Performance and Battery Tweaking your iOS [UPDATED]

Update 2: This is my second and probably last update to this blog post, since now more than ever I’ve found the point that has been causing my iPhone 3GS to suck up battery power like a 6.0L V12 engine guzzles fuel. The fact of the matter is that all the previous methods that were higlighted in this article, have all been attempts at turning certain features of the new iOS off, which in a sense is unacceptable. Also considering that this battery plague wasn’t affecting everyone, I could not settle for any of these suggestions and insisted to keep searching for more, convinced that there was something else going on that I wasn’t finding. My first instinct was to Google search, attempting to find any little tip that had to do with a setting change that I deemed to be a viable cause to battery drain issues and that was when I read in passing something about someone following the log on their iPhone and stating some PDP context errors. The fix for this matter was to simply input your service provider’s MMS settings, even if you were not subscribed to the service. So  I got onto my service provider’s site, got the settings and put them on my iPhone, switched it off for like 5 minutes, turned it back on, and then began to monitor it. Lo and behold, 12 hours later the phone’s battery consumption seemed to be back to its normal state and so I decided to turn on all the features that I had previously turned off, one by one.

A few months later, ever since this tweak, my phone’s battery consumption has still been up to par (18 to 20 hours per full charge on regular to heavy usage). I have all location services (even the system services) set to “ON”, iCloud and Google Sync set to Push, iTunes Wi-Fi Sync is enabled and I’m almost always on 3G and/or WiFi. So I decided to take the plunge and update my phone to iOS 6 Beta 4, for both personal curiosity, as well as to get a head start on updating apps I’ve been developing to be iOS 6 compatible. As soon as I updated the phone however, I went back to having the battery issues (battery percentage was dropping by the minutes); quickly after I navigated to my cellular data settings, and realised that my network settings had been reset. I re-set my settings for cellular data as well as MMS, and restarted the phone, and voila, back to normal.

I really do hope that this will be of help to others out there, as now I am more convinced that this may have been a larger culprit to battery issues, rather than any other “tweak” that may have been mentioned before.


Update: It seems that the major culprit for increased battery usage since the move to iOS 5 has actually been the inclusion of iCloud. Yes, the tips given in this post do provide some enhancements, but after disabling all iCloud features, except “Documents and Data” and “Photo Stream”, battery consumption dropped significantly.

Also, I played it safe and totally disabled and deleted my iCloud account on my iPhone, and then added it all over again, disabling everything as detailed, straigth from the get-go. All I can say is that battery consumption has been great since then, running on 3G 90% of the time and pulling approx. 23 to 25 hours on a single full charge.

Furthermore, here is a good concise and accurate read on general methods to prolong any device’s battery life from Lifehacker.


Been reading through all the hype about iOS 5 causing pure mayhem on people’s iDevices, whether it be the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S or the iPads. Reports of insane battery consumption and performance degradation have been at the helm of all the complaints that I’ve seen flying around. Well I decided to dig a little deeper, being an iPhone 3GS owner myself, and having worked extensively with other people’s iOS devices, I started monitoring the different devices and how they would react to changes in various already-built-in settings in iOS 5 itself.

I also recently figured a little trend that Apple follows; they release a new device/software, based on a premise that in theory it will perform better, until it hits the commercial market and then bug reports, forum discussions and ranting complaints start flying around, S#!t pretty much hits the fan (excuse my French). Their next move of course is to try and fix these issues, which sometimes works instantaneously, but more times recently it’s been taking a little longer.

Well, what was one of the major updates that changed in iOS 5 from its less-power-hungry predecessor iOS 4? One main thing, and it was mentioned in one of the Apple videos talking about Siri – the issue however is not in Siri itself. In order to make Siri as smart as it appears, Apple had to revamp the underlying core of the “Location Services” module of the OS. The miscalculation here lies in the fact that they changed this section in all iOS versions for all devices, despite their ability to use Siri or not.

Based on this hunch, I decided to proceed and examine all the background services that were running on my iPhone. Besides the fact that they were using up memory and CPU time, they also turned out to be munching up MB’s from my data plan (which is not unlimited, unfortunately :-S).

My findings led me to turn off the following services that I wasn’t really using anyway:

  • Diagnostic & Usage Data
  • Find My iPhone
  • Other “Location [System] Services”

Diagnostic & Usage Data

Settings → General → About → Diagnostics & Usage

Find My iPhone

Settings → Location Services → Find My iPhone

Other “Location [System] Services”

Settings → Location Services → System Services
Once I made these few changes, I noticed the following differences, my iPhone became more responsive (once again), the average running memory usage dropped, and best of all it stopped using up my data plan without my consent. 😀

One extra tweak that I did, just because I can, is that I disabled Mail fetching; I set it to manual mode as shown below.

Turned off “Push” and set it’s Fetch setting to “Manually”, this is also to ensure that the MobileMail app doesn’t run in the background

The reason that I could do this is that I have a Gmail account, and so since I’m already using the Apple Push Notification Services for all my other apps (most of them at least), then why overload my device with yet another background fetching service? I adapted to Apple’s push approach for multitasking and incorporated my Mail fetching into it, by using Google’s official Gmail app, which sends me real-time notifications every time I receive an e-mail, without having to put my device through the processor-roasting burden of IMAP or Microsoft Exchange.

Google’s Gmail iOS App

Hope this sheds some light and helps some of you out there to get your iDevices up to par once again. 😉


9 thoughts on “Performance and Battery Tweaking your iOS [UPDATED]

  1. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a forty
    foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.

    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!


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