iPhone 4S Battery Life

I had assumed that with the advent of owning such a powerful computing device that there would be drawbacks.  Battery life seems to be the clear winner.  It takes some juice to run this little gem. 

Although Apple has released an update to iOS that may address some of the issues, I wondered if I couldn’t also help out my good friend the iPhone by doing some basic housekeeping.

I’ve been in and around mobile development going on eleven years now (yipe!) and there are some common reoccurring memes with respect to getting the most out of mobile device battery life.  Mostly they center around making your device do fewer things.  Simple enough.


Turn Off WiFi

Unless you are cruising at some well-known available network it’s best to turn WiFi off.  Your device will be looking for networks to join, generally sniffing around, all with convenience in mind for its owner.  Turning WiFi off when you’re not in range of a well-known network (e.g. home, work, Boingo) should conserve energy.

This behavior is similar to the no_wireless_signal battery drain issue of years past.  Essentially, when consumers entered a building where the wireless carrier signal was lost, the mobile device would continuously scan for a connection.  The result either being a carrier signal was found or the battery was drained to empty. 

More often than not it was the latter.


Shut Down Background Apps

The iPhone is good at multitasking quite a few apps by allowing them to run in the background.  The question I had for myself though was; how many of these apps are actually still running and do they really need to be?

Fortunately there is a facility that allows you to check to see what’s running and more importantly stop an app when you aren’t using it.

Double click on the home button.  Doing this will present a taskbar which contains all running apps.  This is a cool facility for switching between running apps (just tap the app you want to switch to).  Swipe left or right on the taskbar to see more apps – trust me there will be more.  

Now what?  Look for apps that you aren’t using regularly and shut them down.

To shut down running apps, touch and hold one of the app icons and you’ll see a red circle with a minus sign appear.  If you tap an icon the app will be stopped.  Neat.


Manage Push Notifications

This is a useful feature when managed conservatively. 

However, it seems that every app has something to say.  All this chatter makes your mobile device perform network related activity and will be, of course, yet another source of battery drain. 

Turn off unnecessary notifications.


Location, Location, Location

Location based activity makes your device perform a lot of work - your iPhone has to carry on an intense data conversation with cell towers or GPS satellites (in the case of turn by turn directions the location requests are constantly happening).  Limit the frequency with which you perform location based activity.  Be especially mindful of those apps that perform regular location updates to / from the network.


Feed The Need

If you just can’t stop doing what you are doing then maybe you need to get some extra juice to help out until you can get next to a power outlet.

I’ve been using a combination case protector / external rechargeable battery from mophie.  So far it’s been working quite well.  It’s smart enough to either use it’s own power first before using the iPhone’s or can be used to charge the iPhone’s battery.