Find out what’s killing your iPhone battery

Find out what’s killing your iPhone battery

iPhone battery dying faster than you’d like? You can see exactly what your iPhone battery is using in the Settings app. It will show you which apps are using more power than others, which services are running in the background, and what drains your battery the most over the course of the week.

If you suspect that your phone isn’t lasting as long as it used to, or notice that it’s charging very slowly, this will help you diagnose the problem.

Keep reading to find out if you should quit all your iPhone apps when you’re done using them (you shouldn’t) and how you can stop apps and email from running in the background.

What’s Using Your iPhone Battery?

So-called low battery anxiety is real. That makes sense too. As we rely on our iPhones for more and more things every day – texting, watching videos, listening to music and podcasts, taking photos, surfing the web, playing games – it’s only natural to fear losing on a critical moment without touching juice. Things only get worse when you experience an unexpected drain on your iPhone’s battery life, and you think a rogue app might be to blame.

Fortunately, as with so many things in iOS, Apple gives you a lot of data about your iPhone battery and what’s draining it. You just have to know where to look. To find detailed information about battery usage, just open your iPhone’s Settings app.

Get detailed information with this excellent chart.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Go to Settings > Battery to see a graph with a detailed list of which apps used the most power over the past 24 hours and over the past 10 days. (Tap Show Battery Usage below to see percentages on the list.)

For example, I was curious why my phone wouldn’t charge even when it was recently plugged in. With iOS, you can tap on the bar graph to see what happened during a specific time period.

Although I don’t live in a state with COVID-19 exposure notifications, I left the feature on from when I visited California last year, and it’s a huge battery drain. I implore you to leave it on if you live in a region where it is available. But if you don’t, you can turn it off in Settings > Exposure notifications > Turn off exposure notifications.

Here are some more tips to reduce iPhone battery.

Do not force your programs to close. These are the only things an app is allowed to do in the background. You don’t need to force your apps to get good battery life.
Photo: Apple

Forcing your apps by swiping up to close them is worse for your iPhone’s battery life than doing nothing at all. Just leave them alone and your phone will do the rest.

Thanks to the way Apple designed iOS, there are only a handful of things apps are allowed to do when they’re not on the screen (play music, send push notifications, check for updates, check your location, etc.). If an app isn’t visible on your iPhone screen, it’s just as energy efficient as if it wasn’t running at all. Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Apple’s former senior vice president of iPhone software, Scott Forstall, explaining how iOS smartly conserves battery life.

When you force close your apps, your iPhone has to do extra work to remove them from memory. Additionally, the next time you open the app, it will take longer to open.

To get the best battery life possible, you need to break the habit of forcing every app to close when you’re done. Just go to the home screen. Your phone will run faster and your battery will last longer.

Turn off Background App Refresh Turn off Background App Refresh if you’re extra battery conscious.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you’re still worried about apps draining your battery in the background, there’s one switch you can turn off to stop that from happening so you don’t have to manage it yourself.

Go to Settings > General > Refresh background app. Turn it off if you want maximum peace of mind. Your battery life might be slightly improved, but you’ll have to wait a little longer after opening an app to see what’s new.

I only run it for a small number of apps (AfterShip, Maps, Mona, Music, NetNewsWire, Siri, and Slack).

Reduce how often Mail fetches your email Reducing how often Mail fetches new email can really add up if you have a lot of email addresses.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

There are three different ways your email accounts can be set up:

Use Apple’s push notification service. Fetch new mail at regular intervals. Retrieve email manually when you open the app.

“Push” delivery is by far the best option if your email account supports it. (Unfortunately, the very popular Gmail does not.)

You can adjust how often your phone downloads new email in Settings > Mail > Accounts > Fetch new data. Set each account to Push if available. If it isn’t, you can set up a schedule. I set mine to Hourly because timeliness is not important for my non-iCloud accounts.

Your iPhone will last longer once you identify what’s using your battery

Hopefully, you can squeeze out more battery life if you take all these tips to heart. They won’t double your battery life or have as dramatic of an effect — but in a pinch, if you’ve had a long stressful day, the following tips can make a difference so you can make that one critical call before your iPhone dies.

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