Tips: How to Improve your iPhone Battery Life and Performance

lexussJan 6, 20182 5991 vote +1 rating

The revelation would appear to lend weight to a popular conspiracy, though the tech giant says it throttles performance on the mobile phones as a precautionary measure. Apple has admitted to intentionally slowing down iPhones as they get older, without notifying customers. The revelation would appear to lend weight to a popular conspiracy theory about the mobile phone. However, the tech giant claims the move is not designed to encourage customers to upgrade to newer iPhone models.

How to improve your iPhone battery life and performanceRather, Apple says it throttles iPhone performance as a precautionary measure. If it did not, the company claims, older iPhones would keep shutting down unexpectedly or break earlier than they should.

“Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions,” Apple told Reuters. “We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”

The issue comes from the iPhone’s battery, rather than its processor.

So, iPhone battery life – Tips to make your Apple handset last longer:

1. Limit notifications

Notifications are incredibly useful, but they also drain battery life and not all of them are actually necessary. Switching off notifications for certain apps can help your phone’s stamina. On Android, head into Settings, hit Apps and select those you don’t need to be notified by. On iOS, go to Settings and then Notifications.

2. Disable auto-sync

Certain apps, such as email and social networks, constantly run in the background even when you’re not using them. This is so you see updated information and updates when you do open the apps, but the benefits can be offset by the amount of battery life auto-sync can eat up. On Android, you can turn off auto-sync by going to Settings, Accounts and hitting the menu button. On iOS, go to Settings, General and Background App Refresh.

However, since auto-sync is genuinely useful, we’d recommend disabling it when you know you’re going to be running low on battery life, rather than switching it off all the time.

iPhone slow? Try replacing your battery! Reddit’s topic opinion:

It works! I just now replaced my battery ($50). The benchmarks report the expected numbers (1465 single, 2638 multi core) and the CPU frequency is now 1400MHz. When they took out the battery, half of it was soft! The tech said my battery was really used up.

I have a 6 Plus. The battery has 706 cycles and 74.3% battery capacity left now (measured with coconutBattery). With Geekbench 4, I’m getting 1023 single-core, 1799 multi-core. This is run with battery at 54%. CPUDasherX says the cpu frequency is at 839MHz, but it should be a max of 1.4GHz. I don’t know if this is the current speed (which sounds right) or the max speed, which is clearly too low.

My 6+ has been glacially slow since iOS 11. In addition, my phone will die in cold weather. It may have 50% battery and then suddenly it will report 5% battery left. I’m frustrated that I am forced to buy a new phone even though this one was just fine on iOS 10. I’m going to pop in a new battery and hope it saves this phone.

3. Switch off location services

GPS is a huge drain on your phone’s battery, as more and more apps use your location data to work out where you are, and shape your experience according to that information. Unless you’re using a Maps app, you can get by without it. To turn off GPS on Android, go to Settings and Location. On iOS, go to Settings, Privacy and Location Services.

4. Lower brightness

Your phone’s display is responsible for the biggest impact on your battery life, but it’s easy to limit how much energy it uses up. Auto-brightness is convenient, but often sets the screen brightness to a much higher level than it needs to be. Turning auto-brightness off, setting your display’s brightness to a lower level and adjusting it when you need to is much more sensible.

5. Uninstall apps you don’t need

Some apps drain more battery life than others, and it’s worth working out which ones you can do without. Facebook, for instance, is known to have a big impact on your phone’s battery, and you can eliminate this by deleting the app and using the social network in your web browser instead.

On Android and iOS, you can see the apps and processes that are affecting your battery by going to Settings and Battery. From there, work out what you can delete or replace with a less-demanding alternative.

iPhone slow? Try replacing your battery! Reddit’s topic opinion:

I have a 6s Plus from launch day. Apple never acknowledged this problem for the Plus models, but I have had the shutdown at random percentage issues many times. I tried Geekbench and got 2187/3689. It’s not massively less but it is worth taking note considering the normal scores for a 6s Plus are 2455/4193.

The phone isn’t on battery saving mode and it’s not overheating so I see no reason why it shouldn’t attain peak performance scores other than the battery which has dropped from 60% down to 38% in a matter of minutes. I believe that some 6s Plus batteries have the same fault as the 6s, but I’ve had no luck trying to get Apple to replace it. I may run Geekbench again at 100% battery whilst plugged in and see if I get a better result.

6. Cut your assistant off

Virtual assistants are becoming increasingly capable, and therefore increasingly important in tech companies’ eyes. Not all consumers share the enthusiasm of Google and Apple though, and rarely – if ever – use Google Assistant and Siri. Whether you use them or not, by default the two assistants are always listening out for their trigger words, and this uses up battery life.

On Android, you can switch this off by going to Settings, Google, Search, Voice and “Ok Google” detection. On iOS, go to Settings, Siri and Allow “Hey Siri”.

7. Stop vibrating

Vibrate is a great middle-ground between a potentially disruptive ringtone and total, uncertain silence, but it also uses up the most battery life of the three options. You can go a step further by also disabling tap feedback, which can be reassuring, but is ultimately unnecessary.

8. Turn off connections

If you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, switch your mobile data off, and vice versa. Similarly, remember to turn off Bluetooth and NFC when you’re not using them.

9. Airplane mode

Airplane mode isn’t just for when you’re on an aeroplane. If you know you’re not going to have or won’t need signal or a Wi-Fi connection for a good amount of time, it’s worth enabling Airplane mode. Otherwise, your phone will use up battery life by pointlessly trying to connect to a network.

iPhone slow? Try replacing your battery! Reddit’s topic opinion:

Also, if you’ve never opened up an iPhone before, I’d highly suggest watching a lot of videos on the process before deciding to do this yourself. While the battery replacement is one of the easier repairs you can do on the 4 and up, it’s still very, very easy to damage your display assembly or rip a flex cable if you go into it with little knowledge of how the internal hardware is set up. The battery replacement on the 4 and 4s are hands-down the simplest, and only require you to remove the back plate (2 screws) and one or two screws to disengage the battery connection; nothing else has to be removed or touched. The 5 and up went back to making the display assembly the first component removed (like the original models), and they added a lot more to it that makes it much more difficult without the right tools.

If you don’t have the right tools (they’re not terribly expensive), it’s even easier to damage things. And self-repair absolutely voids your warranty, including AppleCare, so keep these things in mind. If you do the repair correctly and cleanly (and with actual OEM parts), Apple employees likely won’t notice if you have to do a warranty replacement down the road, but using non-OEM parts or damaging the inside of the phone in any way will void your warranty.

Also, be smart about where you purchase the battery, as there are a lot of sketchy "re-sellers" out there who sell counterfeit OEM products, and buying a fake battery (or one that’s been previously damaged) can easily lead to damaging the device (best case scenario) or having the thing explode in your pocket.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, go to an Apple Store or an Authorized Apple Retailer/Service Provider, as this won’t void your warranty, and you can be very certain you’re getting OEM parts installed by techs who know what they’re doing.

Total: 7 comments
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  1. Gregory French
    Gregory FrenchJournalist
    2018-01-7, 10:54AM
    Wow, this happened on my 6s. I replaced the battery in October and noticed a huge jump in speed/performance - would not have guessed that the CPU was being underclocked because of a bad battery. Happy to report that since replacing it's felt like a brand new phone.

    Wish I had grabbed CPU scores before doing the replacement so I could compare, but right now my CPU scores are just like yours OP. My battery was reporting 57% capacity using Coconut Battery with 456 cycles. Drove me crazy recharging all the time.

    Another weird anecdote - I had a problem with 1 spot using 3D Touch. No matter the amount of pressure, there was about 1 square inch portion of my phone that wouldn't respond to 3D touch (regular touch input worked fine). The display had a slightly noticeable discoloring in that spot too. I figured it was the result of dropping it a few times.

  2. iLawyer
    2018-01-6, 8:55PM
    Well this post on fire...

    Actually I'm a iPhone 6s user, and I bought it October 2015, with iOS 9 it was so powerful, apps loads in a snap of a finger, updated mine to iOS 10 it runs smoothly except little bugs here and there and its normal as a new release 10.1 fixed a lot and 10.2 was heaven in terms of performance, BUT my 6s started to struggle with battery life and overheats as well, then Apple claims that 10.2.1 will fix unexpected shutdowns which I did not have, but after this update the nightmare begins, I can tell you that iOS 10 was my worst experience with iOS because of that throttling thing Apple did even worst that iOS 11, it was lagging so bad and I thought that it's generally iOS 10 doing that, but I was wrong.

    Now after updating to iOS 11 it's better for me but I felt that there is something wrong, sometimes its smooth and fast and when my battery starts to drain it starts to stutter and lag behind, now after throttling is confirmed, I knew that when it stutters the throttling is kicking in, which is something I hate, and it's related somehow to your charge level, when its above 80% the CPU works with full speed, 80-50% its 1500 MHz, below 50% its 1200MHz to 911MHz which is kinda unusable and a lot of frame drops.

    I think the best solution for is to admit that it's hardware related issue, and stop doing this throttling thing.

    Notice that: my battery wear level is between 18% to 24% past year and now its fixed at 24%.
  3. Dave Smartier
    Dave SmartierJournalist
    2018-01-6, 4:06PM
    My experience with my iPhone 6 needing a battery replacement is a testament of this.

    Earlier this year, I got to a point where I couldn't use my iPhone 6 unplugged, it'd mark 100% charge, but would randomly shut down as empty battery, had to carry an external battery with me around. I ran a wear test with some apps, I believe it was practically a 90% wear, these apps also suggested an urgent replacement. To confirm, ran remote diagnostic trough Apple's Twitter customer service account (btw, my experience was great) and they confirmed I needed a replacement.

    Problem is, there's no official Apple Store in my country, but at least there are officially authorized resellers and technicians. I checked with them, but at the time there were no battery replacements available for my 6. I ordered a battery replacement kit from iFixit and a friend brought it here for me.

    I know it was iOS 10 at the time, but the drop in performance was noticeable. I really couldn't wait till the moment I could get my hands on the replacement kit.

  4. lexuss
    Author: lexussJournalist
    2018-01-6, 1:11PM
    Well, now I know I wasn't crazy when I said my iPhone 6s was slower after iOs 11, and I've never been one to believe in Apple doing it so people upgrade devices. In fact this is the first time I've ever noticed it.

    My battery has 423 cycles, 95.6% capacity and has less than a year because Apple replaced it in January when the random shutdowns happened. Geekbench score is the same both in low power mode and normla mode. 1429/2510. CPU DasherX shows 911mhz both in low power mode and normal mode. That being said, I don't believe it is only battery related, because I got my battery replaced by Apple free of charge in January (due to random shutdowns) so it is lees than a yera old and still has 95.6% of the original capacity. I believe it has to be a software bug of some kind...

    1. Trevory Mogger
      2018-01-6, 9:01PM
      The 6S Plus battery has been nothing but a nightmare. I just replaced the phone, but towards the end the battery would last maybe 1/3 of a day. Cold weather was a problem from the get-go. The phone could be fully charged but the charge would drop precipitously within moments of exposure to anything in the 40s or lower and the phone would quickly die. Once the phone was warmed back up the charge would return, but it meant I couldn't use the phone at all in really cold weather (e.g. taking photos during snowboarding trips). While on vacation in Europe recently I basically had to keep the phone plugged into a portable charger continuously, as it would die after about 30 minutes to an hour when taking pictures.

      Ever since the iOS 11 update the phone has been very slow. I made it better by deleting most of the apps and turning off background refresh for most of the rest. Even then, the phone would get VERY slow when the battery was less than about 30 or 40%. At this point I couldn't use some apps at all, like camera, as they were nearly unresponsive. This is another reason I had to leave the charger plugged in continuously during our recent trips.

      I would have replaced the battery instead of buy a new phone had I known that would also fix the performance :(. I took my phone to Apple a few times about the battery issues but they wouldn't do shit about it. Just tested it and said it was performing within their standard.
    2. Chris Maccenroy
      Chris MaccenroyJournalist
      2018-01-7, 10:49AM
      You want to hear something sad? Went to Genius Bar today to have my battery replaced. Only, I didn't get it replaced. My iPhone 6+ is 2-1/2 years old. Battery has around 500 charge cycles. According to their diagnostics, the battery is still "green" with 85% of its original charge. Well, I tried to explain to him how my phone is throttled under iOS 11, how everything is really slow when the charge drops a certain percentage, how Geekbench shows sub-par results, how CPU Dasher X shows the CPU throttled down to 600 Mhz, but it didn't matter.

      He said the battery was good, and that there was no CPU throttling. In fact, he even warned me of replacing the battery since my iPhone had a very slight bend (yes, it's that infamous iPhone 6 Plus), and that the machine putting in the new battery may not work.

      He only advised the usual blabla... hard-reset, don't restore an old backup etc. :(
    3. Alan Greener
      2018-01-7, 10:59AM
      IMPORTANT: One key thing I realized - ANY battery work done outside of Apple's official repair means they will never work on your phone again. So if you care about having Apple do any kind of work on your phone (even if totally unrelated to battery), you will have to get the battery replaced by them.

      I replaced an aging battery on my iPhone 6s Plus a few months ago myself and installed iOS 11 at the same time (figured it was a good opportunity to do both together). Immediately I noticed my phone was basically unusable, incredibly slow, everything was crashing or locking up completely, I couldn't believe it. I thought iOS 11 was the culprit, and even did a complete reinstall without restoring any backups to no avail. Finally, I noticed a slight dark spot on the LCD - the brand new battery I had bought was already bulging and in bad shape.

      I sprung for a better quality battery from iFixit and immediately the phone was running like brand new again. I thought the cheap battery had been supplying an unstable current, but perhaps there is indeed an issue with the software itself.
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