Your iPhone SE is a minor miracle, a pocket-sized computer that has 250 times more processing power than the original IBM PC. A real modern marvel. However, this awesome power requires a decent battery in order to keep it powered all day.
The iPhone SE is meant to have an awesome battery – the same one found in the iPhone 6. But some users have found that the battery life drops dramatically after a few short months of usage.
I’m going to tell you exactly why your iPhone SE battery drains so quickly and exactly how to fix it. I’ll explain how you can get longer battery life from your without sacrificing any useful functionality.
Battery life overview
There are 2 things to consider when it comes to battery life in your device:
- The software
- The battery itself
You would imagine that the solution to most of your battery issues would be to replace the battery with a new one. But this isn’t necessarily the case as there are loads of things you can do within the iPhone software that will lessen its impact on your battery and allow it to last longer. Having said that, keeping your battery in tip-top condition is a sensible thing to do as it ensures it charges and retains it’s charge, for as long as possible.
The software on your iPhone
The majority of battery issues are related to the software on your iPhone and aren’t caused by an issue with the battery itself. I’ll say that again. The majority of battery issues are related to the software on your iPhone and aren’t caused by an issue with the battery itself they are caused by the way your iPhone is configured.
If you follow the instructions in this article then I guarantee you will see an improvement in your battery life.
So what are the iPhone setting tweaks I would recommend so your battery lasts all day?
Tweak 1: Mail Setup
When you setup an email account on your iPhone it will automatically be configured to check for new email message constantly using ‘push’ mail. This means that the iPhone is always connecting, checking, and downloading any new messages. This process alone drains your battery massively. If you are a corporate user on Microsoft Exchange then the drain will be even greater.
So the convenience of being informed that a message has arrived on your iPhone instantly is paid for in battery life.
This method of usage makes even less sense if you are waiting for an urgent email as you probably manually check if the message has arrived in your inbox while waiting (you do this by sweeping down on your inbox). However, no matter how you configure your mail this manual method of instantly checking will always work instantly so anything urgent will appear immediately. So you are probably draining your battery unnecessarily.
So what is the best setting for your mail to preserve battery life? Well I would recommend ‘fetching’ new messages every 15 minutes instead of using ‘push’ to constantly check. To reset your mail from push to fetch:
1. Tap Settings
2. Scroll down and tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars
3. Scroll down and tap Fetch New Data
4. Click the ‘Push’ button at the top to turn it off
5. Scroll to the bottom and choose Every 15 Minutes under Fetch.
6. Tap on each email account and, if possible, change it to Fetch.
Tweak 2: Location Services
The fact that your iPhone knows where you are at all times is not just a privacy issue but a battery issue too. For example did you know your iPhone has been tracking you everywhere you go? You can imagine the excess strain this puts on your battery and the privacy implications.
The constant data gathering via GPS and cell towers causes the battery life to degrade quickly. So the good news is that you can enjoy more privacy and ensure your battery last longer at the same time. How? By tweaking the location services on your iPhone.
Before I go into the details of how to make these changes let me say that location services can be great. In some cases they are essential to ensure your apps work properly so I don’t recommend that you turn off Location Services entirely. Instead you can tweak the settings to increase battery life and privacy while still having your iPhone work properly.
How To Tweak Location Services
1. Tap Settings
2. Scroll down and tap Privacy
3. Tap Location Services
4. Tap Share My Location and switch this off.
Please note: If you want to be able to share your location with your family and friends in the Messages app, then leave this on, but be careful: If someone wanted to track you, this is how they’d do it.
5. Tap ‘Privacy’ at the top left to go back.
6. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap ‘System Services’.
7. Turn all of option off except:
- ‘Find My iPhone’ – so you can locate your iPhone if you lose it
- Motion Calibration & Distance – so you can use your iPhone as a pedometer. If you don’t use this feature turn it off as well.
8. Scroll down and tap Frequent Locations and turn it off.
9. Tap ‘System Services’ at the top left to return to the main System Services menu.
10. Scroll to the bottom and turn on Status Bar Icon. That way, you’ll know your location is being used when a little arrow appears next to your battery.
11. Tap ‘Location Services’ at the top left to go back to the main Location Services menu.
12. Scroll through all your apps and turn off Location Services for ones that don’t need to know where you are.
Notice apps that have purple or gray arrows next to them. Do these apps need to know your location to work? If they do, that’s fine – leave them alone. If they don’t, tap on the name of the app and choose ‘Never’ to prevent the app from draining your battery.
Tweak 3 :Notifications
When you install an App you are asked a question about “push notifications” which you probably tap OK for to get the message off the screen. Once the App is installed you probably never think about the notification again. However, you need to be careful about this question as you are authorizing the App to run in the background using up valuable battery power.
In some cases you may want to have the App running in order to be notified of something important – such as receiving a text message or a social media update. You need to be aware that the cost of getting instant notifications is paid for in battery juice.
It makes sense to think about which Apps you want to be able to notify you of specific important events.
How To Limit Notifications
1. Tap Settings
2. Scroll down to Notifications and tap
You’ll see a list of all your apps. Underneath the name of each app, you’ll see either Off or the kind of notifications that app is allowed to send you, which are Badges, Sounds, or Banners. Ignore the apps that say Off and take a look through the others.
As you go down the list, ask yourself “Do I want to receive alerts from this app when it’s not open?” If the answer is yes, leave everything as it is. If the answer is no, it’s a good idea to turn off notifications for that app.
3. To turn off notifications, tap the name of the app and tap the switch next to Allow Notifications.
4. Tap the switch to turn off Notifications
5. Notifications are now turned off for that App
6. Return to the Notification and repeat this for each App
Tweak 4: Background App Refresh
You may not realise this but Apps on your iPhone are downloading new content via Wi-Fi or cellular data connection in the background. They are slowly devouring your battery life and nibbling away at your data plan without you even being aware of it. You can save a significant amount of battery life and some of your data plan by limiting the number of apps that are allowed to use this feature.
How To Fix Background App Refresh
1. Tap Settings
2. Tap General
3. Tap Background App Refresh.
At the top, you’ll see a toggle switch that turns off Background App Refresh entirely. I don’t recommend you do this, because Background App Refresh can be a good thing for certain apps.
As you scroll through each app, ask yourself “Do I want this app to be able to download new information even when I’m not using it?” If the answer is yes, leave Background App Refresh enabled. If not, turn it off and you’ll be saving battery life and data usage.
Tweak 5: Disable Unnecessary Visual Effects
The iPhone has some really cool effects from the way icons and groups zoom in and out through to the impressive parallax that gives a 3D effect to the screen. The downside to these stunning visual effects is that it eats into battery life. Reducing these effects reduces the use of the power hungry graphic processing unit. In my case it also gives me motion sickness but either way it is something worth avoiding if you want your battery to last all day.
The visual effects are actually controlled under the Accessibility settings which is probably one of the last places you would think to look. However it is dead simple to turn off once you know where to go.
How To Turn Off Unnecessary Visual Effects
1. Tap Settings
2. Scroll down and tap General
3. Tap Accessibility
4. Scroll down and tap Reduce Motion
5. Tap the switch to turn it on
Tweak 6: Diagnostics & Usage Data
Did you know that your iPhone sends Apple diagnostics and usage data? Apart from privacy concerns doing so uses up precious battery life so I’d advice you switch this off.
How To Turn Off Diagnostics & Usage Data
1. Tap Settings
2. Scroll down and tap Privacy
3. Scroll to the bottom, and tap Diagnostics & Usage.
4. Tap Don’t Send to stop your iPhone from automatically sending data to Apple about how you use your iPhone.
Tweak 7: Turn Off Your Phone
Over a period of time minor issues on your iPhone may become major battery issues. After all the iPhone is a complex computer and as such technical problems can develop the longer it is on.
If you turn your iPhone off, then back on again once a week you will reset any issues caused by App bugs or crashes, iOS glitches or other related issues and start from scratch.
When you want to turn your iPhone off don’t press and hold the power key until it peers down as this is a hard reset and it should only be used as a last resort if you have a particularly serious issue. Instead you should simply turn the iPhone off.
How To Turn Off Your iPhone Properly
To power off your iPhone, press and hold the power button until “slide to power off” appears.
Swipe the circular power icon across the screen with your finger and wait as your iPhone shuts down. It’s normal for the process to take a while.
Next, turn your iPhone back on by pressing and holding the power button until you see the Apple logo.
More tweaks on the next page.
The iPhone battery
If you look after the battery in your iPhone properly then it will not degrade meaning you can use your Phone, iPad or iPod for longer without having to recharge it.
Typically, an iPhone lithium-ion battery will last for 3 to 5 years, and chances are you’re going to want to swap out your iPhone before then. The minor damage caused by, say leaving your phone plugged in all night every night, might be worth the convenience for you.
However, it is pretty easy to keep your battery healthy by following the tips listed below. Honestly, the next time you make it back home with power to spare, you’ll thank yourself for it.
Battery Life Tip 1: Keep your battery between 40% – 80% full
You may vaguely recall hearing something about rechargeable batteries and the “memory effect.” You know, that if you don’t “teach” your rechargeable batteries their full potential by taking them from totally full to totally empty, they’ll “forget” part of their capacity.
Well forget all that for the iPhone, iPod and iPad — it’s wrong.
Battery memory is a real thing, but it applies to nickel-based batteries; your Apple device has a lithium-ion battery and it needs to be treated a little differently. Specifically, it should be topped up whenever you get the chance.
To get the most out of a lithium-ion battery, you should try to keep it more than 50% charged at all times. Going from all the way full to all the way empty won’t help. In fact, it’ll do some damage if you do it often. That said, it’s a good idea to do 1 full discharge about once a month for “calibration,” but don’t do it all the time. Fully charging and discharging your battery won’t make it explode or anything, but it will shorten its lifespan.
You don’t want to have it charging all the time either as lithium-ion batteries can get overheated. Luckily for you, your charger is smart enough to help with this, and will cut your phone off for a spell once it’s full.
To complicate matters your battery doesn’t particularly like being all the way full either. In fact, your battery will behave the best if you take it off the charge before it hits 100 percent, and leaving it plugged in when it’s already full is going to cause a little degradation.
So if you’re really particular about optimizing your battery’s life, you should try to go from around 40% to around 80% in one go. A bunch of small recharges is far better than going from 100% down to 0% all the time.
Battery Life Tip 2: Keep your iPhone cool
It’s easy to worry about losing the charge on your iPhone with the lessons we have learned with old rechargeable batteries, but your iPhone has a worse enemy. Heat.
Your iPhone’s battery will degrade much much faster when it’s hot, regardless of whether it’s being used or just sitting around doing nothing.
At an average temperature of 0°C, a lithium-ion battery will lose 6% of its maximum capacity per year. At 25°C, that number jumps to 20%, and at 40°C it’s a whopping 35%.
It might not be practical to keep your iPhone in the fridge, but it is worth avoiding keeping it in hot cars and the like.
Battery Life Tip 3: Never store your iPhone with 0% charge
Obviously, using your battery is going to make it degrade. But it’s going to slowly die even if you just leave that iPad in the cupboard for a bit. There’s a trick to minimizing that inevitable aging though. Leave it a little bit of juice.
If you’re going to be shelving your iDevice for a long time, try to leave it with at least 40 percent battery power to tide it over. Lithium-ion batteries don’t hemorrhage power at 30 percent a month like nickel-metal-hydride batteries do; they’ll lose maybe five to ten percent of their charge each month.
This is because when lithium-ion batteries get too low – 0% charge – they get really unstable, and dangerous to charge.
To prevent explosion-type disasters when you do try to charge one, lithium-ion batteries have built-in self-destruct circuits that will destroy the battery for good, if it reaches rock bottom. It’s great that it will save you from a face full of battery-acid, but it’ll also leave you short 1 battery.
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Kevin Craighead is iChimp’s chief technology editor and has been covering Apple’s mobile electronics, security, privacy and the wider technology sector since 2011. He is also a highly regarded Web Designer & Developer.
With a career spanning 30 years which began doing PC support (before the internet existed), Kevin’s technical expertise and experience is highly regarded in a wide variety of fields. His well-researched work resulted in highly regarded and often cited articles such as the infamous ‘Unable to move message to trash’ error on iOS devices.