Now that we’ve all had a bit longer to play with our new mobile phone operating system, and got used to the strangely 2-dimensional feel of it, we’ve started to notice a significant downside to our gorgeously glassy new apps. I am sure this will be less of a problem when we finally get our hands on the new 5S and 5C, but for our slightly more mature devices the new OS has proved a bit of a drain on the power supply.
If you are finding this too, here are some tips that might help you stretch the juice a bit further, without seriously impacting your beautiful iOS7 experience.
Turn off or at least edit the ‘background app refresh’ facility, (in Settings > General). If you don’t require minute by minute mapping or stock market updates, this will save your data use as well as battery life. And whilst you are in there disable auto app updates too perhaps – you can still update your apps whenever you like of course.
Turn off AirDrop – Airdrop lets you send files from one iPhone5 to another in the local area instantly, it’s pretty cool, but one of those things you are bound to use only occasionally. So swipe up to bring up the Control Centre, and tap it to ‘off’ the rest of the time.
Disable the beautiful parallax effects. One of the really pretty things about iOS7 is the way you see slightly behind the icons and different layers of notifications, as you move your phone in your hand. It’s subtle and cool – BUT uses your phone’s hardware to detect the speed, direction and motion of your hand movements and as such uses a fair bit of not strictly necessary power. Also, if you suffer from epilepsy, dyslexia or any kind of dizziness, you might not want your display to waggle about anyway. You can turn it off in Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce motion.
Along the same lines, the beautiful dynamic wallpapers supplied with your new OS also adapt to your hand movements, and therefore use the internal motion sensors in addition to the processing power to actually serve up a moving image rather than a still one. You can conserve a bit more juice by using one of the static wallpapers supplied or of course any photos of your choice
Nobble some or all location-related system services. Many iPhone apps use location data. Some of the needs for this are obvious – mapping apps need to know exactly where you are to be of any use. But if you look in Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and scroll to System Services, you may be surprised at how many apps are continually pinging away to check exactly where you are all the time, and there is a reason this is located with privacy controls of course, but it’s harder to get at than things reached via the Control Centre.
Incidentally mapping and directions, whether the native Apple Maps or the Google app, are probably the biggest drain of the lot when it comes to battery power. Whilst they are absolutely brilliant when you need them and often far more up to date than your standalone sat-nav’s directions, it is very important to turn these power-hungry apps OFF properly when you have finished using them. Otherwise your phone may not be there to guide you home! If you use your smartphone as your sat-nav these days then a car charging kit is a very good investment.
Manage your Wifi connectivity actively. Obviously Wifi detection drivers use power themselves. However, if like me you live in an area of terrible mobile coverage, it can actually drain the battery faster if you turn Wifi off… because of all the background things going on like receiving alerts, push emails etc, your phone is continually searching for connectivity, pinging cellular signal senders, and if that is unstable where you are then it’s working harder.
Remember that here in Spain our cutting edge 3G is what we are used to, but in terms of the latest smartphones this is actually a somewhat elderly service, so our phones are designed to continually seek a higher quality cellular service. We can console ourselves that the 4G service we haven’t got uses a LOT of battery power!
Of course enabling Wifi (when you are at home or somewhere that provides it) saves your data allowance too as well as usually moving more rapidly for downloads or receiving information.
Conversely, when you are out and about and NOT in any consistent Wifi range, turn it off. And Bluetooth, unless you are actually at that moment using a peripheral requiring it like a cordless headset or keyboard, should be off at all times – for security as well as resource management reasons.
You can quickly toggle these connectivity options via the Control Centre (swipe up).
All of these ideas are options, if you find your iPhone battery is letting you down, but most come at some sacrifice of how your phone was designed to work best for you of course, and none are essential (except I would argue killing Bluetooth. You never use it do you?)
There are other choices too, like the Mophie juice pack or portable battery top-up devices, as well as chargers such as the car kits and solar power-monkey kits, so your best option is to learn and plan for what your own needs are, to best enjoy your new operating system on your old iPhone.
Costa Connected, for Costa Blanca News, October 11th 2013
©Maya Middlemiss, Casslar Consulting SL