Tips and Tricks – Battery Life in iPads and iPods

28 May
English: iPhone 3GS (left) and iPad 2

English: iPhone 3GS (left) and iPad 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the next few weeks I intend to publish a few tips to help everyone get the most out of their iPads, iPhones, and iPods.  The tips are meant for the newer users, but they are things that all users should keep in mind to get the best performance from their devices.  Today we are talking about batteries, with a few simple tips to keep your battery healthy as long as possible.

Battery Lifespan –

Battery Lifespan refers to how long a battery will last in your device before it needs to be replaced.  Hopefully you’ll get several years, but  if you want to get the maximum lifespan out of your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch batteries, here are a few tips:

  • Run down your battery and recharge – If you want to get most life out of your battery, you need to run it down completely, before recharging it.  You don’t have to do this every week.  Once a month should be enough.  I don’t particularly want to go into why this is so, but you can read more about  your device’s Lithium-ion polymer batteries in this Apple article.
  • Keep your device out of hot places.  Operating your device at too high a temperature can permanently damage the battery’s capacity, which means it won’t hold charge for very long. The optimum operating temperatures for the iPad are 0 – 35  ℃ (32 – 95 ℉), with 22 ℃ being the ideal, but in our Queensland summers, it might be difficult to find a room in our own homes within those temperatures.  Just do the best you can.  Don’t leave the device in your car, in the sun or prop it up in any overly warm area in your home.  An iPad trip to the beach is probably wrong on many levels.
  • Update to the latest software – When you connect to your PC or Mac, check the updates section of iTunes for any updates.  You can also check for and install updates from your Settings app.  Go to Settings>General>Software Update.  Make sure you have backed up your device before installing any updates.  Software updates usually make the device run more efficiently.
  •  Make sure you have always charged your device before storing it.   Fully recharge the battery before using it after storage.
  • Do not overcharge your iPad.  Don’t leave it on charge overnight as it only takes a couple of hours to charge.  Leaving devices on chargers too long will also add to your household electricity bill.

Battery Life

Battery Life refers to how long your device’s battery will last before you need to recharge it.

    • Use Wi-Fi instead of 3G

where you can, as this takes less battery power.

  • Turn off Wi-Fi – If you are not intending to use the Internet, turning off Wi-Fi will save power.
  • Turn off push notifications – Many Apps use Apple Push Notification Service to lend you messages.  An example is the Facebook App, which sends notifications for messages and posts to your wall.  Apps that use this service can decrease your battery power.  To turn them off, go to Settings>General>Location Services and switch to disable or select no sound from the options available.  You can also choose to turn off selected Apps from this service.
  • Adjust the brightness – Although your device is probably set to Auto-Brightness, you can manually lower the brightness via the Settings App.  This is useful in low-light settings, where lowering the brightness may make the screen more comfortable. I’ve found that the Auto-Brightness often leaves the screen too bright in dim lights anyway.
  • Lower the volume –   Use the volume switches on your device to lower the volume.  The Side Switch can be set to Mute your iPad by going to Settings>General and scrolling down, however I prefer to use it for screen lock.  You can also use the Settings App to turn off sounds such as keyboard clicks and alerts by going to Settings>General>Sounds.  Use App preferences to lower or turn off background music, sound effects and other sounds.  Most Apps have Settings or Option controls on main menu screens, and some have volume controls.  Some Apps, such as Paint My Wings, have their sound controls in their App preferences in the Settings App. (Adjusting volume will not only extend your battery life, but will make you more popular in public spaces)

Using Power

Some Apps are a little more hungry than others and will chew up your battery life faster than others.  It has to do with how much processing power they need.   The more numbers your device has to crunch, the more power it will use. Apps with simple screens and not a lot of animation or sound, such as a web browser or a crossword game, will be at the light end of the spectrum.  Movies  will use much more because of their continual change of screen and the sound effects, as will games that have lots of movement on the screen.  If your device is running a little low on battery power and you want it to last a bit longer, dim the lights, lower the volume and avoid the videos.

Related articles

The articles below have more tips for looking after your device’s battery and are well-worth a read.

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