Apple Figures Out Longer Battery Life

    July 25, 2013
    Mike Tuttle

One of the biggest complaints that people have about smartphones is that they lose battery life like mad. And the newer phones are worse than ever. Just a few years ago, a device like a relatively cheap Blackberry Curve, which introduced a lot of lower-market consumers to the Blackberry devices, could hold a battery charge for two days. Add to that the fact that Blackberry has a basic USB charging port, and most people were pretty thrilled. They couldn’t figure out why iPhone owners were constantly plugging in and always griping about short battery life.

But here is the big secret: the Blackberry Curve had no GPS module. AT&T’s own website said that it did, and their sales teams passed that along. But it did not. It approximated location services by triangulating cell towers, but it was not accurate at all.

And that gives a clue into one of the reasons that iPhones and other devices have such horrible battery life. It’s not that the battery won’t hold a charge. It is that the battery is almost constantly in use by certain features of the device, including GPS.

The biggest battery-drain on a smartphone is data access, whether Edge, 3G or 4G. So while apps are great, and push notifications and email checking are convenient, they drain battery like mad.

Discerning users have begun to spread the word to turn off location services in settings (you will be prompted to turn them back on when you use something that needs to access the GPS module). And you can also disable as many push notifications as possible, including email checking. This may cramp your style with certain apps, but battery life should increase dramatically.

Now a new patent application from Apple shows that they are considering taking this same approach to help their users save battery life.

The idea is to have battery and usage monitored so that the device can automatically turn off certain things that are not in use or needed, such as GPS, W-Fi, and Bluetooth. It could also close running apps so as to preserve battery.

This approach by Apple would automate certain behaviors that users have had to keep tabs on themselves.