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10 Tips to Boost Your iPhone's Battery Life

Apple designs each iteration of iOS to be as efficient as possible, and iOS 13, coming this fall, is no different. Still, all batteries inevitably degrade as they're charged over and over again. As we learned during the Batterygate episode of late 2017, iOS deals with this problem by throttling processor performance later in a battery's lifespan to limit energy consumption.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Nobody really needed extra motivation to maximize their iPhone's battery life, but the whole controversy surrounding Apple's throttling process was not without a silver lining. It educated everyone to the limitations and realities of the lithium-ion batteries that power so many of the devices we rely upon each and every day.

Fortunately, there are a handful of options tucked away your iPhone's Settings menu that could help you squeeze a couple more hours out of a charge, and keep your iPhone humming along for years to come. Here's a list of 10 things you can do to make your handset last a little longer, if you're trying to survive without one of our best portable charger picks.

Manually enable Low Power Mode

Introduced in iOS 9 two years ago, Low Power Mode forces your iPhone to sip power until you can charge it. With Low Power Mode on, you can expect your battery to last possibly hours longer, but there are some trade-offs: Your mail won't fetch, background app refresh is turned off entirely; there are no automatic downloads; and some visual effects in the interface are turned off or reduced. Your screen will also dim faster.

MORE: Smartphones with the Longest Battery Life

If your battery gets really low — down to 20 percent or so — iOS will ask you if you want to turn on Low Power Mode. But you can turn it on yourself at any time. When Low Power Mode is active, the iPhone's battery meter will appear in yellow instead of black.

1. Tap Settings.

2. Tap Battery.

3. Tap the switch to the right of Low Power Mode.

With iOS 11, there's a faster way to turn on Low Power Mode without digging through Settings each and every time. You can also customize your Control Center to include a Low Power Mode icon that turns the feature on and off. Once you've followed the steps to customize your Control Center screen, just swipe up, tap the Low Power icon, and you'll be running in Low Power Mode.

Restart your iPhone

Turning your iPhone off and on again is more involved that just pressing the Power button. It's a good idea to restart the iPhone altogether every so often. Restarting causes all apps to stop in their tracks, including ones that may have gotten stuck and are draining the battery.

1. Hold the Power key for five seconds. A slider will appear at the top of the screen.

2. Slide to Power Off the iPhone.

3. To start the iPhone, hold the Power key on until you see an Apple logo on the screen.

Note that the process is a little different if you have an iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR, since those devices have different buttons than other Apple phones. To turn one of those phones off, press and hold the side button along with either volume button; swipe to turn off when prompted on the screen.

Turn on Wi-Fi Assist

Because Wi-Fi consumes far less energy than LTE, it's generally smart to use local networks whenever possible. However, attempting to use a Wi-Fi network that's just out of range or not delivering steady performance can actually impede battery life more than a stable cellular connection.

To combat this, iOS features something called Wi-Fi Assist. When Wi-Fi Assist is on, your iPhone will automatically fall back to cellular data when Wi-Fi connectivity or throughput is poor.

1. Tap Settings

2. Tap Cellular

3. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and toggle on Wi-Fi Assist.

Shut down apps eating up battery life

Your iPhone makes it easy to keep track of which apps use the most power. You can single out the biggest offenders and stop using them, to see if that helps.

1. Tap Settings.

2. Tap Battery. Apps will be listed in order of their power consumption under Battery Usage.

3. Tap Last 24 Hours or Last 7 Days to switch the list view, to see which apps are using the most power. The app's name is often accompanied by a status indicator explaining why the app used power.

4. Tap the app name or tap the clock button to toggle information about the app. Tapping shows you how many minutes the app has actively been used, and how much time was spent doing background activities.

Now that you've figured out what's causing the drain, you can force the offending app to close, to see if that will help.

5. Open the app switcher interface. This screen is accessed differently depending on what iPhone you're using. For the iPhone X-style devices, you swipe up from the bottom as if you're trying to go back to the Home screen, but then continue swiping up until your recent apps appear. On all other models, it's a simple double tap of the Home button.

6. Swipe from left to right to scroll through the list of open apps.

7. Drag the app you'd like to quit from bottom to top to quit it. Again, quitting apps on one of the newer iPhones is slightly different.

Keep your iPhone face down

A little known, little advertised feature of iOS for several years now has been Facedown Detection. Introduced alongside Low Power Mode in iOS 9 and supported by every iPhone dating back to the iPhone 5s, Facedown Detection uses Apple's motion co-processor alongside ambient light and proximity sensors to keep the screen shut off when the phone is laid upside down, even as notifications roll in.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Thankfully, you don't need to dig into the Settings to turn on Facedown Detection, as it's the default behavior for all iPhones. Simply set your phone face down when you're not using it, and you may save some battery – especially during times when you're receiving a large number of notifications in quick succession.

Shut off Background App Refresh

You can tell your iPhone which apps you'd like to work in the background, if any at all. Apps that work in the background refresh their content automatically, which can drain the battery.

1. Tap Settings.

2. Tap General.

3. Tap Background App Refresh. You can selectively turn off background app refresh for individual apps, or shut it off system wide.

Turn off "Hey Siri"

Do you often find yourself asking Siri questions from the other side of the room, when your phone is sleeping? If not, you may want to turn off "Hey Siri," which allows your iPhone to respond to voice commands triggered with that phrase, even when the screen is off.

MORE: 30 Best Siri Tips and Tricks

Deactivating "Hey Siri" means your iPhone won't be listening for those two words at all times, and will likely conserve some battery life because of it.

1. Tap Settings

2. Tap Siri & Search

3. Turn off Listen for "Hey Siri" by moving the slider to the left.

Dim your screen's brightness

The iPhone's Retina display lets you see images and text in crisp detail, but a very bright screen can be a battery killer. Lower the iPhone screen's brightness level to help your device last longer.

1. Tap Settings.

2. Tap Display & Brightness.

3. Slide the Brightness setting to the left to make the screen dimmer.

Turn off location services

Many apps on your iPhone require GPS tracking in order to work properly, such as turn-by-turn directions in the Maps app. Facebook can tag your location automatically. Apps from retailers like Starbucks and Target also depend on GPS information to let you know that you're near one of their stores. But all that activity consumes power; you can but a stop to it by turning off Location Services, either for every app or just ones you select.

1. Tap Settings.

2. Tap Privacy.

3. Tap Location Services.

4. Tap the switch to the right of Location Services to turn off Location Services altogether. If you'd prefer, you can selectively allow location services for individual apps by tapping on the app's name.

Shorten Auto-Lock time

If you're not deliberately locking your iPhone as soon as you're done using it, you're losing precious battery life each second the screen stays lit before it automatically turns off. To diminish this, you can limit the amount of time before your phone automatically locks.

1. Tap Settings

2. Tap Display & Brightness

3. Tap Auto-Lock

4. Choose a time setting. For the purposes of saving energy, we suggest 30 seconds or 1 minute.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.