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How to rescue your iPhone's battery life

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

Extend your iPhone's battery life with these 9 adjustments to your settings

Tired of your iPhone battery dying halfway through your day? You may be abusing your battery. But there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your battery running longer and stronger.

Modern iPhone batteries last longer than ever, but if you find you’re not getting the life you were promised, the likely culprit isn’t Apple, but rather your own behavior that’s causing the issue.

1. Reduce the brightness

During testing, Macworld found that screen brightness is the single most significant drain on the battery. To change your screen’s brightness, open the Settings app, tap "Wallpapers and Brightness" and adjust the brightness using the slider. You can also set your phone to use the auto-brightness, which will allow it to automatically adjust.

2. Power-cycle your battery

While power-cycling doesn’t do anything to specifically increase your battery life, it does calibrate your battery, meaning it shows you what your remaining battery is more accurately, which will prevent you from losing charge when you could’ve sworn you had plenty of time to get back home.

To power-cycle the battery, allow it to lose charge completely. If you’re close, you can run intensive programs, like videos, or turn on your Bluetooth or other power-sucking settings (like ones listed in this article), and the battery will drain more quickly. Then plug your phone into a power supply and let the battery charge completely (all the way to 100 percent) without unplugging it — preferably without using it.

3. Use airplane mode, even when you’re grounded

If you’re in a situation when you know you can’t be bothered anyway, take a few seconds to turn your phone to airplane mode. Airplane mode automatically turns off a host of features that would interfere with an airplane’s instruments (or so they claim), but for everyday use, it turns off features that tend to drain your battery, like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, location services and your cellular antenna.

To turn your phone to airplane mode, go to Settings and click the slider to "on" for airplane mode. Just don’t forget to turn it off when you’re available again.

4. Turn off your location services

When you don’t need it, location services can be a big drain. Don’t authorize an app to use your location services unless you need it, and when you know you don’t need it, turn it off. You can always turn it on to use specific apps, like your maps or GPS.

To turn off location services, go to the Settings app, click "Privacy," click "Location Services" and either turn your services off completely or select which apps can use it.

5. Turn off your Wi-Fi

Unless you’re getting low on your 3G data, turn your Wi-Fi off or only allow your phone to access trusted networks (places where you know you’ll want to use it). As a bonus, that stupid "Wanna join this network, huh? Wanna? Wanna?" dialogue box won’t pop up as you travel around.

To adjust your Wi-Fi settings, go to the Settings app and click Wi-Fi.

6. Lose your e-mail addiction

It’s great that our phones notify us when we get new e-mail messages, but do you really need to get updates every five minutes? Unless you’re in a job where minutes are everything, try setting your phone to check your e-mail every hour. If you can’t go that long, try not to go below every 15 minutes.

7. Turn off your Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a serious battery drain, and you only need it to communicate with other Bluetooth-enabled devices. If you don’t regularly use a Bluetooth device with your iPhone, you’re just wasting your battery.

To turn it off, go to the Settings app, click "Bluetooth" and either turn it off or adjust which devices have ready access.

8. Lock your phone

When you’re done using it, click the button on top of your iPhone to lock it, which will reduce the amount of battery you use to power the display. You can also set it to auto-lock within a minute of being idle.

To adjust your lock settings, go to the Settings app, click "General," click "Auto-Lock" and choose the limit.

9. Disable notifications

Think twice before clicking to allow push notifications. They can drain your battery as your phone constantly checks various apps. Turn off any you don’t need (you can always get them manually in the app).

To control which apps alert you to new notifications, go to the Settings app, click "Notification Center," scroll down to choose custom notification settings for each app that can notify you.

Still not satisfied? If you can’t do all these things (or just don’t want to), you can always invest in a charging case or other portable device for on-the-go charging. Mophie makes several accessories for multiple iPhone models. We like the Juice Pack series. (Mophie, $80-$120)

More on the Apple iPhone

What to do with your old iPhone
How to trade or sell your way to a new iPhone
Is AppleCare worth the $99 price tag?

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