Get better battery life from your iOS device

Christopher Breen
18 March, 2012
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Apple’s iOS 5.0.1 update aimed to stop the excessive battery drain that affected devices running iOS 5. Unfortunately, the results have been decidedly mixed. While some have reported that their iOS devices aren’t as power-hungry as before, even Apple acknowledges that it’s still trying to get a handle on the operating system’s battery demands. Not content to wait for Apple to finish its investigation? It’s worth checking out these four areas, which could account for some of your power problems.

Location Services 

Your iOS device can tell apps where you are, but that puts a burden on your battery. You can switch location services off entirely by going to Settings > Location Services and flicking the Location Services switch to the Off position.

That’s an extreme action, though and one you can easily avoid. Instead, scan down the list of apps and take a look at which ones are currently using those services (denoted by a purple arrow). Do you really need those apps to broadcast your location? If not, switch them off.


If you’ve got an iPhone 4S, go to Settings > General > Siri and disable the Raise To Speak option. This convenient feature invokes Siri whenever you lift the phone to speak, but we’ve heard reports that it can drain the battery pretty fast. With this option off, all you have to do to use Siri is press and hold the Home button.

We’d avoid disabling Siri altogether. That wipes all the information it has gleaned from you off Apple’s servers, so when you switch your device back on, Siri has to resync that data with the cloud, burning up more power.


It’s always been true that when you push data to your iOS device, it puts a strain on the battery. To turn this option off, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Fetch New Data and flip the Push switch off. Your device fetches data with a setting of your choosing – every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, every hour or manually. The manual option saves the most power.


The ability to move data automatically between your iOS device and the cloud is fabulous, but it can also quickly deplete your battery. Go to Settings > iCloud and take a good look at the options you find there.

If you don’t routinely create contacts, events, reminders, bookmarks and notes on your device and you’re willing to forgo automatically receiving updates when you create those items on other devices, consider switching some or all of these options off.

Photo Stream is another option to consider carefully, because when it’s switched on, every picture you take with your iOS device gets uploaded to the cloud.

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