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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.

On the other hand, when you temporarily need a little extra battery capacity, you can turn to a host of third-party companies whose cases, while increasing your phone's weight and bulk, also extend its battery life and protect its screen from damage during a fall. One such case, the Mophie Juice Pack Plus (4.5 of 5 rating), which contains a 2100-mAh built-in battery, helped our iPhone 5 play almost exactly twice as much local video at full brightness as the iPhone could play on its own.

8. Maps and directions can seriously drain an iOS device's battery.' 

I used iOS's Maps app during my commute from my home in Walnut Creek, California, to my son's Lego Robotics camp in San Francisco's Mission district (about 25 miles away) and then to work in downtown San Francisco. This test was difficult for the app to handle, for a couple of reasons. First, the app was trying to give me driving directions while I was riding a BART commuter train. As a result, it continually had to recalculate my route based on the streets near the BART tracks. Second, my train passed through a few tunnels along the route, so my iPhone had to search for GPS while switching from cell tower to cell tower. My commute included a 2.4-mile drive, a 1.5 mile walk, and 55 minutes of train commuting. All told, the trip took me almost exactly 2 hours and ate up 51 percent of the iPhone's battery capacity. Over the same route, with Location Services on, but not intentionally in use, the battery expended just 1 percent of its capacity.

9. Airplane mode saves battery life.'

Aside from keeping the flight crew happy and their instruments interference-free, Airplane mode can help to preserve your device's battery life. That one little setting turns off multiple wireless features, including Wi-Fi, cellular antenna, GPS, Bluetooth, and location services. With Airplane mode enabled, we squeezed an extra 30 minutes of video playback from our iPhone 5--going from 5 hours, 54 minutes with Airplane mode off to 6 hours, 21 minutes with Airplane mode enabled.


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