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I changed these 10 iPhone settings and improved its battery life dramatically

Front of the iPhone 15 Pro with Nomad Modern Leather case.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

No matter how much you use your iPhone, you’ve almost certainly thought about how to maximize its battery life. After all, these phones — particularly the smaller models — can be more than just a little power-hungry.

Also: iPhone 16: Three changes I want to see on the next Apple handsets

So whether you own one of the latest models or are rocking something from a few years ago, there are quite a few ways to maximize your iPhone’s battery life and help it last longer on a charge. Let’s break down the 10 best ways to save your iPhone’s battery life.

1. Turn off the always-on display

One of the biggest power drainers on the iPhone Pro series is the always-on display. Apple finally added it after years of refusing to, and while the company says it’ll only sip about one percent per hour, that’s still almost a quarter of your battery gone each day while you aren’t using your phone. Not exactly great for optimizing battery.

How to: Head to Settings > Display & Brightness > Always On Display on your iPhone and flip the toggle to off. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

2. Disable haptic feedback when typing

This is one of those features Android phones have had for years that only recently made it to the iPhone. However, in both phones, the constant buzz every time you hit a key does lead to excess battery drain, especially if you’re like me and are always typing.

How to: Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Keyboard Feedback on your iPhone and flick the toggle labeled “Haptics” to off. You can also disable sound from the keyboard which could save a bit of battery life if you live with your iPhone ringer switched on.

Also: iPhone 15 review: I spent a month with Apple’s base model and found it more ‘Pro’ than ever

3. Disable “Hey Siri” detection

iPhone with Siri

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

If you don’t use Siri on the regular, chances are you don’t need the constantly be listening for the “Hey Siri” command. After all, you can just long-press the side button on any modern iPhone to trigger the assistant at any time, freeing up battery power devoted to the voice command detection.

How to: Go to Settings > Siri & Search on your iPhone and tap “Listen for.”  From there, choose “Off” and you won’t be able to use any of the hotwords to trigger Siri.

4. Reduce the amount of notifications you get

When you get a notification on an iPhone, a million things happen at once. Your display lights up, it plays a sound, it vibrates (if you have that turned on), there’s an animation involved — it’s a lot. And if you have a lot of apps installed on your phone, chances are you’re getting a lot of notifications every day, likely leading to excess battery drain you didn’t even realize was happening. It’s best to shut some of the unnecessary ones off not just for the battery life, but for the sake of saving you from checking your phone every few minutes as well.

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How to: Visit the Settings app and scroll down to find the app you want to disable notifications for. Tap on it, then tap “Notifications.” There’s a primary toggle at the top of the UI that’ll let you disable notifications altogether, and there are a number of options below it to tweak how those notifications are delivered, whether it be quietly in the background or simply as banners while you’re using your phone. For the best battery life, just disable all the notifications you don’t need entirely.

5. Turn off nearby AirDrop sharing

Access iPhone Settings

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

There’s a neat feature in iOS 17 that lets you hold two iPhones, Apple Watches, or one of each near each other to instantly share contact information, files, and more with others. It’s cool to use from time to time, but keeping the feature turned on can drain your battery since it’s constantly on the lookout for other Apple devices to interact with. Granted, battery drain isn’t too significant here, but it can be if you’re in a public place with lots of other phones around.

How to: Visit Settings > General > AirDrop and turn off “Bringing Devices Together.” This won’t disable AirDrop altogether, just the feature to hold devices close by.

6. Don’t use Live Activities

Introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro series and the Dynamic Island, Live Activities can display real-time information from a variety of different apps so you don’t have to keep the app full-screen. It’s great for tracking sports scores, Uber ETAs, upload progression on Instagram, and more. However, as you can imagine, it can drain your battery quickly over time. If you want to squeak out the most battery life you can, it’s best to disable this entirely.

Also: How to record a call on your iPhone (and check if it’s legal in your state)

How to: Go to the Settings app and locate the apps that work with Live Activities. Tap on them, then toggle off “Live Activities” from the list of options. You can also go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and toggle off “Live Activities” so they don’t appear on the lock screen.

7. Check the widgets on your lock screen

Speaking of the lock screen, Apple recently allowed users to add widgets to the lock screen in iOS to add some customization and glanceable information. I’ll admit, I’m a huge fan of widgets on the lock screen, but not if they’re gonna drain my battery. I’ve seen the weather app, Todoist, and a few other apps drain my battery over time simply because they’re constantly updating their information on a screen I only look at occasionally.

How to: Wake up your iPhone and press and hold on the lock screen to enter customization mode. Then, tap “Customize” and choose the lock screen itself. From there, you can remove any widgets that you think are draining your battery in the background. Anything involving constant data are usually good to get rid of, while others like a calendar or your fitness rings might only drain a fraction of battery life over time.

8. Reduce your refresh rate

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus in hand

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

If you own a newer iPhone Pro, you’ve probably noticed how silky smooth the display feels. That’s because Apple includes a 120Hz refresh rate on the Pro phones, which makes everything from animations to scrolling feel more responsive. However, it uses more power than a regular 60Hz refresh rate does, so if you want some extra endurance throughout the day, it’s best to flick it off.

How to: Go to Settings > Accessibility > Motion, then turn on “Limit Frame Rate.” This will drop the display down to 60Hz.

9. Turn off Background App Refresh

Most apps involve pulling data from the internet to function, and for them to be ready to show you that information when you tap on them, they have to refresh in the background. If an app goes haywire, this can have dire consequences for your iPhone’s battery life–it could be draining while it’s just sitting on your desk and you’d have no idea. If you suspect one or more of your apps is draining your battery in the background, you should absolutely turn off Background App Refresh.

Also: iOS 18 wishlist: 5 features I’d like to see Apple bring to the iPhone

How to: Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh on your iPhone. From there, you can tap “Background App Refresh” and toggle it off completely, or stay on the main screen and disable it app-by-app, which is more useful if you know the specific app that’s causing your battery to drain.

10. Use Optimized Charging

iphone-15-usb-c-charging-accesories

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

If you want to preserve the life of your iPhone battery’s health over time, one of the easiest ways to do that is by using Optimized Charging. It’s a feature built into every iPhone that dynamically adjusts charging speeds based on where you are and whether it thinks your iPhone will be plugged in for a long time. For example, when you go to sleep and plug your phone in, it’ll charge to 80 percent before slowing down, then trickle power into your phone so it’s at 100 percent when you wake up. It’s a much safer alternative than forcing your battery to charge at full speed all the time.

How to: Go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging and check to make sure it’s enabled (it’s enabled by default on every iPhone). If you own an iPhone 15 or later, you’ll also have the option to cap charging to 80 percent to preserve your battery’s health even longer.

Bonus: Use Low Power Mode

I didn’t include Low Power Mode on the primary list because, well, it feels like a bit of a no-brainer whenever someone asks how to save battery life on their iPhone. But I’d be remiss not to mention it since, yes, it will absolutely save battery life when you turn it on as it disables a host of battery-draining features all at once like background app refresh, fast display refresh rates, fancy animations, and more.

How to: Swipe down from the top right corner to access Control Center on your iPhone, then tap the battery icon. Your battery status indicator will turn yellow and you’ll enter Low Power Mode. To turn it off, repeat the same process.


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