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5 Great Tips to Conserve Battery Life on Your iPhone

This week on Legal Productivity, we’re focusing on iPhone productivity in honor of our parent company Rocket Matter’s launch of their new legal iPhone app for case management and time and billing.

If left to its own devices, no pun intended, your iPhone will suck down battery juice like it’s a piña colada on a Cancun beach.

So how can you make your iPhone nurse that drink? The following should help you preserve iPhone battery life. And even though these tips are geared for the iPhone, the same principles hold true with any battery-powered smartphone.

1) Turn Off Bluetooth.

If you don’t regularly connect to Bluetooth, or are traveling and not connected to the car you’re normally connected to, turn Bluetooth off. Otherwise, the phone’s going to be looking for devices to pair with, and that takes energy.

Go to Settings > General > Bluetooth, and set it to off. Don’t worry about losing your pairings – when you turn Bluetooth back on, your car or headset should connect right away.

2) Close Your Apps.

Apps will stay open unless you explicitly close them, even if you restart your phone. That means they’re running in the background, consuming computing resources even though you’re not aware they’re running. And “consuming computing resources” is engineering-speak for “using the battery”.

To close unused apps, tap the home button twice, which will bring up a row of open apps across the bottom of your screen. Locate the app or apps you wish to close, then press on one of them for a couple of seconds until it starts to wiggle and shows a red ‘X’ in the upper-right hand corner. Hit the ‘X’ and the app is closed.

3) Beware of Maps.

If you’re anything like me, and you relied on using Maps on your iPhone to guide you step-by-step through your four hour drive, you arrived at your location with your battery bled dry. That’s because anything involving location services or GPS on your iPhone consumes a ton of power.

If you need to use Maps for an extended period of time while driving, do one of two things: Get a USB charger for the car, which are cheap, easy to pack, and will keep the phone charged as you use power-sucking GPS applications.

Alternately, employ the following trick: take screenshots of your Maps and driving instructions by hitting the home button and the lock button simultaneously. Close the Maps app as soon as you’ve done this. You can then pull up the screenshot instructions in Photos and read them without draining your battery.

4) Reduce your Screen Brightness.

You’ve seen laptops dim when they’re unplugged, so it stands to reason that reducing brightness on your smartphone will similarly conserve power consumption. Go to Settings > Brightness, and either move the slider so that you have an acceptable balance of brightness and readability, or take advantage of the Auto-Brightness feature.

5) Turn off Push Notifications and Check Email Less Frequently.

If you’re out and about a lot and are a compulsive email checker, I have some bad news for you: your habits consume a lot of battery power. The best thing to do is fetch email when you want it, and not have email notify you when it’s arrived. Turn off Push notifications and instead, manually check your email when you need to check it.

This battery tweak has the added benefit of making you work more efficiently: study after study has proven that heavy multitaskers are deceiving themselves and are actually less effective than single-taskers.

Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data and turn Push to off. Then, at the bottom of the screen, set Fetch to Manually.

For additional resources, check out Apple’s iPhone Battery page. Also, last year’s post from Make Use Of dives deeper into saving power with location and GPS tweaks.

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