iPhone 3G Battery Optimization


Apple has some awesome videos teaching you how to get the most out of your Apple gear. As even Steven Ballmer noticed, Apple is spectacular at defining a narrow feature set and providing a great user experience. But let’s face it, every gadget has an experience of its own and the satisfaction varies with how you use it. iPhone 3G in particular is plagued with battery performance issues so here is my experience with it, remember that your mileage may vary.

In the past 24 hours I have used my iPhone to take a few pictures and upload them to Facebook. I have written two Facebook messages, four Tweets on twitter.com including one response, sent a bunch of email and spent some time on the phone. I used it as an alarm this morning. I have spent 3 hours 19 minutes on the phone over Edge, sent three SMS messages, listened to approximately three MP3s and maybe 20 minutes of Pandora radio. I have also spent about an hour browsing around and reading blogs and email. I have installed a few apps. In total, I have uploaded 26.1 Mb  of data and downloaded 186 Mb. I still have more than 20% battery left.

There are many optimization tips, all obviously depend on your usage patterns. First, the obvious battery hogs:

  • 3G
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • Screen Brightness

Turn all of those off if you wish to extend your battery life. Also consider shutting down the Push Mail feature if you can, I am not at liberty to do that since my primary use for the phone is still sending and receiving messages. But if getting your email immediately is not a big requirement you might want to consider turning this feature off or you will be wasting your battery on a constant stream of junk that hits your iPhone before Outlook cached mode moves it to Junk.

In terms of Usage Metrics: Full on power user mode barely makes it past 2 PM. This assumes all services on, 3G network, voice, Facebook, Twitter, iPod on the way to work, phone, video and email in a business environment. By comparison, lighter use with Edge instead of 3G, makes it through the day and then some.

The iPhone “Problem”: If you are coming from other platforms you will find yourself disappointed with the battery life. I can almost guarantee that. This is simply because you will actually find yourself using your phone for activities that would make you smash for previous gadget to pieces out of frustration. Ever tried browsing the web and catching up with news and friends before iPhone? The same level of frustration is just not there on an iPhone and you find yourself using more apps and using the phone for more than you ever would.

It makes your laptop lonely. But without a replaceable battery for the iPhone, or willingness to carry emergency chargers you have to restrain yourself a little. Or hope that chicks dig solar energy.

Why, yes baby, that IS a solar array in my pocket AND I am happy to see you!

Bow down to the power of mobile gadgetry.

14 Responses to iPhone 3G Battery Optimization

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  8. Dave Sobel says:

    An easy win on battery life is turning down the brightness, and putting auto-off down to 1 minute. I’m running on about 10% brightness, and I find that after a bit of adjustment, you don’t worry about it much. It even works well in direct sun. But it’s a big win on battery life.

  9. Vlad,

    How long did it take you to adjust to the keyboard? I’ve setup a few clients and the keyboard just kills me.

    Outside of that reading emails, attachments and the web did appear superior to Windows mobile.


  10. Vlad says:

    it’s a little hard to tell because I had an itouch before iphone, so I had a bit of a head start. The thing about the keyboard is that the fadter you type the better it is at autocorrecting for you. You just have to get it close enough.

    Also, the keyboard is not like in windows mobile where you have to hit it in the middle of the bullseye, it actually compensated for the angle and direction. Honestly it is pretty amazing, I wrote all this on my iPhone

  11. David Schrag says:

    Well, Vlad, I guess you’ll have to start typing even fadter than that. 8^)

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  13. Ahh! I find that after a bit of adjustment, you don’t worry about it much. It even works well in direct sun. But it’s a big win on battery life. Thanks

  14. Thanks for the great post. I was just looking for that. Thanks again. 🙂

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