Week 7: Monitor and improve battery usage

This is Week 7 of our series: 8 Weeks of iOS 8, where we cover some basic, cool features in the new operating system for your iPhone and iPad.

Who doesn't want more from their iPhone battery, right? The biggest complaint against smartphones are their ever-draining batter life. Thankfully, iOS 8 includes a new ability to report on which apps and services are causing the most amount of drain. This knowledge then enables you to either delete the app or scale back some of its features for the sake of better battery.

To view your device battery report, go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage. After a moment, you'll see a list of which apps are draining significant portions of battery.

If you see apps in this list which you could remove from your phone, click the Home button on your phone, find the app, and delete it by holding your finger on it and clicking the X which appears over the app icon.

Now if you see apps with high battery usage, but you don't want to delete them entirely, you can go to the app's settings and turn off just a few of it's abilities. To do this, go to Settings (if you're already there, just tap the back arrow in the upper-left corner until you're at the top level), and scroll down until you find the deviant app. Select the app, and consider turning off some of it's permissions. Here are some examples of what you might find.

  • Location: The ability of that app to know where you are. This requires the use of the device's GPS, a big battery drain.
  • Notifications: An app's ability to send you sounds, pop-ups, and banner notifications. These might be useful for, say, text messages, but not so necessary for a game. I don't like being interrupted by my iPhone, so I've turned off Notifications for the majority of my apps.
  • Background App Refresh (BAR): Scotty discusses BAR in great length here. The short of it is that BAR is an app's ability to occasionally run in the background, even when you don't have it open. Sometimes, you might want this; for example, I use an app called Dark Sky which tells me when it's about to rain. This is dependent on BAR being turned on for Dark Sky. But if an app is particularly draining to your battery, this is a good feature to disable.
  • Use Cellular Data: Turning this off will not only restrict an app's ability to download information when you're away from wifi, but it will also help protect your monthly cellular data allotment. 

For more information about keeping your battery in shape, check out Scotty's Ultimate iOS Battery Guide. iOS 8's battery usage report is one step further towards giving you the tools needed to make sure your iPhone is using its battery most effectively.

Rick Stawarz

Minneapolis, MN

I am an Apple Certified Support Professional with over a decade of experience supporting families, schools, and businesses. Tech has always captured my imagination, but it's not my only passion. I'm an ordained Anglican minister;  Aeropress is a daily ritual of mine; I've driven across Mongolia; and I'm the father of three girls. I hope to provide for you a balanced and realistic perspective into the practicality of technology.