Solution for “Account Already Exists” in Mac Mail / OS X El Capitan

Solution for “Account Already Exists” in Mac Mail / OS X El Capitan

Recently in Apple Mail on Mac OS X El Capitan I received a strange error message when trying to add a Charter email account for a client: “Mail account already exists”. I followed the steps that Charter recommends but I could not get the account to add. After some troubleshooting, here’s how I finally solved it.

Before you implement this fix, verify you have the correct email and password by logging in to your email providers website (for Charter, it’s charter.net). Once you’ve done that, head to the solution below.

Solution

  1. Head to the Apple logo in the top left corner  > System Preferences
  2. Select iCloud (third row, first icon)
  3. Sign out of your iCloud account by clicking Sign Out
  4. Re-add your mail account
  5. Sign back into your iCloud account

Why this works

I believe iCloud Keychain causes the problem, which syncs lots of data, including internet accounts, across multiple devices.  The email account in question is somewhere in the iCloud data trying to sync, but it’s stuck in limbo. However, disabling iCloud Keychain by itself does not fix the problem, leaving the only solution to be to sign out altogether.

Mac OS X Versions this affects

This bug affects all versions of Mac OS X El Capitan — 10.11.0, 10.11.1, 10.11.2, 10.11.3, 10.11.4, 10.11.5, and 10.11.6.

If you find that this bug affects other versions of OS X or have a better workaround, please leave a comment below.

Known Mail Providers Affected

  • Comcast
  • Charter
Why You Shouldn’t Close iPhone Apps

Why You Shouldn’t Close iPhone Apps

Did you know that if you close iPhone apps it can actually hurt your battery life? I mention it in my guide to solving every battery drain issue for the iPhone, but I thought I’d make it a little more direct in it’s own post.

You heard me, stop quitting those apps! Here’s why:

Reasons You Shouldn’t Close iPhone Apps

  1. The apps in your multitasking aren’t actually running in the background. The system freezes them so they are ready to go when you next need that app.
  2. When you quit an app, it unloads the app from the RAM (short term memory), and when you need it again it has to load it from scratch. All of that unloading and reloading causes more drain than simply letting the iOS system do it for you.
  3. iOS will automatically purge apps from the background if it needs more memory, so you’re doing something completely redundant.
  4. Apple has allowed certain kinds of apps to run in the background, but they did so intelligently with a setting called Background App Refresh, which you can read more about in our simple explanation of Background App Refresh.
  5. You should be the user of your device, not the janitor! Just use the dang thing, don’t worry about cleaning it up. iOS was designed with this in mind.
  6. It’s annoying as heck to close iPhone apps all the time, like a really boring game of whack-a-mole.

 

How do I know this? I was a Mac and iOS technician at Apple for 22 months at the Apple Store in Birmingham, AL (R225, woot!). I made it my mission to solve iPhone battery life issues and dug deep into the internal knowledge-base documents that Apple makes available to technicians. Somehow I managed to figure out how to solve every iPhone battery problem.

So don’t close iPhone apps, just use them and enjoy them! You bought an iPhone to use it, not be the janitor.

What to do with a broken iPhone screen

What to do with a broken iPhone screen

Check your warranty, backup your device, and use Apple for your replacement screen to preserve your warranty and the quality of your iPhone or iPad screen.

Need to know what to do with a broken iPhone screen? Here is everything you need to know to get a broken screen replacement without voiding your warranty, further damaging your device, or hurting yourself. I worked at the Apple Store for almost two years and saw many people do this the wrong way and end up with a ruined iPhone and a voided warranty. Many tears were shed.

If your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch screen is broken, all hope is not lost. Fortunately, Apple makes it extremely easy to get a broken iPhone screen replacement if you do it the right way. As someone who used to work for Apple but doesn’t anymore, this is the best advice on the Internet for how to get your screen repaired.

1. Check Your Warranty Status

Head over to Apple’s warranty checker to check your status. There are three possible outcomes:

  1. Out of warranty
  2. 1st year manufacturers warranty
  3. Covered by AppleCare+

Out Of Warranty

If you are out of warranty, don’t freak out. You can still get a replacement at the Apple Store, and I strongly encourage you to let Apple handle it. I’ll go into that more later.

1st Year Manufacturer’s Warranty

If you’re under the manufacturer’s warranty, you still have to pay the same replacement cost as being out of warranty, as the 1st year warranty doesn’t cover accidental damage. Listed below is the replacement cost by device model.

AppleCare+

If you have AppleCare+, go you! You payed $99 with your device and can get a replacement at an Apple Store or through AppleCare for $50-80, depending on the device. I have a full list of repair costs listed below.

Note: Apple Covers Hairline Cracks Under Warranty

One type of break is actually covered by warranty if you go to an Apple Store — a hairline crack. As of 2014, Apple considers a hairline crack to be a defect in the glass and will replace the device for free within the first year, or within the first two years if you purchased AppleCare+ (Apple’s extended warranty plan).

The way you know if you have a hairline crack is that it is a single line. If there is any other sign of damage or an obvious place of impact, the Family Room Specialist (the guys/gals who service iOS devices in Apple Stores) will not cover it under warranty.

If your device has multiple cracks or a spider web crack, you will have to pay the full replacement cost.

2. Backup Your Device (If Possible)

Make sure that you are backed up to either iTunes or iCloud so that when you take the step to get your device replaced, you are also able to get your photos and personal data back as well.

To backup to iTunes, plug in your iOS device to a PC or Mac with iTunes installed and press “Backup” on the device summary screen.

Tip: If you encrypt your backup, you do not have to enter your passwords again. Just don’t forget your encryption password, or you won’t be able to get your information back!

To backup to iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage and Backup (iOS 7) or Backup(iOS 8) and press “Backup Now“. If you don’t have enough storage, you can always buy more iCloud storage, which I highly recommend doing.

Most importantly, Apple can replace your device all day long, but they can’t replace your photos or memories.

3. Use Apple for your replacement

Take your iPhone to Apple for repair, it will be

Do not take it to the mall kiosk guy, the iRepairFixBreakYouFixit place, your local gas station that does iPhone repairs, or some whizz-kid that can do it in his lair. Here’s why:

Apple will replace your device for a reasonable cost — while maintaining your current warranty status. If you are out of warranty, Apple will actually give you a 90 day warranty on the new device.

Tip — Mixed Warranty Repair

If you are still under AppleCare, AppleCare+, or the 1 year manufacturer’s warranty and you have a broken screen AND another issue that is covered under warranty, Apple will actually replace your device for free — IF the other issue is not in any way connected to the screen break.

For example, if your lock button is jammed (top of device) and the bottom of your screen is cracked, it’s up to the Family Room Specialist to make the call on whether or not the lock button issue is or is not related to the screen break. A good FRS likes to make customers happy, and will actually look for opportunities to do this. It’s really fun to make someone’s day. They just need to justify it.

There is no use in trying to push through to management or by throwing a fit and being a jerk to get your way. In a well-run Genius Bar, the management will always take the side of the technician unless the technician is acting outside of the spirit of Apple service, which is to do the best thing for the customer at all times.

 

Apple Washes Their Hands Of Your Device If You Go Somewhere Else

Apple recognizes this as taking service into your own hands and voids your warranty. Your only option, if anything else goes wrong, is to go back to the person who fixed it on the cheap, buy a brand new device (for $500-700 — ouch!), or buy a used one on eBay.

As a result, I saw countless customers who had their screen replaced somewhere else come in because it wouldn’t turn on anymore, and had to tell them that we wouldn’t repair it.

Furthermore, on the iPhone 5 and newer Apple performs a semi-complex calibration process that must occur on the MultiTouch, Proximity Sensor, and Display that uses a special machine built by Apple. Therefore, using a third party vendor hinders your iPhone’s functionality.

Apple will void your warranty

You may think, “Oh, they’ll never know I got it done somewhere else.” Kindly, you are wrong 🙂

The Apple Store iOS technicians see hundreds of devices every week and sniff out third-party screen replacements like a blood hound.

Realistically, I’d say about 1 in every 1,000 would get through. Realistically.

Please do not repair your device anywhere else. Pony up and let Apple handle it. You will be much better off for it.

Don’t Do It Yourself

You can literally die if you try to replace the screen of an iPhone or iPad yourself and you don’t know what you’re doing. I’m not kidding.

Apple created the battery without a protective shell to save room inside, because of this, if you so much as barely dent the battery or puncture it, it will burst into flames and spew poisonous gas into the room. Lithium-Ion batteries are extremely volatile when disturbed.

You can burn down your house, injure yourself, and/or die. You know how those Samsung Galaxy 7’s are exploding in peoples’ pants? Yeah, that’s what will happen.

Don’t do it.

4. Mail it in to AppleCare if you live far from an Apple Retail Store

In addition to taking your iPhone into a store, if you are far away from an Apple Store, help is still available. You can set up a mail-in repair through AppleCare by calling 1-800-APL-CARE (1-800-275-2273) or go to getsupport.apple.com.

Apple’s GetSupport site is amazing. I highly recommend going there for more information.

One thing to note is that if AppleCare sends you the device first, they will charge you the full cost of the device as collateral until they receive your broken device in return. It’s kind of a bummer, but it’s the way the world works.

Broken iPhone Screen Replacement Cost

Finally, here are the prices that apply if you replace your device through an Apple Retail Store or mail it in through AppleCare. These prices are competitive with what the guy on the street does it for.

Here’s a breakdown of each device replacement cost.

As of October 2016.

iPhone Model Whole Device Screen Only AppleCare+ Replacement
Original $149 NA NA
3G $149 NA NA
3GS $149 NA NA
4 $149 NA $49
4S $199 NA $49
5 $269 $129 $49
5C $269 $129 $79
5s $269 $129 $79
6 $299 $129 $79
6 Plus $329 $149 $79
6s $299 $129 $99
6s Plus $329 $149 $99
7 $319 $129 $99

If I’m a little slow on updating my chart here, here is Apple’s nice chart for iPhone replacement costs.

iPad Screen and Device Replacement Costs

 iPad Model  Replace Device  AppleCare+ Replacement
Original $249  $49
2  $249  $49
 3  $299  $49
 4  $299  $49
Air  $299  $49
Air 2  $379  $49
9.7″ Pro  $379  $49
12.9″ Pro  $599  $49
Mini  $199  $49
Mini 2  $249  $49
Mini 3  $299  $49
Mini 4  $299  $49

Here is Apple’s iPad replacement cost chart if I’m behind on updating mine.

 

Background App Refresh Explained in Layman’s Terms

Background App Refresh Explained in Layman’s Terms

Background App Refresh allows your apps to check for new information in the background in an intelligent and controlled manner. Because of Background App Refresh, apps do not get a blank check to run in the background, but instead are only able to refresh at certain times, locations, and battery levels.

I absolutely hate blogs that tell people to disable Background App Refresh. Most of these “How to Fix Battery Drain” articles are designed to get clicks and are not very concerned with accuracy. Well I’m here to set the record straight about Background App Refresh. I happened to have written an article about how to fix iPhone battery drain that has received over 2 million+ hits in the last two years.

BAR [^1] does not give any app a blank check to run whenever it wants. It actually adds a layer of _intelligence _to the way your phone handles apps in the background. I believe that in some cases, it could actually increase energy efficiency of your iOS device. To get a better understanding of what Background App Refresh adds to the iOS experience, here is Apple’s own definition of Background App Refresh.

…Apps can continue to run for a short period of time and are then set to a suspended state so they are not actively in use, open, or taking up system resources. They will instantly launch when you return to them. Certain tasks or services can continue to run in the background. To lessen the effect on battery life, normal app background refreshing is scheduled for efficient times, such as when your device is connected to Wi-Fi, plugged into a power source, or being actively used. When Background App Refresh is on, apps that take advantage of this feature can refresh themselves in the background.

For example, an app can check if new content is available and download the updates, or retrieve the updated content in the background when it receives a push notification, so the new content is ready for viewing when you launch the app. Apps can also schedule background refreshing based on your location. If you force an app to quit by dragging it up from the multitasking display, it won’t be able to do its background activities, such as tracking location or responding to VoIP calls, until you relaunch the app. iOS learns patterns based on your use of the device and tries to predict when an app should be updated in the background. It also learns when the device is typically inactive, such as during the night, to reduce update frequency when the device is not in use.

To summarize Apple’s definition, BAR adds a layer of intelligence and efficiency to the way your apps act when you are not using them. It allows apps to temporarily open in the background, receive an update, and then freeze again so it cannot use system resources or drain your battery. The cool thing is that it will plan these little update pow-wows around times you are already using your device, in good Wi-Fi, or in a location you normally check those apps, which can make your iOS experience much smoother. Instead of opening an app you use constantly and waiting for a few seconds for it to update, you open the app and it’s already ready for your eyes to feast upon. Now you have to answer two questions when enabling or disabling Background App Refresh:

  1. Do I check this app enough/is it critical for me to have this app up-to-date?
  2. (optional) Do I trust the developer of this app to implement it correctly and not abuse it?

Question 1 is pretty straightforward. Do you absolutely need or want an app to always stay refreshed with current information? If you answer yes, then enable BAR for that app. Question 2 is a little harder to determine unless you follow the current tech blogs and trends. If you have absolutely no idea how to answer question 2, forget about it. Stick with the first question. For me, question 2 eliminated any Facebook and Google-related app I have installed on my phone.

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I simply do not trust Facebook or Google to have my best interest in mind because I am not their customer. Both companies see me as a set of “eyeballs” to show me ads, and because our interests don’t align, I’m disabling BAR for any app written by them. Simple as that.

A good example of an app that meets both criterion is the best Twitter app for iOS, Tweetbot. I trust the developers at Tapbots, Paul Haddad and Mark Jardine, because of their track record of making fantastic apps, and I check it often enough that I would like for it to be up-to-date when I check it. I have BAR enabled for Tweetbot, and it is usually ready to go when I open it.

Background App Refresh is a great feature of iOS 7+, and I hate that fear and misinformation have caused so many people to disable it. It adds a level of efficiency that other devices or operating systems do not possess. These types of thoughtful features is what makes me love my iPhone, and Background App Refresh is a great addition to the iOS feature set.

Footnotes:

[^1] A term coined by my friend, Rick Stawarz, who founded the great Apple consultancy, Appinstructor.

The Ultimate Guide to Solving iPhone Battery Drain

The Ultimate Guide to Solving iPhone Battery Drain

I worked on the Genius Bar for almost two years, and the most difficult issue to solve was short iPhone battery life. It was extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why someone had iPhone battery drain.

I made it my mission to discover the specific reasons for iOS battery drainage. This article is a product of my years of research and anecdotal evidence I gathered in the hundreds of Genius Bar appointments I took during my time as a Genius and iOS technician, as well as testing on my personal devices and the devices of my friends.

This is not one of those “Turn off every useful feature of iOS 10” posts that grinds my gears. My goal is to deliver practical steps to truly solve your iOS battery woes.

One quick thing before we start — 99.9% of the time it is not actually iOS that is causing your battery to drain quickly. I guarantee you that if you erased your phone and there were no apps or email on it, it would last for ages. But, no one uses their device like that, nor should they. Hopefully with these steps you will be living with great iPhone battery life while still using all the apps and features you love.

But first, we need to test and see if you even have a problem to begin with.

How to Test For iPhone battery drain

There is a quick and easy battery life test built into your device, if you do a little bit of math — the Usage and Standby times. Head on over to Settings > General > Usage and check out your times.

In iOS 9 and up you can find the times in Settings > Battery (you have to wait for the list to load), then scroll all the way to the bottom.

Your Usage time is how long you have actually used your device, and the Standby time is how long your device has been dormant in-between the times you’ve used it plus your Usage time. A better name for Standby time would be “Total Time since unplugged.” The key to look for is that your Usage time should be significantly lower than your Standby time, unless you have been using your device every single second you’ve had it unplugged. If this is not the case and your Usage time is exactly equal to your Standby time, you have a severe problem. The bottom line is that your Usage time should be accurate to how much you’ve used it since you took it off the charger.

So here’s the test: write down your usage and standby time, press the sleep/wake button (or lock button, as some call it) to put the device to sleep, and set the device down for five minutes. When you come back, take note of the change in time. If your device is sleeping properly, then the Standby time should have increased by five minutes and your Usage time by <1 minute 3. If your Usage time rises by more than one minute, you have a drain problem. Something is keeping your device from sleeping properly, significantly shortening the time it will last.

If you do not have a battery life issue, then great! You don’t even need the steps listed in this article. But if you or someone you know is constantly complaining about how short their battery lasts, read onward or send this post to them.

Here are the main causes of iPhonr battery life problems I’ve found, and how to resolve them.

 

Step 1: Disable Location and Background App Refresh for Facebook

This first step to solving iPhone battery drain may seem extremely specific, but that’s because it is extremely common and extremely effective. It has also been well tested and confirmed on many devices.

I just got the iPhone 5s about two weeks ago, and thought my battery was draining a little too quickly. Being the nerd that I am, I decided to run the app Instruments from Xcode, Apple’s developer tool, in order to see what the problem was. Basically, Instruments acts as an Activity Monitor for your iPhone, allowing developers (or nerds like me) to see every process currently running and how much memory and processing power each app is using in real-time.

During this testing, Facebook kept jumping up on the process list even though I wasn’t using it. So I tried disabling Location Services (4) and Background App Refresh (5) for Facebook, and you’ll never guess what happened: my battery percentage increased. It jumped from 12% to 17%. Crazy. I’ve never seen that happen before on an iPhone. The iPod touch exhibits this behavior, to my memory, although I haven’t tested it in a while. For the iPhone, the battery percentage is usually pretty consistent. (6)

I have confirmed this behavior on multiple iPhones with the same result: percentage points actually increase after disabling these background functions of Facebook.

Bad, Facebook, bad.

Step 2: Disable Background App Refresh for Apps You Don’t Care About

My recent post gives an in-depth explanation of Background App Refresh if you want to know more. Background App Refresh is an awesome feature added in iOS 7, but you don’t necessarily need it running for every app that supports it. Disable Background App Refresh for Facebook or other apps you don’t absolutely need to stay up-to-date all the time.

If there are apps you check regularly, and you trust the quality of the app and developer, then enable Background App Refresh with confidence and enjoy your apps being updated intelligently so they’re ready for your enjoyment at a moment’s notice. Background App Refresh is great if you need it, but you really don’t need it for every single app on your iOS device.

Step 3: Stop Quitting Your Apps in Multitasking

iOS 7 made it super fun to close your apps: all you have to do is double-click the home button and swipe up on the app preview to blast it into a digital black hole.

What most people tell you is that closing your apps will save your battery life because it keeps the apps from running in the background.

Wrong.

Yes, it does shut down the app, but what you don’t know is that you are actually making your battery life worse if you do this on a regular basis. Let me tell you why.

By closing the app, you take the app out of the phone’s RAM (7). While you think this may be what you want to do, it’s not. When you open that same app again the next time you need it, your device has to load it back into memory all over again. All of that loading and unloading puts more stress on your device than just leaving it alone. Plus, iOS closes apps automatically as it needs more memory, so you’re doing something your device is already doing for you. You are meant to be the user of your device, not the janitor.

The truth is, those apps in your multitasking menu are not running in the background at all: iOS freezes them where you last left the app so that it’s ready to go if you go back. Unless you have enabled Background App Refresh, your apps are not allowed to run in the background unless they are playing music, using location services, recording audio, or the sneakiest of them all: checking for incoming VOIP calls (8), like Skype. All of these exceptions, besides the latter, will put an icon next to your battery icon to alert you it is running in the background. (9)

If you want to know more about this, here’s a longer explanation on why closing your apps hurts your battery life.

Step 4: Disable Push Email Temporarily

If steps 1 through 3 did not solve your problem, try disabling Push email temporarily to see if it helps (10). Push email allows your device to receive instant notifications every time you get an email. It is great if you need to know when every single email comes in, but does impact battery if configured incorrectly.

I’ve seen many devices where Push is the primary cause of battery drain, but I’ve also seen plenty of devices have great battery life with Push enabled. It is really specific to your email and server settings. Try changing the setting to Fetch every hour, thirty minutes, or fifteen minutes and see if the drain stops. If that doesn’t help, turn it back on. You could also trying disabling Push on individual accounts if you have multiple. Just keep referring to the test at the beginning of the article to see if that resolved your issue.

Unbelievably often, especially with Exchange push email, it’s as if the phone gets stuck in a loop checking for email constantly. When this happens, the phone will usually die within six hours of being off the charger, and the Standby and Usage times in Settings > General > Usage will be exactly the same. These times are not the same because the “firmware (11) is bad or corrupted”, it’s because push email is keeping the phone from sleeping properly.

In my experience, malfunctioning email push is the primary reason for iPhone battery drain, and iOS 10 actually might have made it worse. There have been reports that after upgrading to iOS 10 that email push was re-enabled for all email accounts. Go and turn it off now! Settings > Mail > Accounts > Fetch New Data and turn it off for your accounts. Usually iCloud accounts are safe for push but Exchange, Hotmail, and any other sort of email cannot be trusted to handle Push adequately.

Step 5: Disable Push Notifications for Apps That Annoy You

Does that annoying game your child downloaded keep sending you push notifications to keep buying more digital sheep for the virtual farm? If so, every time you get one of those notifications, your phone wakes from sleep for a few seconds to light up your screen and wait for your potential action upon each notification.

Push notifications do not cause excess battery drain by default, so please don’t hear me say you need to turn them all off. However, every message wakes your device for 5 to 10 seconds, so it can add up. If you receive 50 notifications during the day and never act on them, that will add 4 to 8 minutes to your Usage time, meaning you now have that much less time to do things you actually want to do on your device. (12)

Turn off those annoying Push notifications for apps you don’t need notifications from. It might be a small difference, but it can add up.

Step 6: Turn Off Battery Percentage

That’s right, you heard me.

Turn off that battery percentage meter and stop worrying about your battery drain. You can find this setting in Settings > General > Usage, right above where your battery times are listed.

One thing I found in my Genius Bar experience is that people that are anxious about their iOS device battery life are constantly checking it to see the percentage and how much it has dropped from the last time they checked it. So if you check your device twice as much, simply to check on the battery life, you are essentially halving the time your device will last.

Stop freaking out and enjoy your life. There are more important things to worry about than your device’s battery life. The control freak inside you might freak out the first few days you do this, but you’ll get used to it. (13)

Step 7: Go to an Apple Retail Store

Update: I was informed after posting this that the Apple battery test only runs on the iPhone 5 and up.

I know, you hate making a Genius Bar appointment because it’s loud and crazy in there, but I have a good reason to add this to the list.

According to my sources, Apple has rolled out a new ‘Extended Battery Life Test’ for all iOS technicians that allows them to see a detailed report of battery usage on your device. It takes only a few minutes to run and, from what I’ve heard, is comprehensive. I have not had a chance to see this test for myself, but my friends tell me it rocks.

The other rare possibility is that your physical battery is defective, and the technicians can replace it for free if your iOS device is under warranty, or very cheaply if it’s not.

Step 8: Enable Airplane Mode in Areas of Poor Cellular Service

One major reason you have iPhone battery drain is poor cellular service. When the iPhone detects that you are in a place of low signal, it will increase the power to the antenna in order to stay connected enough to receive calls (primarily) and maintain a data connection.

This will destroy your battery life if you are constantly in a location with 1 bar or no service at all. The unfortunate thing is that this can happen in more places than you expect — any building with metal studs in the walls, aluminum buildings, buildings with dense concrete walls, heavily populated city areas, and downtown areas with with lots of tall buildings.

Often times you may get a strong signal on the top floor of a building, but simply moving to a lower floor, such as the basement, will immediately cause your iPhone to hang on to signal for dear life at the expense of your battery. Note that this severe drain will happen even if you have a strong Wi-Fi connection, because your phone still needs the cellular connection for calls and SMS messages (the green-colored texts in the Messages app).

If you are in an area with poor cell coverage, and you still need to receive calls, I’ve got bad news — there is really nothing you can do. But if your service is so poor that you can’t receive calls anyway, I recommend turning on Airplane mode by swiping up from the bottom of your device to access Control Center and tapping the Airplane icon.

One thing you may not know about Airplane mode: you can actually turn Wi-fi back on after enabling Airplane mode. Just tap the Wi-Fi button in Control Center (the icon directly to the right of the Airplane). This is perfect for places, like an airplane, where you have zero cellular coverage but a strong Wi-Fi signal.

If you have Wi-Fi and want to be really fancy, you can disable just the cellular data portion of your signal, e.g. EDGE, 3G, 4G, or LTE. Most people don’t know that your phone is actually receiving two signals simultaneously: one for calls and SMS, and one for data.

The signal strength meter on the iPhone only shows the signal strength for the non-data connection, which means theoretically your iPhone could show 2-3 bars (or dots on iOS7) for your 1x connection but in reality you could be getting 1 bar of LTE/4G/3G connection, causing the phone to go into heavy search mode. To disable just the Data connection of your iPhone, head over to Settings > Cellular Data and switch Cellular Data off. Again, doing this will allow you to receive phone calls (if you still have a signal) while maintaining a data connection through Wi-Fi.

[NEW] Step 9: Enable Low Power Mode

Low power mode is the nuclear switch for making your iPhone last a really long time. According to Apple’s documentation on Low Power Mode, it turns off the following when you enable it:

  • Email fetch
  • Hey Siri
  • Background app refresh
  • Automatic downloads
  • Wi-Fi associations
  • Some visual effects

Your battery will turn yellow iphone6-ios9-battery-low-power-mode-iconand your phone will last for several hours longer than in normal mode. Thanks to this great research on Low Power Mode battery drain by Matt Birchler at BirchTree, it looks like your iPhone lasts between 33% – 44% longer than normal usage. Since the iPhone is slated to work for 6 hours of usage, Low Power Mode adds between 2 – 2.5 extra hours of usage for a grand total of 8 – 8.5 hours.  That’s a huge increase for such a tiny switch.

To turn on Low Power Mode head to Settings > Battery and flip the switch there. Oh, and as of iOS 9.3.1, you can enable Low Power Mode and Night Shift at the same time. An alert will automatically ask you if you want to enable Low Power Mode when your iPhone hits 20% battery

Low Power Mode also offers the side benefit of solving my gripe in footnote #13, which is that it will automatically enable your battery percentage. My dream setup has been to have battery percentage disabled (Step 6 from this article) from 100% to 20% and battery percentage enabled from 20% – 0%, which is exactly what this gives me if I enable it when it offers at 20%. Thanks, Apple! Hopefully somebody inside Apple read my blog. One can hope, right?

Thanks to commenter, Stefan Mohler, for pointing out that my percentage gripe was solved!

Step 10: Purchase an external battery pack or case

If all else fails, tt may be that you are simply a power user and you exceed the battery limitations of the iPhone you own. In that situation, your best option is to purchase an external battery pack or a battery case.

Recommended Battery Pack

Anker PowerCore 2010031wqjnc8hl

The Anker PowerCore 20100 is the best external battery pack I’ve found so far. It isn’t too heavy (12.5 ounces), slides easily into different kinds of pockets in your bag, and can recharge an iPhone up to 7 times from 0 to 100% depending on the model. You can also charge two devices at once. 👍

You can purchase it on Amazon.

Recommended Battery Case

Anker Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case

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The Anker Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case is the best iPhone battery case I’ve found for the iPhone 6 and 6s.

You can purchase it on Amazon.

Conclusion

I guarantee you that if you follow these steps, you will be getting the best battery life possible out of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

If your device is still not lasting you a full day, and you can’t stomach heading into one of the stainless steel noise chambers I lovingly refer to as your nearest Apple Retail Store, don’t worry. There is still hope for you.

The reason your device isn’t lasting all day might simply be because you are a heavy user, and your iOS device is acting completely normal under the grueling pace with which you use it. That is not a fault of the device, or you, for that matter. You are simply pushing it beyond it’s capabilities. My advice for you is to buy a car charger, a second charger for travel/work, or a battery case to extend your battery life (14).

I hope this article empowers you to stop stressing about your battery life, and frees you up to enjoy the great device in your hands. There are more important things in life that deserve our attention, so the more we minimize the trivial stressors, like bad battery life, the more time we can spend on people and problems that really matter.

Questions Answered:

  • Why is my iPhone battery draining fast?
  • My iPhone battery drains fast, what gives?
  • Why is my iPhone battery life bad?

Updates

Update July 29, 2016: Added Step 9: Enable Low Power Mode

Update July 21, 2016: Updated for iOS 9 and refined a good deal.

Update April 17, 2014: added Step 8 to the list.

Footnotes

  1. Users will report poor battery life after every iOS update. Always. For eternity. This is not newsworthy.
  2. This only works on the iPhone and iPod touch. Sorry iPad users, for some reason these times are not viewable. **Update** Reader Timothy Fultz emailed in to let me know that iPads on iOS 7 or later do have these Standby and Usage times. Thanks Timothy!
  3. Sometimes the Usage time will go up by one minute, but really it was only a few seconds. The minute was close to changing, and those few seconds pushed it over the edge to the next minute.
  4. Settings – Privacy – Location Services
  5. Settings – General – Background App Refresh
  6. Note about battery percentage: it is an estimate of how long your device will last looking at the amount of charge left in the physical battery and comparing that to the current processes draining that bank of electrical charge.A good thing to compare the way iOS calculates battery percentage is ETA (estimated time of arrival) in modern GPS and navigation. Most devices look at the miles left to travel and compare that to the speed limits of all of the roads you are going to travel on your current route. If you drive faster than the speed limit, you will get there faster than the estimated time, so it’s not 100% accurate.Battery percentage estimates work the same way, looking at the amount of juice left (miles) versus how fast you’re draining it (miles per hour). That explains why disabling Facebook made the percentage go up, much like how if you stop on a road trip, your ETA climbs significantly.
  7. Temporary, short-term memory.
  8. Internet phone calls.
  9. Apps that can make or receive calls, like Skype, Viber, Tango, Whatsapp, and Facebook are able to check for incoming calls without notifying you. I believe these types of apps sometimes abuse this exception and could have possibly influenced Apple to add Background App Refresh as the sanctioned method for this type of behavior.I think this is why disabling Facebook’s background services is so influential on battery life: I speculate they are abusing the fact that they have VOIP call features to run in the background more than they should. It would provide a better experience for people using Facebook, sure, but people would never know Facebook was the cause of their battery life issues, and would definitely blame the device or iOS itself.
  10. Settings – Mail, Contacts, and Calendars – Fetch New Data
  11. The foundational software connecting hardware and software.
  12. That number may seem small, but over a year (x365) that number turns into 1,460 minutes (about a day) to 2,960 minutes (about two days) less battery life.
  13. I really wish Apple had a “No battery percentage meter except under 20%” setting, so bad. That would be my ideal configuration. Yay, Apple semi-solved this with Low Power Mode, which I explain in Step 9.
  14. Or buy a second iPhone as your night phone 😉
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