The Ultimate Guide to Solving iOS Battery Drain

The Ultimate Guide to Solving iOS Battery Drain

In my considerable experience as mobile application developers and as a smartphone enthusiast, the question that people have asked me the most would be “my iPhone is using too much battery. How can I fix it?”

Even after the release of 7 totally new versions of the iOS software and 8 versions of iPhone devices, battery has been the main problem of all Apple smart phones. To be fair it is the problem of every smart mobile device. Its even understandable, smartphone is just a high performance computer minimized to fit in a pocket, its bound to use lots of power.

First I would like to assure you that most often than not ,it is not the fault of your device, rather the apps that you have downloaded on the device. So the only option for prolonged battery life is to strip your phone to bare essentials, but what is the use of the smartphone if you cant load it up with apps and play. Therefore In this post I am going to talk about dpractical solutions of all battery problems while still using all the apps and features that made you fall in love with your iPhone.

But before we begin we are going to perform some tests on your device to see if you really have a battery problem.

Testing Your iOS Device Battery

The iOS devices comes with a inbuilt feature that allows you to check your Standby and Usage times of the device. Go to Settings > General > Usage and note down these times. Now Usage Time is the time that you have actually used the device, and Standby Time is the time that your device has been turned on since last full charge, i.e. sage time plus time that the phone was asleep. In the hands of an average user there is lot of time difference between Usage time and Standby time, but if you are using your phone constantly for a lot of time, for example using it to play songs non-stop, the time difference is significantly lower.

We can use these statistics to test the battery of your device. So note the standby and usage times of the device and then put the device to sleep mode using the sleep button. Wake the device up after 5 minutes and note down both times again. In ideal condition your standby time should increase by five minutes exact and your usage time should increase by not more than 1 minute.

If that’s the case then your device is working perfectly and there is no need to be worried about your battery. However if that is not the case and the Usage time increase by more than 2 minutes or so then your device is not sleeping properly and some issue is draining that extra battery time.

Here are some of the main issues that causes battery drain and their solutions.

Step 1: Disable Background App Refresh and Location Services for Social Networks

I tested my phone using Xcode, an Apple developer tool to see the processes running in the phone, both active and background. I found that process from social network apps, especially Facebook, stays in the uppermost positions of running process. Closing these process or disabling location and background refresh for Facebook and other social networking apps can save a lot of battery life. However you will not receive any updates once the background processes are closed.

You can disable location services by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Service > Switch it to Off.
Similarly you can disable background refresh by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh > Switch it to Off.

Step 2: Disable Background App Refresh for App you don’t use regularly

As iterated in previous point disabling Background App refresh can save a lot of battery. A word of caution, disabling it can may deprive you of important notifications especially from apps that you use on regular basis. however when you get down to it there are actually 4-5 apps that you use regularly and are dependent on their ability to pop notifications, for example Emails, Whatsapp, 1-2 Social Networks, etc. For the rest of the apps that you don’t even open for days, you can disable the Background App Refresh feature. You can do that by following the steps described in the above point.

Step 3: Quitting Apps in Multitasking may actually drain more battery

iOS 7 has this fun way to close apps. Just double-click the home button ,swipe up on app and whoosh, its gone.We easily assume that this would save power because it would shut down the app and keep them from running in the background.Which is FALSE.

Although it would shut down the app but it would cause more harm than help if done on a regular basis. Here’s why. When you shut down an app, it gets taken out of the phone’s RAM. While it does seem like the objective to achieve, it isn’t. The next time you open the same app again, the device would have to load it back to memory afresh. This process of loading unloading and reloading exerts lots of pressure on the device.

Also when the iOS needs memory, it automatically closes apps on its own. Hence there is no need to do what your device is already capable of doing itself. Actually the apps shown in the multitasking menu aren’t in function in the background at all. iOS freezes them at the last point of use so that they are ready for you when you go back to them. if you have not enabled BAR, apps are not allowed to run in the background unless they are playing music, using location services, recording audio, or checking for incoming VOIP calls , like Skype. When running in the background, these generally are indicated by an icon next to the battery icon on the screen.

Step 4: Temporarily Disable Push Email

Push email enables you to receive instant notifications whenever you receive a new email. While it is of great use, it may deplete your battery reserve if it is not configured correctly. Try changing the setting to Fetch every fifteen, thirty or sixty minutes, whatever suits you best. Also you could try disable Push on some accounts if you own multiple. Unbelievably often, especially with Exchange push email, it’s as if the phone gets stuck in a loop checking for email constantly. When this happens, the phone will usually die within six hours of being off the charger, and if you check you will find that the Standby and Usage times would be nearly the same. These times are not the same because the “firmware is bad or corrupted”, it’s because push email is keeping the phone from sleeping properly.

Step 5: Disable Push Notifications that don’t need

There are many games which keep sending you push notifications for things like buying newer versions of the game. They don’t really consume a lot of battery but every notification wakes up the device for a few seconds, which could add up to a few minutes of your usage time. You would therefore have lesser time for the more useful things that you would have wanted to do. It makes a minute difference but does ultimately add up.

Step 6: Turn Off Battery Percentage widget

Turn off that battery percentage meter and stop worrying about your battery drain. You can find this setting in Settings > General > Usage, right above where your battery times are listed. One thing I found in my experience is that people that are anxious about their iOS device battery life are constantly checking it to see the percentage and how much it has dropped from the last time they checked it. So if you check your device twice as much, simply to check on the battery life, you are essentially halving the time your device will last. Stop freaking out and enjoy your life. There are more important things to worry about than your device’s battery life. The control freak inside you might freak out the first few days you do this, but you’ll get used to it.

Step 7: If the problem persists visit an Apple Retail Store

I have come to know that Apple now has a new ‘Extended Battery Life Test’ for iOS technicians. It allows them to get a detailed analysis of the battery usage of your device, and thankfully only takes a few minutes to run.

There is also a rare possibility of the actual physical battery of your device being defective, in which case the technicians would replace it very cheaply, or even for free if the iOS is still under warranty period.


Following these steps will save a lot of battery for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. as parting words I would also like to point out that most of us are very heavy iPhone users, especially music lovers, gossipers, book readers, internet surfers etc. Smartphones in general consumes a lot of battery and no matter what you do you are bound to feel that you phone is not charging properly. So I would also advise on investing in car chargers or secondary charger or external batteries. For iOS app Solutions you can contact us or make a call to our toll free number +1-877-284-1028.

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Rachit Agarwal

Rachit Agarwal

Director and Co-Founder at Algoworks Technologies
Rachit is leading the mobility business development function, mobility strategy and consulting practice at Algoworks. He is an expert of all mobile technologies and has experience in managing teams involved in the development of custom iPhone/iPad/Android apps.
Rachit Agarwal

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