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Fact or fiction: Nine iPhone and iPad battery-saving techniques tested

James Galbraith | Aug. 15, 2013
Well, they say knowledge is power, so lets get charged up by separating fact from fiction on the subject of how to save iOS's devices' battery life.

4. Battery utilities help increase an iPhone or iPad's battery life.'

The iOS App Store is chock-full of utilities that claim to help boost your battery life. We looked at several battery apps for iOS, including Beijing Kingsoft Internet Security Software's free Battery Doctor, Philips's freeBatterySense, and Appsware's freeSys Activity Manager Lite. Most provide a similar set of data about your iPad or iPhone's battery, including an estimate of the remaining battery life under current conditions, and estimates based on your turning off Wi-Fi or ceasing to surf the Web. Most of these apps also offer tips for getting the most out of each charging cycle, though the tips seem to come from Apple's own website. So while the apps we looked at don't do anything themselves to prolong battery life, they supply valuable information that might help you do so.

5. Calibrating my battery will help preserve battery life.'

As you leave the house, you check your phone and see that you have 4 hours of battery life remaining--but 3 hours later, you run out of juice. If this has happened to you, your iPhone or iPad might need a battery calibration. Apple recommends that you periodically drain your iPhone or iPad's battery completely and then charge it until it's completely full. This process, called calibration, helps your device estimate its remaining battery life more accurately. Calibrating your battery will ensure that you know when to charge your battery, but it doesn't make your battery last longer.

6. Turning off equalization during audio playback will increase battery life.'

We found this tip on Apple's website, and a few battery utilities offer the same advice. To test its validity, we took a fully charged iPad and looped an audio playlist with equalization on and off. (To adjust equalization on your iPhone, tap Settings, tap Music, tap EQ, and choose a setting.) After 26 hours, 41 minutes, the battery of the iPhone without equalization had dropped to 84 percent. When we ran the same test with equalization on and used the iPhone's Hip Hop setting, the iPhone battery was still at 85 percent of its capacity when the test was over. So in our tests, equalization had no significant effect on battery life.

7. A battery pack will help my phone last longer.'

Apple--and other portable device manufacturers--must find a balance between a product's weight, size, and aesthetics and its battery life. Apple could make an "iPhone MAXI" that was 2 inches thick, weighed 2 pounds, and might be able to play back 20 hours of video; but the phone's heft and bulk would probably make it fatally unpopular.


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