10 ways to improve iPad battery life

Keep your iPad 2 running longer with these battery-saving tips.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott

The iPad 2 offers excellent battery life--it lasted nearly 12 hours in CNET Labs testing--but after so many charges, battery life invariably begins to fade. How can you extend the life of your iPad 2's aging battery? Let us count the ways:

1. Don't push, and fetch less often
If your iPad isn't your primary device for checking e-mail, you don't need to have new messages constantly pushed to the device or have it frequently fetch new messages. Check your mail settings to make sure push is turned off and fetch set to Manually, or, if you must, Hourly. You can adjust Push and Fetch settings by following this path: Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Fetch New Data.

Turn off push and dial back fetch to extend iPad battery life. Screenshot by Matt Elliott

2. Turn off Bluetooth
Unless you are typing away in front of your iPad 2 with a Bluetooth keyboard, it's highly likely that you can do without Bluetooth for a time. Go to Settings > General and Bluetooth will be the fourth item listed. Set the slider to Off.

Disable Bluetooth when you aren't using Bluetooth devices. Screenshot by Matt Elliott

3. Turn off Wi-Fi when not needed
If, during your morning commute, you pull "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" off of your iBooks shelf, read a locally saved copy of Sports Illustrated, or play a few rounds of Super Stickman Golf, there is no need to have Wi-Fi running. To disable it, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and set the slider to off. Turn it back on when you want get online.

Same goes for 3G on 3G-enabled iPads; turn it off unless you're using it.

4. Disable Ping
Ping, Apple's social networking music service, is enabled by default in iOS 4.3. It has been widely accused of adversely affecting battery life. To turn it off, go to Settings > General and enable Restrictions. Enter a four-digit passcode, and slide Ping to off.

You can turn off Ping by going into Restrictions. Screenshot by Matt Elliott

5. Keep an eye on GPS apps and location services
Many people claim you should force-quit out of apps, say, each night before bed. I'm lucky if I get all the dishes cleaned up before hitting the sack, so I certainly don't have the time or the energy to be closing iPad apps on anything approaching a regular basis. Plus, it has not been definitively proven to me that apps running in the background drain battery life to any great extent. I will, however, force-close Google Maps or any other GPS app, since these do seem to drain the iPad 2's battery.

Just because an app wants to know your location doesn't mean it needs to know. Screenshot by Matt Elliott

I also keep tabs on which of my apps are using location services. Go to Settings > Location Services to adjust which apps are requesting your location.

To kill four wireless birds--cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS--with one stone, simply turn on Airplane Mode, the top option listed in Settings.

6. No more notifications
Many more apps than necessary use push notifications. It's a way for developers to keep their apps from getting lost in the shuffle, I suppose, sending you a notification that may be useful or may just serve to remind you that you installed that app months ago. Go to Settings > Notifications to turn off notifications entirely or select from the list which apps can push notifications your way.

7. Turn off EQ in iPod app
On its iPod battery page, Apple states, "Turning off the Equalizer will extend your battery life." So, the same ought to be true for the iPad's iPod app. Go to Settings > iPod and turn EQ to Off.

8. Lower screen brightness
This is an obvious one, but having your iPad screen at max brightness will drain the battery faster. In fact, Apple states, "Managing the screen brightness is the best way to extend iPad battery life."

To turn down the brightness, go to Settings > Brightness & Wallpaper and adjust the slider. And unless you are frequently using your iPad at the beach or in other brightly lit environments, turn on Auto-Brightness, which adjusts the screen level based on ambient light.

9. Climate control
Apple recommends keeping your iPad between 32 and 95 degrees, and points to 72 degrees as the ideal temperature. This means keep your iPad in the shade at the beach, out of locked cars in the summer, and off of heaters in the winter.

10. Stay up to date
Sync your iPad from time to time to get Apple's latest OS and firmware updates. Sometimes, these updates can improve battery life.

Did I miss anything? If so, hit the comments with your very own battery-saving tips.

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