The natives are restless in the Internet universe with complaints that the huge splash made by the iPhone 4S and Siri is being sullied by complaints that Apple’s new smartphone can’t last the day without recharging. For experienced iPhone users, this is nothing new. Both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 experienced battery issues after OS updates which prompted Apple to hunt down several bugs causing the issue and fix them fast.

iPhone users employing the new 4S should remember that it’s far more powerful thanks to it’s dual core processor and a bevy of new features. But with these new features there may be a bug that’s guilty of skimming battery power, or new features like SIRI and location based reminders are simply causing a new paradigm that users have to get used to.

Additionally, when activate your new iPhone, it is usually set with everything active by default. That means location services, bluetooth, notification center, and a host of other features which aren’t really vital to the iPhone experience and contribute to draining your battery throughout the day.

As such, here’s a list of 10 services that can be disabled to extend your battery life:

Disable Bluetooth


Unless you use a bluetooth headset, or type with a bluetooth enabled keyboard, you really don’t need this turned on.  So head over to settings > general > Bluetooth  and disable it.

Disable Location Services

Location Services is essentially the GPS of your phone that interacts with your various apps. Some, like your maps are important while others – like the camera – are not and are even wise to turn off. So by going into your location services, you can pick and choose what apps need to have access to the GPS and what doesn’t. Additionally, users which have location based reminders enabled will get a reminder any time they are near a particular location. That’s a great idea, but unfortunately, it keeps your GPS pinging all the time looking for a location and that will kill your battery. So head back into Settings, choose Location Services, and disable everything you don’t need. Then choose “System Services” and Location based iAds.

And since you’re in System Services, there’s a few other things that contribute to the drain including Diagnostics and Usage, Setting Time Zone automatically, and traffic.

Disable Time Zone Adjustment

If you don’t do a lot of traveling, then this one’s a no brainer.  Settings > Location Services > System Services > Setting Time Zone to OFF

Disable Diagnostic & Usage Reports

These reports are used by the iPhone when it “calls home” every night and helps Apple to refine the OS and improve performance.  But you really don’t need to opt into it if you’re concerned about privacy or want to save your battery.  So, in addition to turning this feature off in System Services above, another place to disable is in Settings > General > About > Diagnostic & Usage > Don’t Send.

Disable Traffic

In Location Services under System Services, you will see an obtuse option called “traffic.” Apple employs “Crowd Sourcing” here by taking a user’s location data and incorporating it into in their Maps feature to determine traffic flow. The more people who use it, the more accurate the traffic map is. But it also means you’re being followed and it’s draining your battery. So turn it off.

Disable Notifications & Apps in Notification Center

Notifications Center is nice, in that you get notified of emails, calls, messages, etc. as they happen. But it also drags down your battery life. So if you really don’t care about it, you can shut it off.  Head back to Settings > Notifications > and choose all or none.

Disable Ping

If you have no idea what PING is, you’re not alone.  It’s a social network for music which Apple hoped would take iTunes to the next level, but it’s gone over like a lead balloon.  iPhone and frankly, it’s a drag on your services and you’re battery life. There are plenty of other options including chatting via Facebook app, Facetime, etc.  So, go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions > Ping > OFF

Manually check your email

If anything spelled convenience more on an iPhone other than push data for email, I don’t know what it is. And having to check your email automatically every few minutes not only drains your battery, but it also leaches off your data caps. This can be pricey if you’re traveling out of the country. Checking your email manually when you have the mind to is a far more frugal to get your mail. So, back to Settings> Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data > Push> Off.  Notice that you can also refine your search to check every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or hourly.

Lay off Siri

If you’re noticed that your battery is dying, it may be because you’re having way too much fun with the iPhone’s favorite toy – SIRI. Siri is a great voice activated digital assistant that can read you your email, set reminders and appointments, and even search the internet for you. But most just love to query Siri with silly requests like “open the podbay doors, Siri” just to see how it will respond. Granted, as time goes on, Siri won’t have to deal with such tedious and juvenile requests in favor of real queries. But in the meantime, we suggest you only use Siri when you really need to. That’ll save you data and battery life.

Disable iCloud



Next to SIRI, iCloud is THE killer app and one you may want to keep on. Why? iCloud gives you a reliable backup of all media, apps, and data. So if something goes awry, your contacts, calendars and other data are safe.  It also gives you Find My iPhone if the phone gets lost or stolen. And it’s ability to push photographs recently taken up to the cloud and to your other devices is a very clever backup utility for those Kodak moments.

But if you’re in earnest to eek out every minute of battery life, go to Settings > General > iCloud > Turn everything to OFF. Additionally, some users have reported that iCloud can get stuck, constantly trying to sync even though it can’t really connect to do so. And that kills the battery fast. If you suspect that is the case, deactivating iCloud. If your battery life gets dramatically longer, then that may be a sign it’s time to reset your iCloud account from scratch.

Going Forward

The only thing culprit that can be left as a battery life vampire is a bug in the OS.  And the good news is that according to recent reports, Apple has an update planned to iOS 5 which will fix whatever is draining the battery.  The update will be out in a few weeks.  Until then, these steps should get you at through the day.










James DeRuvo