iOS 8 Tip #6: See the Battery Usage, per App

Eight for 8, Day Six. Let’s get rolling.

I get a lot of calls asking how to prolong the battery life on iPhones and iPads, so many that I’ve written a couple of blog posts about that already: here, and also here. But iOS 8 gives us a new tool in our quest for longer battery life, and that is the subject of today’s iOS 8 tip.

iOS 8 Tip #6: See the Battery Usage, per App

If we knew which apps were eating up our batteries we’d be more careful about turning them off, or getting rid of them altogether. Now, with iOS 8, we can figure it out, because in the Settings there’s a new “Battery Usage by App” option that shows you what’s using up the juice. Just go to Settings, General, Usage, Battery Usage and wait for the percentages to be calculated.

Note: you could, if you wanted to, just kill every app but that is rather brute-force-ish. Using the Battery Usage screen lets us be almost surgical. it’s a much better way to manage things.

Here’s a picture showing the battery usage, by app, for my iPhone 5s.

Battery Usage for iPhone 5s

There’s nothing in this list that looks bad to me, as these are apps I’ve been actively using. It’s reasonable that they’re the ones that have been using up the power.

The apps that are going to steal power behind your back are the ones that do “Background App Refresh” or that use the Location Manager (such as apps that help you find coffee or gas stations or ATMs near your current location). Obviously, some apps HAVE to work in the background and some apps HAVE to use your location (and some apps have to do both: if you’re using an app for navigation, the app has to keep working even if it’s not the frontmost app, and it has to continually get your location so it can tell you when to turn). But a lot of apps simply want to work in the background, and in many cases the benefits are not as great as the costs. For example, I can’t see a big benefit in having the Stocks app, or the Weather app, refreshing themselves in the background. I can wait a second for them to update when I launch them if it’s going to save the battery.

It boils down to this: if your iPhone’s battery is draining too quickly, go to Settings, General, Usage, Battery Usage and see if you can find a smoking gun. Maybe there’s a forgotten app sucking down the power. Maybe you have an app doing Background App Refresh when you really don’t need it. Whatever, iOS 8’s Battery Usage by App screen gives you information you didn’t have in previous versions of iOS. (Click here for information on turning off Background App Refresh on an app-by-app basis.)

“Knowledge is power”– but when it comes to the iPhone, knowledge is power savings. Don’t overlook this important new feature.

And that’s iOS 8 Tip #6.

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