iPhone hack: How to boost battery life and save on your energy bills

Always charging your iphone? We show you the hack to make your battery last longer and keep energy bills low

Woman connecting cable to cell phone
(Image credit: Getty images)

Right now, we’re all doing everything we can to keep energy bills low, this includes cutting back on how many times your phone needs charging. 

A simple trick gives you more from your iPhone, lessens the need to shell out on an expensive new handset and will lower electricity costs.

That dreaded moment when your iPhone screams at you that it’s low on battery as the bar at the top of the screen goes red can not only be an inconvenience but can lead to more serious consequences if, say, you’re relying on it when out and about to pay for something, or simply to get home. 

Many iPhones users complain about poor battery life in comparison to some other phones but we’ve a trick courtesy of our friends at Tom’s Guide to keep it lasting longer. 

As well as the obvious convenience of a longer battery life, it can mean you save a lot of money in the long run by not having to pay to repair or replace your battery, or even to get a new handset earlier than you may otherwise have done, as over time the battery can degenerate. 

In addition, with energy bills so high right now anything you can do to cut down on the number of times you need to charge your phone will make a difference, and prolonging your battery life will mean there is less need to charge it. 

Of course, each charge of the phone isn’t a huge cost in its own right but it all adds up over time, and we’re all looking to save money on energy at the moment (to help on that front, see our top tips to save on gas and electricity guide. While we’re talking money, also see ways to cut the cost of your mobile phone Sim too.

The iPhone hack to boost battery life

There are many ways some of you may already know to prolong your battery such as turning the brightness down, putting it on low power mode or turning off location services (if you didn’t, we hope these will help too).

But what a lot of people won’t necessarily know is that turning off a setting called Background App Refresh can also give you a lot more juice.  

The principle is that if it’s left on then, according to Tom’s Guide, apps can constantly refresh in the background to keep them up-to-date even when you think they’re not in use, which will drain your iPhone’s battery.

Examples of what your phone is doing when the facility is switched on is for social media apps to preload posts, currency apps to prep the latest rates, media apps prepare the latest articles so they’re ready when you open them and much more. 

By turning off Background App refresh you will therefore lose some convenience so it’s up to you on what you deem to be more important. 

You may be less concerned about battery life when at home or when you are within easy reach of a charger, though do remember every charge costs you more in electricity. 

Yet when out and about seriously consider switching it off, as well as employing other tricks to save on battery life, especially if you will be reliant on your iPhone.

How to turn off the iPhone Background App Refresh function

While writing this article we tried it and it only took a few seconds. As Tom’s Guide explains, all you need to do is go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh > Off

Even the iPhone itself gives it away when it says under the on/off button: “Turning off apps may help preserve battery life.” 

You can also choose to only use the facility when connected to Wifi or choose on/off for each app. Naturally, the more apps you leave it on for, the more it will eat into battery life. 

Tom’s Guide adds that the feature is automatically turned off if you put your phone into low power mode. And we can vouch for that having tried it ourselves.

Guy Anker
Content & Operations Director

Guy has extensive experience in personal finance journalism having joined The Money Edit after 13 years at MoneySavingExpert.com, most recently as deputy editor, and working closely alongside Martin Lewis. 

He has also worked at the Daily Mail as a personal finance reporter and his work has appeared in The Sun, Guardian, Observer, Mirror and other national newspapers. 

As a money and consumer expert, Guy is a regular guest on TV and radio – appearing on BBC News, BBC Radio 4, Sky News, ITV News and more. 

Guy also often speaks at events and appears on personal finance discussion panels. He has also been a judge for numerous industry awards. 

When he is not working on helping the public save money, he thinks he's a good bargain-hunter, whether by haggling on his broadband bill or spending hours researching the cheapest hotels for family holidays. But he's less good with his money when it comes to football, witnessed by the £1,400 he shells out each year on his Arsenal season ticket.