How To Keep Your iPhone Alive When Your Battery’s Dangerously Low

How To Keep Your iPhone Alive When Your Battery’s Dangerously Low

iOS: It used to be that when I went out late in the city, I’d play a rousing game of “How long can I keep my phone alive so I can listen to music on the way home?” I would throw my phone into aeroplane mode, turn the brightness down, and hope it would last until I made it back to my apartment.

Apple has since improved the way it handles battery life, though it doesn’t do everything it could to ensure your phone stays on. There are a few more tricks of the trade you can use to keep your iPhone alive as long as possible. Here are nine foolproof options.

Image credit: Kārlis Dambrāns

Low Power Mode Is Your Friend

When your battery hits 20 per cent (and subsequently 10 per cent) you’ll be prompted to either enable or dismiss Low Power Mode. Enabling the power saving feature will lower your screen’s brightness; disable features such as Airdrop, iCloud sync and Continuity; minimise system animations; and reduce device performance. You’ll see your battery icon change from black to yellow. When you charge your phone again, Low Power Mode will turn itself off.

If you’re already out, turn on Low Power Mode in Settings > Battery before your phone gets near the 20 per cent mark to start saving juice from the jump.

Disable Background Activity

Background activity such as notifications, downloading podcasts, updating weather forecasts, and receiving messages from apps all draw power throughout the day. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and disable the feature.

Turn Down the Brightness

Dimming your screen is an easy way to squeeze a bit more longevity out of your dying battery. Head to Settings > Display & Brightness, and from there you can futz with your device’s brightness slider. Tired of dimming your screen, only to find it bright as day when you’re outside? Make sure Auto-Brightness is off! It’s right under the brightness slider.

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Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen

Your phone, either hourly or by the minute, is probably refreshing certain apps (like Mail) in the background. A nice trick for people with full, fat batteries, but a danger to those in the red. Hit up Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data, and turn off Push. You should also set the Fetch option to “Manually” so you only get updates to your email, contacts or calendar data when you are actively looking for them.


LTE is great, but in terms of power consumption, it’s less than ideal. As a train rider, I can feel my iPhone heat up as it frantically searches for a mobile signal in between stations. To curb the heat and power draw, just disable your LTE connection in favour of the slower 4G connection. If you know you’re not going to use your mobile data, you can also turn on Aeroplane Mode.

You can disable your LTE data by heading to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Enable LTE. Turning it off will force your phone to use the slower 4G network.

Turn Off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Using a Wi-Fi connection uses less power than a traditional mobile connection, but if you’re out and about you’re probably away from any network with which you’re familiar. Bluetooth connectivity is also a liability in the power department. You can select the two connectivity options in Settings and switch them off easily.

Shorten Your Auto-Lock Time

Since your phone is just a screen, keeping it on as little as possible will save you a bit of juice. You can control how long your screen stays on when idle by adjusting the Auto-Lock setting. The shortest interval is 30 seconds, perfect for getting in and out of your phone. Head to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock and choose the 30 Seconds option.

Turn off Location Services

Turning off your location services will stop your phone’s GPS from stealing your juice, and stop other apps from accessing the feature when power saving is paramount. Head to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and flick the switch.

Embrace Aeroplane Mode

Aeroplane mode. Your last resort when power is low and you’re far from any outlets, or your first choice if you’ve already arrived at your outlet-free destination. After enabling Aeroplane Mode in the Settings, you can activate connections such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth if you need to connect to something while conserving power.