We have all been in a similar situation watching something or browsing the Internet on your iPhone, when suddenly a battery warning pops up on the screen. You only have 20% of the battery left. You check your watch and there are still 2 hours left on your flight. Uggghh… Now, you begin to wonder how you can make that last 20% of your battery last. There is no real way to tell how long it will last, as the battery usage often depends on what you are doing.
Over the weekend, Battery Go! by collegekidapp.com was released in the iTunes App Store to help out with just such a situation. This app, simple as it is, gives you a snapshot of your battery charge and what it is capable of doing with what is left. There is not much to the app. It only really consists of two screens, but that seems to be enough to convey the needed information. When you launch the app, it pulls up a screen that shows the percentage of battery life left on a sliding scale. Underneath this slider, the app displays the amount of time you have for each of four functions on your device. These four things are web, phone, music, and video. Obviously, on an iPod Touch, the values for the phone portion are always N/A. If you want to know how much time you have at different battery levels, you can even move the slider right or left to find out. When using this app, though, keep in mind that accuracy is only guaranteed to be within 5% of the actual levels.
I was curious to see what the values were at the ever annoying 20% and 10% battery remaining that my iPod always gives me warnings at. I was a little disappointed to find that at 10% the values all zero out and less than 10% it just says “Battery Life Dangerously Low.” I think that battery levels in that range are probably most likely to make you curious about how much time you have left to use your iPod or iPhone. You just have to remember to check the battery before it gets that low.
Battery Go! is $0.99 in the iTunes App Store.
Developer’s Website: http://www.collegekidapp.com/
This will be my second post in a new series of how-to posts here on AppChatter.com. The first post dealt with removing Apple app icons from your springboard a la Parental Controls. In this post, I will discuss a much debated topic: iPhone battery and improving the iPhone’s battery life. So while I recognize that my approach here will be scoffed at by many, I’m sure others out there will welcome the tips. I will preface that not all the tips offered here will work for everyone, obviously, so to each his own (or however that goes).
If you’re a heavy user like me, then battery life is likely a limiting factor with your iPhone. Likewise, if you’re not a really heavy user, but just looking to eek out as much battery life on each charge cycle as you possibly can, then the pointers below will definitely help you out as well.
I moved up from a first-generation iPhone to the 3GS, partly because I thought it was high-time to upgrade but mostly because the new features found in the new device were just too much to pass on. So here I am over a week later on the new iPhone 3GS and all my biggest complaint so far is: battery life sucks! That’s right, under iPhone 2G I could browse the web all day (albeit over EDGE), listen to music, pull email from 5 email accounts (mostly google mail), and test app after app after app (this is an app review site, afterall!). At the end of the day I would regularly have 30-50% battery left.
Since moving to the 3GS, I can do about half of what I used to do on my old phone before reaching the 20% battery warning. I now carry a battery cable in my car for just this, since now when I leave work my phone is nearly dead.
So what can you do to improve your battery life? Well, turns out, there’s a lot you can do. Since any new feature that Apple puts into the iPhone ultimately costs battery life, some of these more battery intensive features can be disabled at the cost of omitting that function. So, here we go:
- Probably the biggest battery eater on your new iPhone is the 3G network. While significantly faster for data connections it eats battery like no other function can. So, if you’re always near WiFi for data, or don’t ever use your phone to browse the web, or simply don’t mind the slower data speeds of EDGE, then you can disable 3G. Go to: Settings (you’ll go here for all of these suggestions) -> General -> Network and turn off 3G. Your battery life just improved dramatically.
- One of the long-anticipated features of the new iPhone OS 3.0 is push notifications. Unfortunately, this is also a feature that will contribute to a quicker battery drain. If this feature isn’t important to you, here’s how to disable it: Settings->Notifications, now turn it off. If you’re using apps such as Textfree with notification, disabling this feature will cause that you are not notified when your friends text you, or when AP Mobile app needs to alert you to the death of another Hollywood star.
- Don’t ever use WiFi? Turn it off. Turning off another radio on your phone will only improve your battery life. However, don’t turn it off in lieu of using 3G, since that will be taking a step backwards in terms of battery life. If you use WiFi and are in WiFi area, then see #1 above. To turn this one off, go to Settings->WiFi and tun it off.
- Bluetooth is another radio in that device of yours using up power, albeit not much. However it is using power to scan devices in its vecinity if BT is enabled. So if you don’t use BT for anything, turn it off. Settings->General->Bluetooth.
- The final radio to disable is your GPS or Location Services. Since you can’t just disable the GPS radio you have to actually disable the service altogether. Doing so means that Google maps will no longer display your location, and any location aware app (a lot of them) will no longer be able to determine your location. However, once again, it’s another radio taking juice so if you’re main focus is a long battery then this will help. Settings->General, turn off Location Services.
- [Updated] This post really should have been the top 10 ways to save battery because undoubtedly I’ll get to 10. But here’s one that was overlooked in the original post: Dim the light. That’s right, turn down that brightness and turn on auto-bright. The light used to illuminate your screen is a big battery killer, so if you can tolerate a lower brightness then this will help eek out some battery juice. Settings->Brightness then slide the slider.
These suggestions are not for everyone, we get that, but if you’re trying to figure out how to get a little extra life out of your iPhone then surely there’s something in that list that will help. We also intentionally omitted suggestions such as limiting your call time or web browsing time and focused solely on what features of the phone could be disabled in order to extend your battery life. Furthermore, the list is not conclusive. In fact, if there’s other things that you’ve found that you can do to improve your battery life, by all means let us know in the comments.