Apple has had iOS 10 available for a while now, and after it first launched there has been many complaints about iOS 10 battery life. Apple just launched iOS 10.3 and after updating I was still experiencing horrible battery life with my iPhone 6S Plus. Your experience might be slightly different, but hopefully some suggestions in this article will help improve iOS 10 battery life for you. My experience was random rapid battery drain. At times, I could have my screen on and watch the battery meter drain in 1% increments so fast that it would go down 10% in less than a minute.
If you’ve searched the Internet for ways to improve iOS 10 battery life, there are plenty of articles and suggestions out there. Some things are obvious, like streaming music and videos will always drain your battery life. I’ll offer some of the routine methods of improving your iOS 10 battery life, but I’ll start with some of the less common ways that improved it for me.
Turn Off Keychains
This setting isn’t mentioned very often when it comes to improving iOS battery life. Keychains keeps your saved passwords and payment information in sync across multiple devices by using the cloud. If you use other browsers like Chrome or Firefox for iOS, or if you only use your iOS device, then you could try turning off Keychains. You can always toggle it on again if needed. Head over to Settings > iCloud (in iOS 10.3 it is under your user setting at the top) > look for Keychain and turn it off.
Disable Auto Brightness
When it comes to battery life, sensors can play an important role. One of those is the ambient light sensor that will automatically brighten and dim your screen based on the light around you. To disable this, head over to Settings > Display & Brightness and turn off Auto-Brightness. Then adjust the brightness with the slider. You can also swipe up and control the brightness from the Control Center.
Disable Raise To Wake
Raise To Wake is a new iOS 10 feature that will turn on your screen when you raise the device. Just like Auto Brightness, this setting uses another sensor. While you’re in the Settings > Display & Brightness area, go ahead and turn off Raise To Wake.
Handoff is a feature that lets you start something in an app and continue it on another device. Only certain apps support it. If you don’t need this feature or only have one device, go ahead and disable it by going to Settings > General > Handoff and turn it off.
Disable Hey Siri
If you don’t use Siri, you can disable it completely. If you use Siri, at the very least disable the Hey Siri feature that will activate Siri every time you say “Hey Siri”. Go to Settings > Siri and turn off Allow “Hey Siri”.
Disable Wi-Fi Calling
If you have a good signal where you usually use WiFi, it’s safe to turn this off. It can cause a battery strain since it is constantly checking the network and checking in with your carrier. To turn it off go to Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling.
Check Background App Refresh Settings
Background App Refresh allows apps to use your data even when you’re not using them. Almost every app enables this by default, but it is a good idea to go through this list and turn it off for the apps that don’t need to update in the background. Head over to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and go through the list.
Disable Fitness Tracking
Another sensor that tends to be used a lot is the pedometer and fitness sensors. If you have an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or other fitness tracker, then it is recommended that you turn off Fitness Tracking on your phone since there’s no reason for it to count your steps if you have other devices that already do. Go to Settings > Privacy > Motion & Fitness and turn off Fitness Tracking.
Check Location Services
There are a number of Settings in here that are related to the GPS and location sensors. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. In here, you’ll see a list of your apps that have requested the use of your location. The first thing I check for are the apps that are set to Always. Go into those apps and see if you can change it to While Using. Some apps will offer that and others won’t. If you can’t change it to While Using, then you have to decide if you really want it to always have access to your location or not. If it is an app you rarely use, you could change it to Never, then come back and turn it on the next time you use it.
While in the Location Services, scroll to the bottom and go into System Services. You can be selective about this list, but some services use your location more than others. I usually turn off HomeKit (since I don’t use it), Location-Based Alerts, Location-Based Ads, Location-Based Suggestions, Wi-Fi Networking, Frequent Locations, iPhone Analytics, Popular Near Me, and Routing & Traffic.
Exchange Email Accounts
If you’re using an Exchange email account (work, Outlook.com, etc) in the default Mail app, you might want to try removing it and setting it up again. Sometimes Exchange ActiveSync can cause issues and re-establishing that connection can help. Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts and remove each Exchange account, then re-add them.
Wi-Fi While Traveling
I commute on a train for a few hours every day and I’ve noticed while on the train, my phone would connect to random hotspots I’ve previously connected to, like att, xfinitywifi, etc. Since I’m passing through, the phone will connect to them only for a few minutes, then disconnect as the signal weakens. Having the phone do this in combination with having Wi-Fi Calling enabled is bad news for your battery. If you know you’ll be commuting in an area with wifi hotspots you’ve previously connected to, it might be a good idea to disable Wi-Fi until you get to your destination.
If all else fails, you have a few Reset options under Settings > General > Reset. The first, and least painful, is to try Reset Network Settings. You won’t need to have a backup by selecting this option. It will reset some of your network settings and reboot your device. You’ll need to re-enter Wi-Fi passwords to re-connect to them.
If that doesn’t improve your iOS 10 battery life, you could try Reset All Settings next. Once again, this won’t erase any of your data, but it will reset all of your settings back to their defaults, including all of the changes you made above. You’ll also have to re-configure a few things like app notifications and permission requests from apps.
If all else fails, you can try Erase Content and Settings. This will restore your device to factory. Before you do this, make a backup of your device either through iTunes or iCloud. After the reset is complete, you can try restoring from your backup, but if the battery life issues continue, you should try setting it up as new and re-installing everything from scratch.
Final Thoughts To Improve iOS 10 Battery Life
Everybody has a different use for their phone or iOS device, so your mileage may vary. While troubleshooting battery life issues, it is worth trying everything mentioned in this article to rule out everything. If you need a feature, you can always turn it back on later. You could also try one of many Power Banks that have been reviewed on this site. If your battery life is still horrible, you could make an appointment at an Apple Genius Bar and they can run some diagnostic tests on your battery.
If you’ve had iOS 10 battery life issues, did any of these suggestions help improve your battery life? If so, which ones? We would love to hear your comments and suggestions in the comments below.