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8 ways to improve iPhone battery life

If your iPhone doesn't hold a charge like it used to, these tips should help you get a boost from your battery.

Screenshot by Rick Broida

Ask any iPhone owner for a wish-list of improvements and I guarantee "better battery life" will be at the top.

It just seems like there's never enough juice. That's in part because we use our phones all day, and in part because batteries just wear out over time.

That's one reason I recommend keeping a mobile charger close at hand. But there are other things you can to do squeeze more runtime from your iPhone battery.

1. Find the culprits

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Some apps are particularly power-hungry. But how you can determine the worst offenders?

Tap Settings > Battery, then wait for the Battery Usage section to load. Now check to see which apps are consuming the most juice. You can toggle between readings for the last 24 hours and last 7 days.

On my iPhone, messaging is the killer: Groupme and Apple's own Messages app were responsible for a whopping 30 percent of battery usage over the past week. (Your mileage may vary; I message a lot.)

This info may be actionable and it may not. The two aforementioned apps, for example, are ones I need. But if you discover power-draining apps you don't use often (or at all), consider deleting them -- or at least switching to browser-based alternatives. Speaking of which...

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2. Ditch the Facebook app

As if you needed another reason to say goodbye to Facebook, the social network's iOS app seems to consume more than its fair share of power. On my iPhone, it's currently responsible for 14 percent of the battery drain over the past week. Check your settings, as described above, and see if it's similarly power-hungry on your phone.

If so, and you're not ready to abandon the service altogether, there's another option: Delete the app and access Facebook in your mobile browser. You may lose a few amenities, but in return you'll keep access to the service with considerably less impact on your battery.

3. Stop auto-fetching email

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Do you really need your phone to monitor your email accounts every second of every day? That's the basic definition of "push" email, a huge battery suck.

I'm not a big fan of "fetch," either, which checks for new mail at designated intervals. My thought: When I want to check for new messages, I fire up the Mail app and check for new messages. Anything else is not only a battery drain, but also a distraction.

Try turning both of these options off. To do so, tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, then tap Fetch New Data. Turn off Push, then scroll down to the Fetch section and choose Manually.

Remember: If someone needs to reach you in a hurry, they can always call or send a text message.

4. Turn down the brightness

The battery-usage page won't tell you this, but nothing sucks up juice like the screen. Fortunately, there's an easy fix: knock the brightness setting down to 50 percent.

Your eyes may not like this at first if they're accustomed to a higher setting, but I guarantee that after an hour or so, you won't even notice the difference. You will, however, get longer battery life.

5. Selectively disable location services

Um, no thanks, Candy Crush Saga. I don't need battery-draining notifications from you.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Of course it makes sense to share your location with apps like Waze, Uber and Starbucks. But what about apps like Fooducate? GroupMe? OneDrive? I don't see any advantage to letting them collect or report my whereabouts, especially considering the hit it puts on battery life

To see which apps have this feature enabled, tap Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Then scroll down through the list. When you see an app set to Always or While Using, decide if you want that app to know your location. If not, you can change it to Never.

6. Selectively disable notifications

Same deal: Every dang app wants to notify you of every little thing all the time, but some shouldn't be allowed the privilege. Notifications not only distract and annoy, they also eat up battery.

To disable them, hit the Settings app, tap Notifications, then tap each app you don't want bugging you. Once inside the settings for any given app, slide the Allow Notifications toggle to off.

Depending on how many apps you have installed, this may take some time. If it seems overwhelming, maybe just knock out 10 per day until you've made it through the list.

7. Use a battery case

mophie-juice-pack-reserve-iphone-6.jpg

A battery case: more power, but also more weight and more bulk.

Mophie

This is an external solution, but it's the fastest, easiest path to longer battery life. A battery case is exactly what it sounds like: a case with its own power source -- basically a second, piggyback battery for your iPhone.

Mophie is one of the best-known battery-case makers; the company offers versions for all current-gen (and most previous-gen) iPhone models. The Juice Pack Reserve, for example, fits the iPhone 6/6s and adds an extra 1,840mAh of power -- effectively doubling the overall charge capacity. At this writing, it's priced at $54.95.

It's definitely a quick fix, but also a bulky one: A battery case adds both length and thickness to your iPhone. Length, because of the plug that connects to the Lightning port; and thickness, because it's a case with a battery inside. Oh, yeah: extra weight, too.

8. Install a new battery

If a battery case sounds like too many hassles, consider a new battery on the inside. Yes, cracking open your iPhone case voids the warranty, but guess what? If it's more than a year old, it's out of warranty anyway. (Unless you purchased an extended AppleCare+ plan, in which case Apple will install a new battery for you -- win!)

This option can range from as little as $10 if you do it yourself to around $80 if you go with a repair shop or service. Can't decide which one? Check out "iPhone battery replacement: DIY or hire a pro?"

Got any battery-life tips of your own to share? Hit the comments and impart your wisdom.

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