Many iPad and iPhone owners like myself have always wondered about this but are often too lazy to find out, how to maintain iPad and iPhone battery life and lifespan? In this article, I will list down everything you need to know about your iPad and iPhone battery, from proper charging method to ways to extend the battery life of your iPad and iPhone.
Let me be clear from the beginning by clarifying the definition of Battery Life and Battery Lifespan. They are different.
Battery Life: The total amount of time the battery can last to run an iPad or iPhone from a single full charge. (Measuring Unit: Hours)
Battery Lifespan: The total amount of time the battery can last before it needs to be replaced. This is based on the number of charge/discharge cycle the battery is capable of to retain more than 80% of its original capacity. (Measuring Unit: Charge Cycle)
The battery that runs on all iPads and iPhones are rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer battery. These batteries have a high power density which allows long battery life in light package. Unlike the older generation nickel-based batteries where you need to fully discharge the battery before re-charging it, Lithium-ion battery works best if you recharge it whenever convenient without requiring a full-charge and discharge cycle.
One charge cycle is defined as charging the Lithium-ion battery from 0% to 100% charge and then discharging it back to 0%. For example, if you charge your iPad battery from 50% to 100% and then use it to browse the internet for half a day, discharging the battery back to 50%, that is only counted as half charging cycle. If you recharge the iPad battery from 50% to 100% again the next day and use it to 50% battery level, it will then be counted as one charge cycle, not two (50% -> 100% -> 50% -> 100% -> 50%). So, it may take several days for one charge cycle. A properly maintained Apple iPad battery is designed to last for at least 1000 charge cycles before it will only hold 80% or less of its original capacity. That is equivalent to 2.74 years of battery lifespan assuming one charge cycle per day. On the other hand, a properly maintained Apple iPhone battery is designed to last for at least 400 charge cycles before it will only hold 80% or less of its original capacity or requires battery replacement, equivalent to 1.09 years of battery lifespan assuming one charge cycle per day.
So how often should I charge my iPad and iPhone?
Like mentioned above, Lithium-ion battery works best if you recharge it whenever convenient. It is important for the electrons in a Lithium-ion battery to move around occasionally. Charge it whenever you have time regardless of the battery level. A 4-hour charge should be sufficient to charge your iPad and iPhone from 0% to 100% level.
Monthly Full Discharge and Charge Cycle
Apple do recommend that for proper reporting of the battery’s state of charge, at least one full charge cycle should be achieved per month, which is to charge the battery to 100% and then completely running it down to 0%. This step is especially important for people who seldom use their iPad or iPhone and could not achieve one complete charge cycle a month. Tap here to add a reminder to your iPad or iPhone Calendar to perform a monthly Full Discharge and Charge Cycle.
Battery Charging Stages
If you pay enough attention when charging your iPad or iPhone, you will most probably noticed that it reaches about 80% level quickly in the first 2 hours and slowly reaches 100% in the next 2 hours. This is a standard charging characteristic of a typical lithium-ion polymer battery where the first 2 hours is the Fast Charge Stage while the second 2 hours is the trickle charge stage as shown in the chart above.
Temperature plays a very significant role in both battery life and lifespan of your devices. The iPad and iPhone are designed to operate at temperature between 0 – 35 degC while ideal operating temperature is at 22 degC. Using your iPad or iPhone at temperature above 35 degC will permanently reduce its battery lifespan or could even damage it. The damage is even worse if you are charging the battery at temperature above 35 degC. Even storing your iPad or iPhone in hot environments can potentially damage it permanently. Therefore, DO NOT KEEP YOUR iPAD OR iPHONE IN THE CAR UNDER THE HOT SUN. If you noticed that the device temperature increases significantly as you’re charging it, remove it from its case to let it cool better naturally while charging. On the other hand, the battery life will decrease temporarily when using it in very cold environment (about 0 – 10 degC) but will not permanently reduce battery lifespan. Battery life can be improved when you use the warmth of your hands and body to heat up the device when using it in very cold environment.
Charging with PC or Laptop
The best and fastest way to charge your iPad and iPhone is by using the USB power adapter supplied together with your device during purchase. However, you can also charge your iPad and iPhone with a USB connection to a high power USB port of a Laptop or PC but at a slower pace. When connected to a standard USB port, it might show the ‘Not Charging’ sign on the iPad, but it is actually charging very slowly and works better when the iPad is in sleep/standby mode. Make sure that the Laptop or PC is turned on when connected to your device because when the Laptop or PC is shutdown or in sleep mode, they will actually drain the battery out from the iPad or iPhone.
Charging iPhone with iPad Charger and Vice Versa
Official answer from Apple is Yes, you can charge your iPhone with an iPad 10W/12W Charger. Although the power rating is doubled of that 5W iPhone charger, the internal charging circuit on the iPhone will only take the amount of electrical current it needs for the battery. Furthermore, charging the iPhone with an iPad charger takes shorter time to get it fully charged. On the other hand, if you use a 5W iPhone charger to charge your iPad, it will take longer time to get the iPad fully charged.
iPhone Only Usage Statistics
The iPhone offers a Usage Statistics that helps owners understand the battery life of their iPhone. This statistical data is accessible under Settings -> General -> Usage -> Time Since Last Full Charge on the iPhone. Usage means the amount of time the iPhone is awake and in-use since the last full charge. This includes activities like phone call, text messaging, web browsing, video playback and music playing. Standby means the total amount of time the iPhone has been powered on since the last full charge, including standby time.
How to Maximise Battery Life
The battery life of an iPad or iPhone is dependent on how the device is being used and we have included a few tips below to help maximise the battery life so that you can use your device longer on a single charge.
- Brightness Adjustment: The LCD display on the iPad and iPhone takes up most power from the device battery and adjusting the brightness accordingly helps greatly to maximise battery life. Make sure that the Auto Brightness function is turned On. Brightness settings can be accessed under Settings -> Brightness & Wallpaper -> Auto-Brightness. Remember the rule of thumb, under very bright condition, you need very bright display in order to see the screen and oppositely under very dark condition, you need very low brightness. Turn off the Auto-Brightness function and reduce display brightness manually using the slider to save battery life under extreme need for power.
- Update to the latest software: Apple Engineers are continuously studying ways to lower battery consumption on the operating software (iOS) level and updating to the latest software running on your iPad and iPhone ensures that the latest method to lower battery consumption are implemented on your iPad and iPhone. To update your iOS, go to Settings -> Software Update and make sure you are running the latest iOS. If not, tap on the Download & Update button to update your device to run the latest operating system software.
- Minimise the use of location services: Location services are used by location based apps like Maps, Reminders, Camera, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc to determine your present location. This function takes up battery life and managing it properly will help reduce unnecessary use of power from your iPad and iPhone. To manage Location Services, go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services and turn OFF location services on apps that you think do not benefit you with location services function. For example, you do not need location services to be turned on for News App, Magazine Apps, Games App, etc. Turn them off to save power. On extreme case where you absolutely need power on your device, just turn OFF the entire Location Services function of your iPad or iPhone. But do remember that by doing that, you will lose the GPS function on Maps to determine your actual location. Also remember whenever you download a new app, the below screen will pop-up when you launch the app. Make it a habit to spend a few seconds to think if you really need the location services on that app and if not, just tap ‘Don’t Allow’ and that’ll save you some power. Don’t worry, if you ever need to turn the function On again, you can always do so in the Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services section.
- Lock the iPad & iPhone when not in use: As mentioned earlier, the LCD display consumes most of the power on the iPad and iPhone. By locking the iPad or iPhone, it will turn off the screen when the device is not in use and therefore, save battery life. The iPad or iPhone can be locked by pressing the Standby button whenever not in use or putting on that Smart Cover to lock that iPad screen when not in use. To set a time interval for automatic locking of the device, go to Settings -> General -> Auto-Lock and set a shorter time like 2 minutes.
- Turn Off Wi-Fi & Cellular Data: When not in use, turn these functions off to save battery life. This is specially important for devices like the iPhone and the Cellular model iPad as using Cellular function (3G function) to access to the internet drains the battery quickly compared to using the Wi-Fi function. It is also important to know that the battery life decreases quicker when using Wi-Fi or Cellular connection under low or no coverage area as the device tries harder to maintain wireless connection with the network. Therefore, it is wise to turn off the Wi-Fi and Cellular function and not use the device to access the internet under low coverage areas to maximise battery life. A quicker way to turn off both Wi-Fi and Cellular function is to Turn On the Airplane Mode under Settings.
- Turn Off Bluetooth: Bluetooth when turned on will consume power. Remember to switch it off whenever not in use. To switch off the bluetooth function, go to Settings -> General -> Bluetooth or Settings -> Bluetooth.
- Turn Off Push Notifications: Push notifications are alerts that you get when new events or data comes in to your iPad and iPhone. Applications that uses push notifications extensively (such as instant messaging apps) may impact battery life. To extend battery life and disable push notifications, go to Settings > Notifications and disable notifications for Apps that you don’t need the notification function.
- Turn Off Push Mail: Some email services like Yahoo! Mail and Microsoft Exchange support Push Email where they automatically push new emails to your iPad or iPhone as they come in to your mailbox. Disabling push mail can extend battery life, although not as significant as other steps discussed. If you really need to squeeze out every drop of the juice from that battery, turn off push mail and let the iPad or iPhone fetch mail instead. To turn off push mail, go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Push to Off.
- Less Frequent Email Fetch: Another method the iPad and iPhone gets email into the device is by scheduled fetching. To extend battery life, select a less frequent fetch schedule. Instead of fetching for new emails every 15 minutes, set it to fetch every hour, unless reading email timely is extremely important to your work. If you want to go to the extreme side of this, you can set the fetch to ‘Manual’, where you will need to manually launch the Mail app and pull or tap on that refresh button to get new mails to your device. If you forgot to do that, no new email will be delivered to your device. To set email fetching schedule, go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars and select the Fetching Schedule under the Fetch section.
Long Term Storage
If the iPad or iPhone will not be used for at least 6 months, Apple recommends that you store your device at 50% battery level. If you store a device when it’s fully discharged, it could fall into a deep discharge state, which renders it incapable of holding any charge in the future. Conversely, if you store it fully charged for an extended period of time, the battery may experience some loss of battery capacity, meaning it will have a shorter life.
Battery Replacement and Disposal
Rechargeable batteries has a finite number of charge cycle before it needs to be replaced. Apple recommends that you replace your iPad and iPhone batteries by Apple Authorised Service Provider. Apple and its authorised service providers will ensure the spent battery is recycled properly as batteries should always be recycled or disposed separately from household waste. Your iPad and iPhone one year limited warranty covers replacement of a defective battery. To find an Apple Authorised Service Provider, click here.
We hope this article helps you in understanding your iPad and iPhone battery better and assist you in extending the battery life of your device. If you have any more tips and tricks on how to properly maintain the iPad and iPhone battery, let us know in the comment section below.