously searches for nearby Wi-Fi networks, which is why the list of available networks constantly changes when you're out and about. Tap the Wi-Fi button to turn it off or do so from Settings > Wi-Fi.

Similarly, Bluetooth and AirDrop are constantly looking to connect, but there's no reason for them to be active at all times. Turn off these features in the Control Center or open Settings > Bluetooth and Settings > General > AirDrop > Receiving Off, respectively, to turn them off. Just remember to turn these services back on when you actually need them.

9. Kill Active Listening

iPhone settings active listening

Your iPhone or iPad supports hands-free Siri, meaning you can say "Hey, Siri" and ask a question without having to touch your iPhone. But that means the device is always listening, awaiting your command (and using up precious resources in the meantime). If you don't use Siri that much, turning off active listening could help with battery drain.

Navigate to Settings > Siri & Search, where you can disable the Listen for "Hey Siri" entry. You can leave Press Side Button for Siri enabled, if you want the ability to call Apple's assistant with the push of a button. Otherwise, you can disable this option too if you want to avoid accidentally summoning Siri.

10. Buy a Battery Case

mophie 401002830 Juice Pack Access - Ultra-Slim Wireless Battery Case -
Image: mophie

If you still can't manage to make it through the day without recharging, consider a battery case. These can protect your phone while also providing extra power. There are many options(Opens in a new window) available for modern iPhone models and older devices.

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