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iOS 7 battery life problems – how to fix iPhone battery drain

Andrew Williams by

iOS 7
iOS 7

iOS 7 is a significant upgrade to the iPhone series’s software and launched with the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. But some people have found it drains their iPhone's battery faster than before

Web browsing stamina tests have shown that it’s not just in our minds, either. iOS 7 really is a more power-hungry system than iOS 6.

However, there are ways to mitigate iOS 7 battery drain. Follow these iOS 7 battery tips and tricks for better iPhone battery life.

1. Make sure you're not just using your iPhone more

If you've only just updated, consider if you're actually using your phone as you would normally. It's very common for people to use their phones far more often when they get a new one, or update the software, as they try out all the new features. If you think this is likely, give it a few days before you panic too much.

Also, immediately after you update to iOS 7, your phone will spend a fair amount of time downloading apps and photos from your iCloud backup. This can keep going on even when you don't know, particularly when you're connected to Wi-Fi. You can stop iCloud, or choose what actually get's backed up by going to: Settings > iCloud and deselecting the items you might not care about backing up.

2. Turn off Cellular Data

This is a more drastic measure when you're seriously low on power, but it's a good way to inch a little more life out. It means you won't be able to browse the internet without Wi-Fi, but will also mean apps won't access the internet in the background. Go to Settings > Cellular and select the 'Cellular Data' option. This will turn off any feature that uses the internet, though, including Siri and email.

3. Restore the phone as a new device

The most certain way to solve any true battery life problem is by restoring your iPhone as a 'new phone'. Having to reinstall apps is a pain, but this move helps to solve all manner of performance and battery life issues. To factory reset the phone from the handset itself, go to Settings > General and scroll all the way down to the 'Reset' option at the bottom.

There are options to reset all settings and reset the phone completely. The latter is more drastic, but is sure to flush out any gremlins.

4. Turn it off and on again

It’s a bit The IT Crowd, but it’s amazing how often we hear people complain about their iPhone misbehaving without even having tried to properly reset the thing. Rogue apps doing things they shouldn’t is a key reason for battery life issues in any phone, and a proper reset will fix this in many cases.

iPhones aren’t really designed to be turned off all that often – and much as we expect you know how to do it, a long press on the power button (around three seconds) brings up a power off slider that turns the phone off properly. For a ‘hard’ software reset, press down on both the Home and power buttons until the screen goes black.

5. Use the quick function toggles, a lot

Turning off additional features is the top tip of any frugal battery fiend. iOS 7 makes this much easier than ever before.

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you’ll bring up the Control Center. At the top of this pop-up is an array of five circular icons that toggle features on and off – Airplane mode, Bluetooth,Wi-Fi, Do Not Disturb and auto-rotate.

Most people barely use Bluetooth – switch that bad boy right off – and turn Wi-Fi off when out and about unless you really need it. iOS 7 intermittently searches for new Wi-Fi networks, which is a drain on the battery.

6. Turn down screen brightness

As standard iPhones use automatic brightness, taking readings from an ambient light sensor on the phone’s front to determine how bright the IPS screen’s backlight need to be. However, you can still manually determine the base level of brightness while still using this clever sensor.

You’ll find the slider (and the auto brightness toggle) in the Wallpapers & Brightness menu of Settings, and also in the Control Center menu, accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

7. Turn off AirDrop

AirDrop is one of iOS’s brand new features. It lets iPhone and Macs talk to each other directly, using Wi-Fi Direct.

It’s a neat idea, but it drains battery by searching for nearby iPhones. In iOS devices that support the feature, you’ll find an AirDrop toggle in the Control Center pop-up menu, accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

8. Turn off elements of the Notifications menu

Another new bit in iOS 7 is the pull-down notifications menu. As well as new emails, texts and so on, it can pull in stock market info.

This requires the phone to pull it from the net, so it will drain a wee bit of battery. Plus, who really wants stock market info anyway?

To turn off stock info within the Notifications bar, go to Settings > Notification Center. Here you’ll find toggles for calendar info, reminders and the stock ticker.

9. Ease up on Mail notifications

Push email is one of the joys of the modern smartphone, but easing up on the frequency of email checks will reduce strain on the battery.

For the best battery stamina of all, turn off push emails and make the iPhone only search for new data when you manually search. You’ll find these options in Settings > Mail > Fetch New Data. Alternatively, you can set iOS 7 to search for mail every hour, every 30 minutes or every 15 minutes.

10. Invest in a desk dock charger or power case

So simple it seems almost offensive to mention it, but charging your phone more often is a must with iOS 7. However, the key to this is making it easier to do so. We recommend investing in a desk charger dock if you work in an office, as it’ll make keeping your phone charged much less of a pain.

Belkin makes a lovely-looking Lightning port charger dock that costs around £24 (search for 'Belkin Lightning dock' on Amazon), and will take an iPhone or iPad. Alternatively, if you can splash out a bit more and want a dock for the bedroom, the dinky Philips D3205 speaker dock - £80 from the Apple Store – is well worth a look.

Alternatively you can buy a case that has it's own battery to supplement that of the iPhone's. This can double battery life, but does come at the cost of keeping that svelte iPhone design. The Mophie Juice Pack is one such case and costs around £70.

In short…

Apple is likely to improve battery efficiency of iOS 7 in future updates. However, it does appear to be simply a more power-hungry than iOS 6, requiring a bit more careful use if you want your phone to last more than a day.

Next, read our top iOS 7 tips and tricks

Go to comments

Idon't Know

September 20, 2013, 2:12 pm

Also turn off background app refresh for apps that don't need it


September 20, 2013, 3:41 pm

AND just generally turm off apps you're not using - On iOS7 so this by:
Double tapping the home button, hold the 'screen shot' version of the app (in the middle of the screen) and push it up off the screen. The app is now off.
NB: This is just like you used to do the following on iOS6 - double tap the home button - hold the icon of the app until wobbles, click the 'x' in the top corner to close the app.


September 20, 2013, 6:27 pm

My battery drained from over 95% to 1% overnight. I had already turned off Bluetooth, and turned off background apps.
Trying all the tricks listed above now.


September 21, 2013, 7:55 am

Upgraded to iOS7 ....... Now have over 3,000 emails which I can't clear and have to wait 20 seconds after typing something for it to show what I've written. Everything is sooooo slow !! Any ideas ??????

robert wakeford

September 21, 2013, 8:01 am

Some great tips.. I upgraded my iPhone 4 this morning and only after a couple of hours use I'm having to recharge. I hope that your tips work, otherwise my iPhone 4 will no longer be useable,

Mike Hall

September 21, 2013, 9:05 am

My phone had 100% charge at 8.30 this morning. By 10am, having gone for a run, it was down to 39%. That's scandalous.

Owen Hamilton

September 21, 2013, 11:03 am

I have an iPad 4 with iOS 7, I did all the above and if I was reading a book, turned on Airplane mode then turned it off when using Safari, it drained just as quick either way

Neil Richardson

September 21, 2013, 1:15 pm

So basically do the stuff you'd do with any OS on any smartphone?


September 21, 2013, 2:07 pm

Guys, I thought my battery was dying to: started and 100% and went down to 97% in a matter of minutes, the same thing happened the day before, when in a matter of hours went from 100% down to 52%. This morning I decided to turn off the phone and when I turned back on, surprise 100% is back (when it was 96% when turning it off) and has stayed at 100% for a long time now without using the phone. At this point I am tempted to believe is a problem with the applet that updates the percentage and not that we are really loosing battery. Either way give it a try a let us know. No change in settings helped on any event, the battery continue draining even if turning off everything.


September 21, 2013, 2:27 pm

Here is what I found to be of some help with the battery issue. While battery drain is the only problem I have come across this what I did to correct the issue. Turn on vevo app and let it play video until the battery was completely depleted , you'll have to monitor it when the phone gets to 20% and then again at 10% after that let go until it shuts itself off. Give the phone about 20 to 30 minutes for the battery to cool a bit then charge it for 3 to 4 hours. Just leave it alone and let it do it's thing without checking it progress and things should be better. Hope this is helpful as it seams to be working for me !


September 21, 2013, 9:23 pm

Turn on reduce motion Settings>General>Accessibility. Go through your location services and turn off everything you don't need or want. Turn off background app refresh. Settings>General>Background app refresh. Leave your wifi off and turn on when needed or at home. Regularly close apps you aren't using. Simples. Made my battery life the same as before.


September 22, 2013, 5:13 am

On my Ipad 2 (wifi) when I left it overnight there would be usually 0% battery loss but now when I get up and check it's usually down 4 or 5%. I have turned off all the usual suspects. Wishing I hadn't upgraded.


September 22, 2013, 10:39 am

Due to battery issues I have used a 'backup' battery case for my iphone 5 for almost a year. This has worked fine and acts as a cover and with the press of a button will recharge, almost doubling the life. This was a great purchase but since updating to IOS7 it no longer works. When I now switch on I get the message 'not a supported apple product' and it just switches off. Hopefully a future release will resolve this, if not it may be time to move away from apple as the battery life is not sufficient for someone wanting to use the phone as a personal / business device. Any suggestions appreciated but also worth noting re the suggestion above and the Belkin lightning dock, has this been tested to ensure it works?

Paula A

September 22, 2013, 5:33 pm

my ipad forced me to upgrade to ios7. now it is totally useless. Nothing is working battery has drained from 100% to 79%. Apps will not close. Settings will not change. It keeps going into sleep mode even if using it. I'm so frustrated.

John T

September 23, 2013, 1:45 am

droid is in my future mot max or something cause this is crazy and I don't even use my I phone hard!


September 23, 2013, 10:08 am

This is NOT a solution, Turn everything off/down and get a desk charger ? Pfttt i hope you dont get paid for this...


September 23, 2013, 10:16 pm

I have to agree with the other comments here. This is supposed to be a mobile phone. What am I supposed to doi if I have a day in the city, travelling by train and from meeting to meeting?? My phone will be useless.
Leaving aside better customer alignment and understanding that we'd rather have reliability rather than gimmcks, (and a battery that lasts at least a day!!!), Apple could help considerably by offering removeable batteries, and provide the option to purchase spare battery(s) to at least suggest they understand portability. Desk chargers etc are REALLY not the answer here!!


September 24, 2013, 1:06 am

I don't know what you all are complaining about - my battery life is BETTER than iOS 6!


September 24, 2013, 3:58 am

None of these adjustments make a blind bit of difference to the severe battery drain on my iPhone 5. Sure they may save the odd minute here and there but they don't make any great inroads on the almost three hours less usage time I'm getting. Apple need to send a patch and fast!


September 24, 2013, 2:15 pm

After doing what is in this article... I went from 15% drain in 6 hours to 6% in 15 hours!!!!


September 25, 2013, 12:54 am

This is more than a bit crap. I upgraded on the assumption that this was a good idea, but haven't noticed anything that seems like an improvement, and the battery drain seems really bad. Are the changes more than gimmicks? If it is polling for updates (typically to apps) it doesn't need to do it so often as to be a battery drain...


September 25, 2013, 2:45 am

My Iphone 5 with the new ios7 is draining battery like crazy - I will try all the tips - but what's the point of having all these new apps and software if you have to turn them off because of the battery? Also my charging cord, which worked perfectly before is not working now with this upgrade??? Love the new software thought - when the phone is not dead ofcourse!


September 25, 2013, 3:26 am

A full reset ie contents and settings completely sorted everything out for me.

It was a real pain but well worth it in the end.

Anonymous User

September 25, 2013, 8:26 pm

With iOS 7, now my iPad will only charge if I plug it in and leave it alone. Using it while plugged into the charger still drains the battery. And no, it's not an old device. Brand new, current model as of about 7 months ago. Nothing about the new iOS makes any sense.


September 27, 2013, 2:13 pm

Strange. After upgrading my iPhone 4S to iOS 7 it almost seems my battery life has increased!? The new plain and flat look I don't like so much, but the increased battery life I get makes it all worth it. So actually I'm kind of happy with this. But it's then strange hearing of this report saying the opposite.

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