What's it about:

We love using our gadgets but we hate it when they die on us. One of the downside of idevices is that you can't carry an extra battery and pop it in when needed. Its always necessary to have the cable and a PC to plug it in. 

So what can we do to get more battery life? Here are your options:
  • Buy a wall/outlet charger: $30 (and up + shipping) for an official one from Apple or risk your device by buying a cheaper one. It will add to the bulk and you still need a power socket at your disposal. I have heard lots of horror stories regarding cheap chargers (e.g. burnt the device) so be careful. Average charging from the outlet is 23%+ faster (depending on the charger and battery condition) than charging from USB ports.
  • Buy a portable emergency external battery: $5 (and up + shipping) - some uses regular AA batteries to charge your device which will add to the original cost while some use rechargeable ones. Some users may not be happy with the amount of power it gives as most will not fully charge the device and users will also not be able to use the device while charging unless they want to play games or call with batteries dangling from their ears. There are also people having problems with the electric current provided by these chargers which may shorten the lifespan of the internal battery or worse, damage it. 
  • Buy a battery case that ranges from $30 to $100 depending on the brand. Although expensive, these products are the most convenient option as they stay with the device and protects it from scratches. Some claim to double the battery life and makes the device look more attractive. The downside is that most battery cases are bulky and some prevents proper use of the cable and headphones.
  • Adjust settings and turn-off unnecessary processes to maximise battery life: FREE! - Read on to learn how.

Example of a battery case.

So what changes can you make to lengthen the battery life? Here are some great tips.
  • The display consumes almost half the total battery life. The brighter it is, the more electricity it needs. The more pixels it has (e.g. retina display) the more juice it needs. You should always set it to the lowest brightness settings that is comfortable to your eyes. Experts say that the auto-brightness feature in the settings is next to worthless so I recommend manually adjusting it when needed. One app that can quickly do this without going into the settings menu is SBSettings from Cydia. You can read more about it by clicking here

Auto brightness is next to worthless according to experts.

  • Notifications use sound, turns the brightness up, and adds to processes. Just count how many notifications you have in a day and think about the power it needs to put each one up. Turn-off unwanted notifications. Some apps like dictionaries would pop up word of the day and others will just bug you for offers that you don't really need. Personally, I only use sound for notifications for important apps like chats and email so I can attend to them immediately. The rest are turned off or I only use badges for the ones I want to see the next time I check my device.

Turn off unwanted notifications.

  • Like notifications, apps also ask you if you would like to allow to identify your location. This might be helpful for location based services like maps, search, and social apps but for most games and utility apps, these are not really needed. This feature consumes battery and data at the same time so its worth checking if you only use it on apps that are important to you.

Do you want the app to know where you live?

  • Use less emails, fetch data less, and turn push mail OFF. Fetching data means that your device will go online and check if you have new mail or other data. The more emails you have, the more time and data it takes to update.  Also, fetching more often will use up battery life as well. Personally, I set my email fetching to manual since I usually check it manually (every 10 minutes or so) when I'm waiting for important emails and most emails I get are not important.

Turn Push mail off and fetch manually to save battery life.

  • Turn bluetooth, 3g, GPS, and wifi off when not in use. Aside from the display, wifi and bluetooth are the next big culprits sucking batteries dry. Bluetooth is not always needed and should only be turned on when connecting to other bluettoth devices such as headsets or other iphones/ipod touches. Wifi might not be as flexible as its the only way for ipod touches to get online but for iphones, it is imperative to turn it off when travelling and  use 3g for data needs. Vice versa, turn-off 3g and use wifi when it is available to not only save battery but data costs as well. If you don't need to go online or use data/GPS functions, the best way to save battery is to turn on air plane mode. This will allow you to play media and games but not apps that rely on the internet. Again, an app called SBSettings will be extremely helpful if you want a much faster way to turn these functions on and off. You can read more about it by clicking here

SBSettings is the fastest way in turning wifi, 3g, bluetooth, ande airplane mode on/off.
  • Turn off facetime function if you're not expecting people to call you. If all your friends use text and calls to contact you, it is not worth having the facetime on as it constantly on stand-by waiting for incoming video calls.

Turn this off if you don't have people contacting you through facetime.
  • Turn the EQ off. This feature uses extra processes to adjust the mp3 playback sound. You may just tweak the mp3 file itself to boost the treble or bass before syncing it to your iphone/ipod touch or simply use a better headset to get better audio quality. The earphones that came with your idevice is not really good and experts suggest to get other headsets better audio output. Also, try checking the bitrate (lower bitrate = lower quality) and the recording quality if you think the sound isn't as good as it should be.

This feature eats up battery so turn it off.
  • Use auto-lock feature and set it to the lowest time. This will make your device go to "sleep mode" when not in use which is very helpful if you use it on and off throughout the day. Be warned though, it may annoy you as some people tend to take more than a minute to think before inputting text or applying commands for games and the iphone/ ipod touch might lock itself before doing so. This can be remedied by adjusting the auto-lock feature to a higher time.

The lower the auto-lock time, the better.
  • Maintain your battery. Many useful apps such as Battery Doctor pro helps you keep the battery in top shape through reminding you to do a full cycle charge (drain the battery and charge it completely) regularly. It also has lots of features such as trickle charging, estimates of battery life, records of charging cycles, tips and more. Click here to read more about this app and its various functions.

Do a full cycle charge regularly.

  • Keep in mind that 3D games uses lots of heavy graphics that will surely be heavy on the processing and the battery life as well so try to minimise playing these games if there are no chargers available. Moreover, some 3d games make the iphone/ipod touch heat up which leads to more degradation of battery performance. Other activities like watching videos, taking photos/videos, and surfing the net also uses more battery than regular apps so avoid doing them if chargers are not available.

Good to the eyes, bad to the battery.
  • Keep it cool. Remember that iphones/ipod touches uses lithium based batteries that works best in low temperatures. Hot places like under direct sunlight or on top of the tv/cmputer for long periods of time will definitely damage the batteries' charge retention and capacity. This does not mean you should put your iphones/ipod touches inside the fridge because extremely low temperatures will also cause damage to the battery. Sudden change in temperature and humidity will cause condensation inside your device and might ruin it. Furthermore, be careful in choosing cases as some keeps the heat in (i.e. rubber cases acts as insulation) and the heat build up can be over the recommended temperature (see below).

Official recommended temperatures from Apple.

  • Use compressed files. HD videos need more processing thus draining the batteries faster than lower resolution videos. This also applies to high bit rate audio files so avoid using unnecessary high bit rates as the difference in sound output will not be noticeable in many cases. For more info on compressing video and audio for the best quality output for ipods/iphones, click here for video and here for audio.

Compressed files consume less battery on playback.

  • Don't rely on official charge and battery life times. Most of the time, the actual battery life is lower than published ones so don't fret if you don't reach them. Also, the devices are fully optimised (all other features are turned off and done under best conditions) when taking these numbers to get the optimum result. Most users are not likely to achieve these numbers as regular use require various activities and are under different environments. You can start doubting if your battery is performing less than half the published values (i.e. 2 hours of continuous internet use instead of 6). Below are official numbers for different idevices for your reference.
    • Ipod Touch 3rd Generation
      • Video playback: Up to 6 hours
      • Audio playback: Up to 30 hours
    • Ipod Touch 4th Generation 
      • Video playback: Up to 7 hours
      • Audio playback: Up to 40 hours

For some, its too late to save their batteries because of careless use while some use the older generation that already passed the battery service life. So how much does it cost to replace the battery?
  • Do-it-yourself kit - $20 (and up) + shipping cost: Fast solution (most kits are sent quickly after ordering) and cheap but needs some technical knowledge for iphone/ipod touch disassembly. Battery quality are questionable and there is a risk of more damage due to improper installation and battery failures.
  • Official Apple replacement - $60 (and up) + shipping cost: More expensive and might take longer if sent via regular mail but more reliable and comes with warranty.
Doing it yourself might be trickier than you think.

Finally, everybody loves their idevices that they use it to (battery life) death. If you consider yourself a gadget lover and wants your device to stay in their pristine state, it is imperative that you not only keep the outside condition great but the internals at their best as well. Just tweaking a few settings and following simple care will not only make your iphone/ipod touch work better and last longer, it will also save you some money and make the resale value high as well.

App Counter is an independent review blog and is not connected to Apple, the games developer, or any party that might influence the article. All rights reserved. You may contact the author at (email, YM/MSN chat, facetime).

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