March 24, 2016

Help! iOS 9.3 is killing my iPhone 5 battery

By Team Ventev Topic: Devices Tech Specs

Apple’s new iOS 9.3 software upgrade is getting rave reviews for helping users improve sleep. But if you install it on an iPhone 5, it might just knock your battery out altogether.

New OS versions always have bug problems, which normally get worked out in the first few weeks. But in the meantime, you can follow a few steps to get some battery life back.

To start, know that older phones can sometimes run out of storage space for these larger OS versions.  Resetting your phone or loading a fresh install of iOS can often help prevent this issue with 8GB and 16GB models.

If you don’t want to reset your phone, check the usual suspects to see if any of these changed with the iOS upgrade:

Did the update automatically turn on Bluetooth so that it is always searching to pair? Like WiFi, constantly searching for Bluetooth is a big battery drain. You can pull up the home screen Control Center menu to turn off Bluetooth altogether, or go to Settings > Bluetooth to adjust.

Did it turn on apps notifications? Go to Settings > Notification Center, and tap any apps you don’t want notifications from. Then choose ‘none’ under the alert style, and turn ‘badge icon’ and ‘sounds’ off.

Did it increase background refreshing? Allowing apps to refresh themselves is a huge drain on your battery, so this one really makes a difference. Look in Settings > General > Background App refresh. Go down the list and turn off everything you don’t need. Facebook in particular can drain your battery really quickly. The apps will refresh when you actually load them up, which is a lot more efficient for your battery.

Did it change email to push vs. fetch? This one should be adjusted on your usage. Push only delivers to your phone from the server when an email comes in, and it’s more power efficient than checking every five minutes with fetch. But if you get a lot of email, then push could drain the battery faster than fetch with a slower refresh time of an hour. Go to Settings > Mail to adjust preferences.

Did it turn location tracking on? Unless you’re actively using a maps app (Google Maps, Waze, etc.), it’s debatable how useful location tracking is for you. What isn’t up for debate is the fact that it eats your battery. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and turn them all off, or just select apps you don’t want tracking you.

Did it turn the Siri shortcut on? You’ll find the raise to speak option in Settings > General > Siri, and if you aren’t using it, then turn it off. The sensor check is going to impact the battery because it’s constantly looking for your face touching the phone.

Did it turn on iCloud?  Go into Settings > iCloud, and look at the list. Cloud syncing eats power and data, so it’s worth turning off anything you aren’t bothered about. You can adjust settings to sync only when the phone is locked and charging — a good tip if you want the security of a full battery and a backed-up phone.

Some closing thoughts:

Older phones usually suffer from these updates. So we generally don’t recommend installing new OS updates on devices 3 years or older. (The iPhone 5 was released in fall 2012.)

Batteries start to wear out after that many years of use, and the changes made in the updates aren’t always designed for the older processors and GPUs, not to mention the storage issues with putting a big OS on an 8- or 16GB phone.

So if you’re sticking with an old phone, stick with an older OS to save your battery … and your sanity!

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