Whether you have the latest MagSafe charger or have been using the same Lightning cable for years, you care about your iPhone’s precious battery life. The same is true of iPads and MacBooks, especially if you’re using them professionally or at school. You absolutely need your battery to be reliable, and one of the worst things that can happen is a battery losing its charging capabilities over its cycles. That’s why the internet is flooded with stories and tips on what costs battery life and how to get it back. Unfortunately, that also leads to a lot of misinformation and practices that can actually harm your battery life. Continue reading to browse the top battery myths and why you shouldn’t believe them.
"Turning Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Will Save Your Battery Life"
At a glance, this seems sensible – you don’t want your phone constantly connecting to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth when you aren’t using those features, so turning them off would help save battery life, right? Unfortunately, no, it’s not a solution.
The latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards are excellent at saving battery life by controlling just how they work and when devices are actually connected. In other words, if the services are on but aren’t actively being used, they’re designed to “sleep” to avoid draining battery life. Even when they’re actively working, these standards are so efficient they don’t really make a marked difference in battery drain anyway.
Cellular data connections are a different story. Data connections to cell towers are generally more of a drain on your battery, especially 5G. This is especially true if you are driving, flying, or on a train passing through many zones with spotty connections, where the cellular connection gets dropped a lot. This is when Airplane mode comes in handy.
"Charging a Battery Too Long Can Harm It"
This is a classic myth with a lot of staying power, but we’re here to calm your mind. Many years ago, when the first lithium-ion batteries entered the consumer market, overcharging could cause problems with wearing batteries out. But that problem has long been solved. Today’s mobile device batteries come with software that automatically prevents the battery from taking in too much charge. That means you can leave your phone charging overnight, sitting on a charging pad, etc., without worrying about any long-term effects.
"Apple Makes iPhones with Older Batteries Run Slower"
This controversy popped up in late 2017 when reports surfaced that Apple was deliberately slowing down iPhones. A lot of misinformation was created about how and why this was happening, and many people started blaming older batteries. The truth is a lot more complicated.
First, it wasn't aging batteries that caused the issue, but rather new "features" that Apple added to iOS. These features – and Apple indicated that bugs were also affecting how they worked – were designed to help save power by "smoothing" performance, which slowed down some iOS processes.
The problem was that iPhones with older batteries had lost some of their charge or weren't prepared for the new feature, and power smoothing was triggered when it shouldn't have been.
Apple addressed all this by offering discounts on iPhone battery replacements and updating iOS in later versions to avoid the issue. It's no longer a problem for iPhone users.
"Force Closing Apps After You Use Them Saves Battery Life"
There are many types of apps, and they don’t all work the same nor use the same amount of resources. Some apps with background activities (processes that run even when you aren’t actively using the app) do slowly drain battery life, but you can turn off Background Activity functions or force close the app (on iPhone, that’s the swipe-up option in the App Switcher) to stop that.
Other apps don’t take much battery life at all, and going through to shut them all down probably won’t make much difference to your overall battery life. Even worse, if you frequently use an app, fully shutting it down and starting it up again every time will use up more battery life than if you just left it stagnant in the background.
"Automatic Brightness Is Bad for Battery Life"
Automatic brightness settings like those on the iPhone do increase and decrease brightness a lot to keep up with ambient conditions – however, this is almost always in service of the battery. Your iPhone is trying to keep the screen visible with as little brightness as possible based on nearby light and the time of day. It is actually an effective way to save battery life and should be left turned on.
"Apple iOS Updates Ruin Battery Life"
This is a tricky one. Let’s go over what’s really happening. Some Apple updates, especially when first updating to a new number like iOS 15, can make battery life worse – that’s because there’s often a lot of new features to power, new code that’s not always as efficient as it could be, and a lot of reindexing in the background. The key is that subsequent updates change all this. As iOS continues to be updated, it becomes more efficient and starts using power in better ways. The net result is often an increase in battery efficiency. So if you want the best battery life possible, it’s a good idea to always to keep your Apple device updated and stick through any temporary battery drainage.
"Fast Charging Is Bad for Batteries"
Many chargers these days are boasting “fast charge” capabilities – and if that’s making you a little suspicious of how your battery feels about fast charging, you don’t need to worry. Unmitigated fast charging would be an issue, but fast charging features are carefully designed. Smartphones typically only use fast charging to get batteries up to a certain percentage, then stop before the battery is in danger of overheating or another issue arises. You can use fast charging without worrying about battery side effects.
"Letting the Battery Drain Fully Before Charging Is Best"
This is another piece of advice that was helpful many years ago but just doesn’t apply today. In fact, with the modern batteries that Apple uses, sometimes the opposite is more helpful. Short charges throughout the day keep the battery topped off and avoid losing too much power before it cycles, which is healthy for battery life. (Think about how the MagSafe Battery Pack works.) So don’t be afraid to plug it in or drop your phone on a Qi charging mat throughout the day!