How to fix battery life on iOS 7

The Ultimate Guide For Fixing And Improving Battery Life On The iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5c/5S, iPad mini/3/4/5

You were one of the 200 million and counting who upgraded to iOS 7, but now you are experiencing the dreaded battery drain. We’ve seen reports in our forums and I too have had issues with my iPhone 5 as waited in line for the iPhone 5s. You have that helpless feeling as you watch your battery life percentage moving at a fast clip to a point where your phone is rendered all but useless. A good number of you rely on your iPhone, counting on it to make through an entire day, something you did comfortably with iOS 6. Thankfully, there are ways to fix battery life on iOS 7. If you’ve got the iPhone 5, iPhone 4s or one of the newer models (iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s), these tips are your ticket to improving battery life.

Fix battery life iOS 7

Shut Down Background App Refresh

New features. We love them when they are introduced, because they offer the promise of making our lives easier or more productive. That’s the goal behind intelligent updating in iOS 7. When you left an app open in previous versions of iOS, it would not have an effect on battery life. It would enter a paused state, waiting for you to return. iOS 7 offers improvements here by updating information based on your usage. So if you check your tweets each morning, it will ping Twitter to pull down the data, all in advance of your entering the app. Sounds good right? What if you use ten or twenty apps and they are all pulling data from the Internet. The unfortunate consequence of intelligent updating can be the impact on your iPhones battery. Don’t worry, we can easily fix this with a few changes in settings.

Navigate to Settings > General > Background App Refresh.
You can turn off this feature globally or toggle individual apps.

Background app refresh

Definition: Background Apps Refresh: Allow apps to refresh their content when on Wi-Fi or cellular, or use Location Services, in the background. Turning off apps may help preserve battery life.

This is Apple’s definition and note where we’ve place emphasis.

Turn Off Siri

I know, you love her/him. Having a personal assistant at your disposal is great, but these are tough times. If you want that see big improvements, you cannot afford to use features that could have an impact on battery life. Every time that you use Siri, you are using your LTE (or WI-FI) connection to make a data connection. If you are in a bad coverage area, you’ll incur even a greater drain.
Navigate to Settings > General > Siri. Toggle to off to Disable Siri.

Disable Siri

Turn Down Brightness

Your retina display is beautiful. Bright, sharp, vivid and flat out awesome. It’s also the biggest offender when it comes to stealing from your all important power resources. You have a couple options that can help here:

  • Navigate to Settings > Wallpapers and Brightness: Manually slide left to lower the brightness to a lower, but acceptable level. Another option is to set to Auto-Brightness. If you toggle that option to ‘On’ (green), your iPhone will naturally adjust the brightness depending upon your location. If you are in a cave, it’ll be relatively dim. It changes based on the available light.

Turn down brightness

Change Your Wallpaper

There are new wallpaper options in iOS 7. In addition to still images, you can also select ‘Dynamic’, which will produce slow moving graphic effects on your screen. The default is still, but to be sure, navigate to Settings > Wallpaper and Brightness. Confirm that you have selected a wallpaper from ‘Stills’.

Wallpaper stills

Slow Down The Parallax

Billed as one of the cooler features in iOS, the Parallax feature creates motion to provide for a more animated user interface. Some have found that parallax can cause motion sickness and it can also be a contributor to depleting your battery. Apple doesn’t allow us to turn off the feature, but we can reduce it and here’s how: Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. Toggle to ‘On’.

Reduce motion parallax

Turn Off Notifications

Ping. Buzz. Ping, ping. Notifications are great. They help keep us up to date without having to turn on our phones. Over time, enabling notifications across all of your apps can present a number of problems. First off, it can be incredibly disruptive to your work day, having to continuously look down at your iPhone. They can also be detrimental to our goal of improving battery life. I’m not saying you have to do something crazy like turning off all notifications, but at a minimum, turn off notifications where you absolutely do not need them.

Notifications

Lowest Auto-Lock Setting

Your iPhone has a setting that puts the phone to sleep and back into lock mode. Go to Settings > General > Auto-Lock. You’ll want to check the box for ’1 minute’, which is the lowest possible setting. The best way to conserve is to manually put your iPhone to sleep using the sleep/wake button.

Auto-lock lowest setting

Turn Off Location Services

When you setup your iPhone, you likely enabled Location Services. it works with GPS, crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations to determine your location. Applications use Location Services to help you find restaurants, check-in, tweet your location, tag a location to your images and more. What’s more valuable? Have a working iPhone at the end of a busy work day or being able to tweet your location? Right now, let’s turn it off. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. The toggle at the top will turn it off globally. If there are specific apps that you need, leave Location Services enabled and try to cut down the apps that have access to it.

Important: If you turn off Location Services all together, you are effectively disabling Find My iPhone. If you should lose or have your iPhone stolen, you will not be able to track it. As one of our commenters suggested, unless you are in a a real battery crunch, disable on an app-by-app basis. You can toggle all of the individual apps off, but leave Find My iPhone enabled (green).

Location services

Disable LTE

If you have an iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s, your phone is capable of using LTE or 4G data connectivity. Speeds are going to be faster than 3G. LTE requires more power. An old-school 3G connection is more than sufficient for calls, light surfing, email, Facebook and Twitter. If you feel the need for speed, just reverse your steps. To turn off LTE, go to Settings > Cellular and toggle the switch under Disable LTE.

Disable LTE

Turn Off Bluetooth

Turning off Bluetooth is an easy one. Go to Settings > Bluetooth > Toggle to ‘Off’.

Turn off Bluetooth

Turn Off Auto App Updates

iOS 7 makes it easy to get updates for your apps. No longer do you have to manually update apps. The new ‘Automatic Downloads‘ has an option for ‘Updates‘. With this enabled, apps that will auto-update as they get released in the App Store. For some folks, not the worst idea, as it eases the process of updating. With each and every data connection, you’re asking your iPhone’s battery to do more heavy lifting. To turn off automatic app updates, toggle the switch to white (off).

Turn off automatic app updates

A Fresh Start

When you continuously update OTA, you are effectively layering software update over software update onto your iPhone. Sometimes it is best to give your iPhone a fresh start. That does not mean restoring from a previous backup. No, it’s time to restore your iPhone as new. iOS 7 is a major update, so why not use this chance to start with the base iOS. I speak from experience that there are many positives associated with going this route. For one, it eliminates some of the cruft that has started to populate your iPhone. This will remove unwanted, older apps and any gremlins that might have an adverse effect on iOS 7′s battery life.

  1. Disable Find My iPhone by navigating to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer using the supplied Lightning to USB cable.
  3. Select your iPhone in the left hand column. Back you your iPhone either to iCloud, iTunes (or both).
  4. Select ‘Restore iPhone‘. Note: This will delete everything from your iPhone, effectively restoring it to its factory state.

Restore factory

If you’re not willing to go that route, it’s certainly understandable. Some folks have perfected their comfort zone. You’ve got apps in folders, all your settings, photos, music and more. You can implement the suggestions above, but just remember that you do have the restore option in your back pocket.

Monitor Your Battery Life

I’ve put you through all of this misery by disabling and dismantling the fun from your iPhone. How can you tell if the changes you’ve made have been made in vain? If you navigate to Settings > General Usage, you’ll find some valuable information. You can see the ‘Time Since Last Full Charge‘. This provides two key stats: Usage and Standby. Take a screenshot of your before numbers, using your typical work or school day as the parameter. Start with a full charge and see how these numbers look at the end of the day. Press the power + home button to capture a screenshot. Implement your changes and watch these numbers soar.

Monitor battery life

Tip: To keep an eagle eye on your actual battery numbers, make sure the ‘Battery Percentage’ is toggled to ‘On’. In the menu bar, you’ll see a specific number that can help you better gauge your usage.

At the end of the day, some of the above battery tips will help more than others. However, it’s combined effect of using all of the above suggestions that should result in an appreciable effect on your battery life. The best possible practice is to restore as new and use all of the tips we have outlined. At the end of the day, you have to decide what’s most important to you. It’s easy to suggest things like turning off Location Services, but for some folks, that’s a feature they either enjoy or use with regularity. Ultimately, you have to decide what features you can do without. The sacrifices you are making will result in an increase in the overall battery life of your iPhone. Using history as our marker, the next few rounds of iOS software updates could also offer improvements.

Resources & Discussions

Since installing iOS 7, how is your battery life? Is it about the same, worse or improved? If you have any tips that we did not cover or would like to share a success story, please comment below or the related forum thread.

  • Joe Tomasone

    You are seriously advocating that people disable Location Services? That will eliminate any chance of finding a lost or stolen phone via Find My iPhone. Why not, instead, disable apps that don’t need location services from using it?

    • http://www.everythingicafe.com Christopher Meinck

      I’m advocating disabling of other apps. I’ve updated the article to clarify the importances of leaving Find My iPhone enabled.

  • Hawk

    Where I work, I have 2 bars 4G on average indoors. I have 4-5 bars LTE outside.
    On ios 6.1.3, if I used my phone for a combined total of 2-3 hours, my phone would be hitting 15-20% by 3pm. I leave at 4. Several times I have gotten to single digits.
    My battery life improved with ios7. Today, instead of barely lasting the 9 hours or so I’m usually at work 7-4, I had to work late. Very late. I made it to 8:30 with 15% left, and that was with decent usage.
    Personally I’m happy with the look feel and response of ios7 on my iPhone 5.

  • Timothy Healy

    One correction to navigating to “Slow Down Parallax”, should read: Go to Settings > GENERAL > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. Toggle to ‘On’.

    • http://www.everythingicafe.com Christopher Meinck

      Thanks! Updated.

  • Jane Olinick

    You should have put the bit about “Monitoring Your Battery Life” at the beginning of the article. I implemented the changes as I read, so all changes had been made by the time I got to that section

  • Flo

    I did all the recommended changes except restoring it to factory setting and my battery is still draining like crazy. Is it because i have a iphone 4, not a 4s? Is there any way to go back to ios 6?

  • Amin

    i had a defect in my iphone 5 they replaced it for me…i then opened the new one and updates it to IOS 7 then restored my previously stored backup using ITUNES…every thing was ok ..but i noticd that battery life is obviously shorter ???!!!!

    is it the device defect ? or i shall make factory restore ( i mean i wasn`t suppose to make backup restore ???)

    im very sad about that issue ….any advice here????