Battery life problems with iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus? Here’s the fix!

If your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus battery life isn’t cutting it, here’s how to troubleshoot!

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has a slightly smaller battery than the previous generation—blame the Taptic Engine for horning in on its space—but also great processor and radio efficiency and software in iOS 9 designed to extend power savings longer than ever. The result should be about the same this year as last. But if that’s not the case, if your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus isn’t lasting as long as you expect, here’s what you can do about it!

1. Wait for it

Whether you restore from backup or set up as new, your new iPhone can use up a lot of radio and processor time for downloading and indexing all your data. That doesn’t just include iCloud contact, mail, and calendar information and iTunes content and apps anymore either. It can include iCloud Music Library and iCloud Photo Library.

If you’ve just upgraded give things a day or two to finish up and calm down. If you’re fine after that, great. If not, keep reading!

2. Test on standby

In addition to the system taking a while to really finish transferring everything over, we also tend to spend a long time playing with new features. This year that’s especially true with 3D Touch, Live Photos, and more. And if you’re playing with new features, the screen is lit up, the radios and broadcasting, and power is draining. In other words, if you’re battery feels like it’s only lasting half as long, the first step to fixing it is figuring out if you’re using it twice as much.

So, note down how much battery life you have left. Then put your device down for 20-40 minutes. When you pick it back up, note down how much battery life you have left again. If there isn’t a big change while in standby, you’re probably okay, and your battery life will return to normal when your usage returns to normal (after the novelty wears off).

If your device continued to drain and drain fast, even when you weren’t using it, keep reading!

3. Reset

Rebooting, restarting, or resetting is the oldest cliche in troubleshooting. Because it works. Sometimes a good reset is all that’s needed to kick bad bits loose.

  1. Press and hold down both the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time.
  2. Keep them held down until you see an Apple logo.
  3. Let go.

Once your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus has rebooted, repeat the previous step and see if battery has returned to normal. If not, keep reading!

4. Check usage

iOS 9 contains even better battery usage — aka battery shaming — for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It’s Located in the Settings > Battery section and tells you which apps and system services are using power, how much, and whether they’re in the foreground or background. If you see iCloud Photo Library there, and you’ve just upgraded, it’s a sign you’re downloading thumbnails and things should return to normal when you’re done. If an app shows up there, however, and its consumption is way out of proportion to its usage, try force quitting it (double click the Home button and flick it up and away), and even deleting and re-installing it.

4. Restore as new

The single biggest cause of battery life problems is restoring from backup and not setting up as a new iPhone. Yes, setting up as a new iPhone is a pain but, if you have significant problems that nothing else can fix, setting up as new can also be the solution. It’s the nuclear option, no doubt about it. You will have to set up absolutely everything again, and you will lose all your saved data like game levels, but in most cases your battery life will be better than ever.

8. Contact Apple

Every once and a while you get a lemon. Like any electronics, Bluetooth radios and the various connections to them can have problems. If you just bought your new iPhone or iPhone 6s Plus, you have AppleCare, and you should absolutely book a Genius Bar appointment and avail yourself of it.

If you don’t live close to an Apple Store, you can call 1-800-MY-APPLE in order to set up a mail-in repair.

5. Extending battery life

If your battery life is normal but you want to get even more out of it, there are some switches you can pull to make power last as long as possible.

  • Turn off Location Services. GPS requires a huge amount of power, especially for things like turn-by-turn navigation and Find my Friends tracking. If you suspect location services are chewing up your battery when you’re not using them, go to Settings, Privacy, Location Services, and turn off any app and system service you really don’t need tracking or using your location.
  • Turn off Background app and content refresh: Background Refresh does everything it can to coalesce and schedule downloads to minimize battery drain. However, any background download will use battery. If you need power more than you need fresh content, go to Settings, General, Background App Refresh shows you everything you can turn off. Also go to Settings, App Store and turn of automatic app and content downloads. Here’s how to turn off Background Refresh
  • Turn off Push Notifications. Likewise, go to Settings, Notifications, and turn off any app you don’t care to be alerted about.
  • Check your cell signal. If you’re in an area of weak signal, or at the edge of LTE or 3G support, your iPhone’s radio could be screaming away on full power just trying to stay on the network, or switching between connection types, and wasting a lot of power. Good LTE signal is more power efficient than good 3G signal (because the radio can fire up, do its job, and power down much, much quicker), but bad LTE signal is just as bad as bad 3G, which is terrible. If you’re at the edge of LTE, switch to 3G. If you’re almost off the grid, turn the radio off unless and until you need it.

There are some other tricks you can try when you’re in a jam as well, and the new Control Center makes it really easy to do many of these really quickly now!

  • Hide the Clock app in a folder. That animation uses GPU cycles.
  • Set Auto-Lock to 1 minute
  • Turn off any extra sounds, like keyboard clicks
  • Use headphones instead of the speaker if you have to listen to audio or music
  • Turn down the screen brightness
  • Turn off Bluetooth when not using it
  • Turn off Wi-Fi when not using it
  • Set all email, calendar, and contacts accounts to “Fetch” (turn off Push)

6. Low Power Mode

If you don’t need longer battery life every day, just today, you can always put your iPhone in Low Power Mode. It doesn’t work for iPad or iPod touch, only iPhone. Go to Settings > Battery > and flip the switch. That’ll turn off much of what’s already listed above, plus a lot of graphics effects and other intensive operations. You’ll know when you’re in Low Power Mode because the battery indicator on your iPhone will turn yellow.

Apple will offer to put your iPhone into Low Power Mode whenever you hit 20% battery remaining, and will automatically take it out whenever your charge level returns to 80% or more. All told, it can add up to 3 hours total to your run time.

More tips!

If any of these power-saving tips worked for you, let me know! If you’ve got any tips of your own, let me know that too!

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