Tips to Improve your iPad Air and iPad mini Battery Life

ipad air battery feature

The iPad Air is significantly thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and the Retina iPad mini has a new power hungry high resolution display. Apple has accomplished an incredible feat of engineering by maintaining the amazing 10 hour battery life in both these devices despite these changes.

While battery life isn’t usually a huge issue on the iPad, if you feel you’re getting less than expected battery life on your iPad, here are some tips to reduce battery drain and improve battery life.

Thanks to a power efficient Retina display and the new A7 chip, the iPad Air requires a lesser capacity battery to give the same amount of battery life. The iPad 4 had a 42.5 watt-hour, while the thinner iPad Air has a 32.4 watt-hour.

So we take a look at how to manage your shiny new iPad Air’s battery life and also provide some tips on how you can extend it.

Understanding Your Battery Usage:

iPad Air Wi-Fi only model offers the following battery life:

  • Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music

iPad Air Wi-Fi+Cellular model offers the following battery life:

  • Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
  • Up to 9 hours of surfing the web using cellular data network

It is important to understand that your battery life will vary as per your usage, so if you listen to your music locally from the Music app and not stream off LTE/3G/Wi-Fi, your battery life would last much longer.

You can check out the usage and standby time since the last full charge via the Settings app (Settings > General > Usage and scroll down to Time since last full charge section). You can also navigate to Settings > Cellular Usage to find out how much cellular data have you used, broken by app-usage.

ipad air battery usaage

Usage is the amount of time your iPad has been awake and in use since the last full charge. The device is awake when you’re on a FaceTime call, using email, listening to music, browsing the web, or sending and receiving text messages, or even during certain background tasks such as auto-checking email.

Battery Percentage:

By default, iOS displays the battery level in the top right corner of the status bar. You can keep track of the charge remaining in your iPad more easily by enabling the battery percentage indicator, which displays the battery left in percentage. To display the battery percentage indicator, navigate to Settings > General > Usage and scroll down and tap on the Battery Percentage toggle to enable it.

ipad air battery percentage

Some tips to extend battery life:

  • Set Auto-Lock interval so that your iPad will turn off more quickly after a period of inactivity. To set the auto-Lock interval, launch the Settings app, tap on General and then Auto-Lock and set the atuo-lock interval to either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 minutes.
  • You’re probably aware that using Wi-Fi drains iPad’s battery, but perhaps you didn’t know that one of the most intensive processes that iPad’s Wi-Fi chip has to do is search for available network. So if this happens in regular intervals, it’s going to have a noticeable impact on your battery. To disable this feature, launch the Settings app, tap on Wi-Fi, and tap on the On/Off toggle for Ask to Join Networks to disable it. Please note that by disabling this feature, your iPad will join known Wi-Fi networks automatically, but you will have to manually select a network if no known networks are available.
  • Dimming the screen helps to extend battery life. You can either lower the default screen brightness based on your preference or turn on Auto-Brightness to allow the screen to adjust its brightness based on current lighting conditions. Launch the Settings app, scroll down and tap on Brightness & Wallpaper and set Auto-Brightness to On. Note: Apple enables it by default.
  • Turn off Location services for the following System System services: Diagnostics & Usage, Setting Time Zone, Location Based iAds (Settings >  Privacy > Location Services > System Services).
  • Apple added a lot of new features to the Notification Center, including Today Summary, Next Destination, Tomorrow Summary in addition to the Stocks widget. You can squeeze the extra bit of battery by turning off all these features by going to Settings > Notification Center > scrolling down to the Today View and turning off whatever you don’t need.

ipad air notifications

  • Heat can degrade performance of your iPad’s battery. So it is important to keep the iPad out of the sun or a hot car (including the glove box).

Tips for WiFi+Cellular iPad

  • Turn off LTE if it is not available in your area (Settings > Cellular > disable LTE/4G)
  • If you’re on the plane or in an area where there is no cellular coverage then use Airplane mode to increase battery life (Settings > Airplane Mode).

Optimize Settings based on your usage:

The iPad Air offers tons of features, but some of the features comes at the cost of battery life, so it is prudent to turn off things that you’re not using.

  • Turn off dynamic wallpapers if you have them enabled by going to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness and then tap on Choose Wallpaper. Be sure to select one of the wallpapers from the “Stills” category or from your own Photo Roll, and not from the Dynamic category.
  • Turn off Photo Stream from Settings > iCloud > Photo Stream if you don’t use it.
  • Review the list of apps that are using Background App Refresh by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh, and disable it for apps you think don’t need to wake up in the background to fetch new data.

background refresh

  • iOS 7 has a number of animations and motion related effects like parallax that aren’t very important, especially if you’re facing battery life issues. You can disable these motion effects by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and turn on the switch.

reduce motion ipad air

  • iOS 7 automatically updates apps in the background, but if you’re not too keen on updating all your apps, you can turn this off by going to Settings > iTunes and App Store > scroll down to the Automatic Downloads section and turn off the “Updates” switch.

ipad air automatic updates

  • If you hardly use Bluetooth then turn it off from the Control Center or by going to Settings > Bluetooth
  • Review the list of apps that are using Location services, and disable it for apps you think can be used without tracking your location (Settings > Privacy > Location Services).
  • If you check multiple email accounts on your iPad, enable Push for only the most important email account/accounts. For other accounts, fetch emails manually if possible for better battery life.
  • Spotlight searches a lot of types of content like Applications, Contacts, Music, Podcasts, Mails, Events etc. but you can selectively tell iOS to only search across content you want by going to Settings > General > Spotlight Search.
  • These days most apps use Push Notification service to alert you of new data, which can impact battery life. We tend to blindly say “Yes”, when an app asks us if it can send Push notifications. So it is a good idea to review the apps that have push notifications enabled. Go to Settings -> Notification Center and disable notifications for select apps. Please note that it doesn’t prevent new data from being received when the app is opened.
  • Turn off Siri if you don’t use it (Settings -> General -> Siri).
  • Turn off Personal Hotspot if you’re not using it (Settings -> Personal Hotspot).
  • Turn off equalizer setting for song playback (Settings -> Music -> EQ).

Troubleshooting

If you observe a sudden degradation in battery life, it could be due to an app that is hogging your iPad’s battery life. If you haven’t restarted your iPad for a while then the easiest solution is to reset your device

  • Force an app to close: If you’ve identified the app that may be hogging your iPad’s battery life then force it to close. Double tap the home button to go into the multitasking app switcher, and swipe up the concerned app to kill it. You can kill up to three apps at a time by using this method.
  • Restart/Reset Your iPad: Hold down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time for at least ten seconds, until the Apple logo appears.
  • Resetting Network Settings: Reset network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will reset all network settings, including passwords, VPN, and APN settings.
  • Restore iPad as New: If you’ve setup your iPad by restoring from backup then the battery life problems could be due to some issue with the backup. Try to restore your device (Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content And Settings) and set it up as a new iPad (this is not ideal). But before you erase all the contents and settings, please take a backup of your iPad.
  • Make a Genius Bar reservation: If there is a significant degradation in battery life and the solutions mentioned above doesn’t help then take it to the Apple Store, it could well be a problem with your iPad, which may need to be replaced.

Charge Your iPad:

This goes without saying but it is important to charge your iPad, so take the Lightning to USB cable and the power adapter wherever you go.

Battery Maintenance:

You should also use the iPad regularly for proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery. In fact, Apple advices users to go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% and then completely running it down).

As you can see there are quite a few ways to improve or extend your iPad’s battery life, but it comes at the cost of sacrificing some features and user experience.

Hope you found these tips useful. If you’ve one then please feel free to share it in the comments below.