10 ways to improve iPad battery life

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

The iPad offers excellent battery life but after so many charges, battery life invariably begins to fade. How can you extend the life of your iPad's aging battery? Let us count the ways:

1. Lower screen brightness

Apple states, "There are two simple ways you can preserve battery life -- no matter how you use your device: adjust your screen brightness and use Wi-Fi."

To adjust screen brightness, swipe up to open the Control Center and use the slider on the right to lower your screen brightness. You can also go to Settings > Display & Brightness to adjust the brightness. Also on this settings page is a toggle switch for Auto-Brightness. 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.

2. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not needed

Unless you are typing away in front of your iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard or rocking out with a Bluetooth speaker, it's likely that you can do without Bluetooth for a time. Go to Settings > Bluetooth, which features a button to toggle Bluetooth on and off.

Similarly, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and set the slider to off when you can do without an Internet connection.

Conversely, if you have a cellular-enabled iPad, use Wi-Fi when you can; Wi-Fi uses less power than a cellular connection.

Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can be also toggled on and off by swiping up from the bottom edge of your iPad's screen for the Control Center.

3. Don't push, fetch less

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, Calendars > Fetch New Data.

fetch-push.jpg
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

You can select to have data fetched for your iCloud account and any email accounts you set up with the Mail app. Choose Fetch or Manual for these accounts, and then select the frequency with which you'd like to fetch data below.

4. Limit Background App Refresh

Some apps, if you allow them, refresh their content when you aren't using them so that when you return to them, you are served fresh content, saving you from needing to pull down to refresh. Background refresh is certainly convenient, but it is also a drain on battery life.

Head to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and you can turn Background App Refresh off entirely or select which apps you'd like to refresh in the background.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

5. Keep an eye 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's battery.

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

location-services.jpg
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

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

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 and choose which apps can push notifications your way.

7. See which apps are battery hogs

iOS 9 introduced Low Power Mode but it's available only on iPhones. When your battery hits 20 percent, your iPhone will ask you if you want to enable Low Power Mode (and will ask again when you hit 10 percent). You can also enable the feature in Settings > Battery.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

On the iPad, the Battery page in settings is useful because it shows you which apps have used the most battery resources in the last 24 hours and the last seven days. If your iPad is running through battery life at a disturbingly fast pace, check here to see which apps are the cause and then quit using those apps until you can charge your iPad. For instance, I will not be playing MaddenMobile on long flights.

8. Turn off EQ

The equalizer may improve the sound of music, but it also consumes battery life. Go to Settings > Music > EQ and turn it off.

9. Climate control

Apple recommends keeping your iPad between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and points to the range of 62 to 72 degrees as the comfort zone. 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

Apple's software updates eradicate bugs and often improve performance and battery life. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to check if an update is available for your iPad.

Featured Video
Close
Drag