Since the release of the iPhone 3G, many bloggers and publications have reported bad battery life of the reincarnated Jesus Phone. I must first say, I am quite impressed with overall performance and battery life considering the number of processes, radios, and active (battery consuming) features that the 3G iPhone is juggling. To give you an idea, there is the UMTS/HSDPA (Edge/3G Cellular) Radio, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR Radio, GPS Receiver, WiFi 802.11b/g Radio, various Audio/Video/CPU/chip processes, Interactive Cocoa Interface, a brilliant Multi-Touch display, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, 2.0 Megapixel Camera, and of course the Accelerometer.
Although impressive, the battery life can quickly diminish with ALL items active! The important thing to remember is that this device, at its core, is a cellphone which is important to have functioning at all times! Especially as a father of a 2 year old child! Anything can happen, and I must be able to be contacted!
Since I spend 8 to 10 hours per day with my iPhone plugged into my ear listening to podcasts and music as well as random data retrieval and web correspondence, I have made it a project of mine to find a good balance of performance and battery longevity. After testing various settings, I have found what I believe to be a good “formula” to make my phone last until day’s end with juice to spare! Hopefully you can find some good suggestions in this article to make your iPhone last!
With these tweaks in mind, you can begin to determine what items you need all the time, some of the time, not at all, or most importantly… on demand!
I think it is the ability to engage/disengage, or tweak some of the phone’s many features on demand that can GREATLY affect the battery longevity of your iPhone. Hopefully in a future update to the firmware, Apple will consider adding a Customizable Power Consumption Profile that can be changed On-The-Fly for various usage requirements, depending on your current demands of the phone. (ie: Longevity, Performance, etc.)
Here are the items I suggest tweaking to configure your phone for maximum longevity. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND – These changes are only a suggestion, and a person’s uses may vary depending on the demands of their unique phone usage requirements. All of these suggestions should assume you are NOT connected to a direct power source, which obviously would allow you to turn EVERYTHING ON without fear of battery drain!
GSM Cellular (Edge/3G) Data and Voice
- Disengage the 3G Network (Settings>General>Network) - I only enable the 3G Network when I am on the go (not near a WiFi connection) doing major web browsing, downloading applications, or streaming audio.
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
- Disengage the Bluetooth (Settings>General>Bluetooth) - Bluetooth can take up valuable battery power quickly! Turn it off unless you are currently using it!
GPS (Location Services)
- Disengage the GPS Receiver (Settings>General>Location Services) -It is important to note, the GPS Receiver does NOT stay on constantly if this feature is engaged. This simply allows it to be used when various applications or phone features that use Geo Location are running. NOTE: If you have GPS Disengaged, then run an application that uses GPS/Geo Location, it will ask you if you would like to provide your current location. If you say yes, it will automatically engage it! Yet another reason to just keep this turned OFF! Let the application enable it ONLY IF NEEDED!
- Set Auto-Lock to the shortest period of time (Settings>General>Auto-Lock) – Auto-Lock shuts the screen off after a pre-determined period of inactivity on the phone. I set this to the least amount of time (1 minute) in the event that I forget to shut the screen off before putting it down or in my pocket.
- Set the screen brightness to the lowest level you can comfortably use in your current lighting conditions, with Auto-Brightness turned OFF (Settings>Brightness) – Note: If you plan on using your iPhone in varying light levels, or mostly in bright situations, enable the Auto-Brightness feature to automatically cut back on brightness when it is not needed.
- Disengage WiFi (Settings>WiFi) – Only enable WiFi when needed, and you are relatively stationary! Unless you are lucky enough to have widespread WiFi in your area, WiFi is usually a very local reception (a few hundred feet at most). Although (usually) faster than Edge or 3G Data connections WiFi will eat up battery power quickly! Especially in densely populated areas where short-range WiFi signals are prevalent! The constant search, and refreshing of Network Signals eats away at the power.
Push and Fetch New Data
(Settings>Fetch New Data) – Push and Fetch will certainly vary among different people depending on your urgency for refreshment of incoming/outgoing data, emails, application updates, etc.
FOR BEST BATTERY LIFE: Turn Push “OFF”, and Fetch to “Manually”
FOR FREQUENT UPDATES: TURN Push “ON”, and Fetch at your desired refresh rate. (The longer the period of time, the better battery life)
Although obvious, I should mention other items that have a great impact on battery life.
- Watching Video
- Listening to Audio – The louder the output, the higher the battery consumption.
- Playing Games – The more intense the 3D graphics, the greater the impact on battery life.
- Voice Calls
- Text Messaging – High Refresh Rate Data transmission
- Random Tinkering within the phone (Cocoa Interface, Apps, Images, etc) – If you are using the phone, it is processing CPU cycles and the screen is illuminated, therefore you are consuming more battery power.
Hopefully this list helps you get more out of your iPhone!
If you have any other suggestions, or comments on these tips, please post a comment! If you learn even ONE thing from this, lost a braincell or two in the process of reading this load of crap, or just hate my suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!
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