I’m sure you’ve been there: You are cruising toward a hearing or a deposition, and your iPhone is teetering on the brink of death. You forgot to charge it overnight, and you’re going to be incommunicado.
I kid you not, I can go three whole days without charging my iPhone. Gone are the days of me cursing my iPhone as it hurtles toward the Red Zone of Battery Death before noon.
I do not obsessively shut down all of my apps either. I do not turn Bluetooth on and off. I use GPS, surf the web, and talk and text as much as I want. I sacrifice almost nothing.
My method? I employ two tools: A setting called “Low Power Mode” and a specific iPhone battery case called Anker. I prefer the Anker to the popular Mophie brand you see in stores as it costs around 40 bucks versus 80 and works better for me.
The trick, however, is using these wonder-tools in a very specific and prescribed way:
First, I charge my phone overnight. Specifically, I charge the phone while it is inside the Anker case.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is turn on Low Power Mode, which you can do with Siri. You say this: “Siri, turn on Low Power Mode.” Alternately, you can go into Settings -> Battery -> Turn on Low Power Mode, as depicted below.
When you do this, your battery will turn yellow.
Next, I make sure that the Anker is not actively charging the phone. I turn it off. What a lot of people don’t realize when they have these external battery cases is that the best way to use them is to turn them on only when needed. You do not keep them on constantly.
To turn off the Anker, you hold down the button for three seconds or so until the blue status lights turn off. At this point, the Anker is not charging the phone.
Later, when your battery runs low, hold the button down until the lights come back on. Your iPhone should chime, indicating it’s charging. Let your iPhone charge until it gets to above 90%, then turn the Anker back off.
Most of the work is done by Low Power Mode. Often it gets me through an entire day and the phone has 40-50% battery left. That’s why I can last three days: It takes the Anker half of its charge to get the phone back up to 100%, so I can use it twice.
Now, if you’re going to do something ridiculous, like leaving the flashlight on all day long, you’re on your own. I can’t help you.
That being said, it is helpful to know the following about battery optimization:
- Batteries, unlike computer chips, do not get smaller and more powerful every year. They are not subject to the same laws of physics. As a consequence, the larger your phone, the larger the battery and the longer the battery life.
- Older batteries that have been through a lot of charge cycles will degrade over time. Eventually, they hold less and less of a charge and need to be replaced.
- Low Power Mode offers no discernable limitations save one: The screen turns off quickly, which can be a nuisance if you’re reading something involved like an e-book or article. You can counteract this by keeping your thumb on the screen.
- Taping the Anker button when the case is off will show you how much charge is left on the device on a scale of 0-4 using blue lights.
- When the Anker is charging your phone, at some point your iPhone will decide that it is sufficiently charged and will turn Low Power Mode off. Show the iPhone who’s boss and turn it right back on.
- Every time you drop your phone, your battery life will degrade.
I should point out at this time that my phone is an iPhone 6s. I refuse to get the 7 with its rejection of the mini headphone jack. Because of this shameless display of Apple arrogance, I actually used a Samsung Galaxy for a while. But that’s a story for another day.