Tech Tip: Double Your iPhone’s Battery Life With One Setting

Everyone is looking to squeeze more battery life out of their precious iPhone. There is no shortage of posts from every tech outlet with a laundry list of ways to get more battery life out of your iPhone. The problem I’ve found with a lot of them is that you’re also usually sacrificing features that make having a smartphone worthwhile to begin with in the process.

But what if I told you about a setting that is the 80/20 rule on battery life?

We spend roughly 8 hours a day at work or in a home office. We spend another few hours a day using our iPhone at home. And we spend, hopefully, 8 hours sleeping in our bed. What does this have to do with an iPhone’s battery life, you ask?

Well, I’m about to reveal that. What common technology denominator do these places all have in common?

They all, likely, have Wi-Fi.

I can hear you already. Again, what does this have to do with and iPhone’s battery life?

Considering we spend most (but not all) of our time with access to Wi-Fi, who not take advantage of a feature called “Wi-Fi Calling”?

Wi-Fi Calling essentially uses the Wi-Fi network you’re on to make and receive calls and text messages. This is highly advantageous for a few reasons:

  • Better signal on calls*.
  • You can turn off cellular service but still make and receive calls and text messages.
  • You will use less cellular data*
  • You will save a shit ton of battery life in the process.**

I started doing this in December of 2016 after buying my iPhone 7 Plus. I get very poor service in the building I work in, so I turned Wi-Fi Calling on as a way to improve my service. I had the revelation that I may as well turn off the cellular service while I was doing this. If I’m already getting calls on Wi-Fi, what was the point in having it on? Wouldn't that be another service running unnecessarily and draining my battery? Makes sense, right?

Well it does. And I can attest by first hand experience that I have gone three days straight without charging my iPhone by using just Wi-Fi Calling whenever possible, which was a lot.

Anytime I use just the Wi-Fi Calling or even put my phone in Airplane mode, I can usually go at least two days without charging it while giving it regular use.

When I leave cellular data on? Not so much.

I could go into the science behind why its saving you so much battery, but I’ll keep it short for brevity: Your phone is constantly looking for cellular towers and sending signals back and forth between at least two (but usually more) cell towers near you. Unsurprisingly, thats an ongoing service thats eating away at your battery life. Have you ever noticed your battery life tends to drop faster when you have fewer bars? Thats because your phone is working hard to find a cell tower for better signal, thus draining your precious iPhone’s battery life.

Here’s how you do it:

Image from Apple.com Support

Turn on Wi-Fi calling in Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling.

So, whats the catch? Will this work all of the time?

Not if its a busy weekend and you’re on the go all day. Road trip for the week? Then no. Thats when and why we have cellular service to begin with. To keep us connected, theoretically, wherever we are. But there are many days where the majority of us are at work, home, or even just in one location for several hours. Thats when its beneficial and you can take advantage of it.

Also, your carrier has to support this feature. All four of the major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile & Sprint) in the United States currently support it.

I have also noticed that there is a slight delay when getting SMS text messages. If waiting an extra 5–20 minutes for a regular SMS is a dealbreaker, then you may want to reconsider. But for most of us, this works just fine. Not to mention, aren't you supposed to be working at work? And aren't the rest of your friends equally as cool as you and likely sending that text via iMessage anyway?


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