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9 ways to improve battery life on iOS 11

Squeeze some extra life from your iPhone or iPad by optimising a range of apps and settings

iOS 11 promises a range of new features, improvements and the latest security settings, so for many people upgrading is an easy decision.

But with reports of some users seeing worse battery life as a result, you might be tempted to stay away. Fear not though. If you’re keen to benefit from improved live photos, the new customisable Control Center and a revamped App Store, we’ve rounded up some tips on improving battery life on iOS 11 so that if you do encounter problems, you can take steps to resolve them.

Best Buy smartphones – see which mobiles top our tests

1. Identify which apps affect battery life

Knowledge is power. Head into settings and you can see which of your installed apps has the biggest impact on battery life. Tap Settings, and then Battery. Scroll down to Battery usage. You’ll be presented with a list of apps ordered by the power they’ve used up since you turned it on. If you’re struggling for storage space, this handy tool can help you decide which apps to uninstall for good.

2. Stop apps from refreshing behind the scenes

By default, Apple’s Background App Refresh feature is turned on. Even if you minimise an app and swipe across to another, those closed apps will continue to run behind the scenes and check for updates and new content. Apple says that disabling this feature may help preserve battery life. Try disabling closed apps to see if it helps you out: go to SettingsGeneralBackground App Refresh, and tap Off. You can also select individual apps if you don’t want to send all of them to sleep.

Want to see how Apple’s iPhone family performs in our Test Lab? Head over to our Apple iPhones rated guide.

3. Manage your screen brightness

Here’s an obvious, but useful, one: lowering your screen brightness can help you get a little more from your iPhone. Turning things up to max might be handy in some cases, but it’ll hurt battery life. Auto-Brightness is automatically enabled. As the name implies, it’ll adjust the brightness of your screen based on where you’re using your phone. If you need to turn it off tap Settings, then General, then Accessibility. From there, select Display Accommodations. You’ll spot Auto-Brightness on this page.

If you have Auto-Brightness turned on and think things are a little too bright, swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open the Control Center. You can quickly adjust things from there.

4. Low Power Mode

When your iPhone is down to 20% charge, you’ll see a notification prompting you to try Low Power Mode. Turning it on will reduce the amount of power your iPhone uses up, as it adjusts the rate at which your phone scans for new emails, automatic downloads and the “Hey Siri” function. When Low Power Mode is on, the battery icon in the top-right corner of your screen will turn yellow.

Try Low Power Mode by heading to Settings, then Battery, then Low Power Mode.

5. Keep your iPhone updated

It’s still early days for iOS 11, so we expect Apple will be releasing regular updates to banish annoying bugs in the software. To make sure your iPhone is running on the latest version of iOS, tap Settings, then General, then Software Update. You’ll have to be connected to a wi-fi network and have over 50% charge to install the update.

6. Disable location services

Apps that regularly request your whereabouts can impact battery life. Try manually selecting which apps have access to this information. Head to Settings, then Privacy, then Location Services.

7. Lower torch brightness

Try changing the intensity of your torch. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen and long press the torch icon from the Control Center.

8. Airplane Mode

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you really need to keep your phone alive for a little longer and you don’t mind sacrificing lots of features temporarily, you can try Airplane Mode. Swipe up to open Control Center and tap the aeroplane symbol. You won’t be able to make calls or browse the web with this turned on, but your battery will improve.

Still struggling to make it through the day? A portable power bank can be a life-saver in a tight spot.

9. Silence Siri

Unless you tell it not to, your iPhone will constantly be listening out for when you say “Hey, Siri”. Unsurprisingly, that can see your battery life take a hit, so if you’re dealing with a slow mobile you might want to disable this feature. To do that, head to Settings, then Siri & Search. Tap Listen for “Hey Siri”.

If you’ve worked through our list of top tips and aren’t seeing any improvements, you might want to invest in an external battery pack. See which affordable options we recommend with our guide on the best portable power bank chargers for 2017.

Mobile phones with the best battery life

Not every smartphone that passes through our Test Lab impresses our experts with top-notch battery life. While our range of Best Buy smartphones can run multiple apps at once without any trouble, phones rated as Don’t Buy will have you dashing to a charging station more often than you’d like.

To see which smartphones will last you all day and then some, head over to our guide on the mobile phones with the best battery life.

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