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 😉
What is Wi-Fi Assist?

What is Wi-Fi Assist?

Wi-Fi Assist makes your iPhone more aggressive in jumping off of Wi-Fi and onto 4G LTE.

There are a few exceptions where Wi-Fi Assist won’t work:

  • If you’re already data roaming.
  • If the app trying to use it is in the background. Basically, it only works for apps that are in the forefront and active.
  • Doesn’t work with most third-party apps that download audio, video, or large attachments such as a video app, music streaming service, or an email app that might download big documents or photos.

Why It’s Awesome

Wi-Fi Assist solves this annoying problem in real life: you’re just on the outer edge of terrible Wi-Fi signal, so your iPhone is desperately trying to use Wi-Fi even though it’s too far away to actually go through.

It happens all the time to me when I’m leaving my apartment, just as I’m getting in my car I have just enough Wi-Fi signal for my iPhone to try to use Wi-Fi instead of LTE, but not enough Wi-Fi for anything to actually work. Sometimes I’ve sat for minutes, even driving around the parking lot before my iPhone will connect to the Internet, which is when I need to be playing my Apple Music playlist or navigating. I often resorted to simply turning Wi-Fi off and back on just to get my iPhone to connect to LTE.

Some people don’t like having Wi-Fi assist enabled because it can majorly run up your bill if parts of your house have weak Wi-Fi signal, like this poor kid who ran up a $2,000 cellular data bill. Ouch. Some people even tried to sue Apple because the feature was enabled in the iOS 9 update without customer consent.

How to Enable or Disable Wi-Fi Assist

It’s incredibly easy to enable or disable this feature if you know where to look.

Settings > Cellular > then scroll ALL the way to the bottom, and you’ll see the switch. Green is enabled, grey is disabled.

You can also see how much cellular data your iPhone has used if you have at least updated to iOS 9.3 or later.

What Devices Can Use Wi-Fi Assist?

According to official Apple documentation on Wi-Fi Assist, any device running iOS 9 or later can use Wi-Fi Assist except the following devices:

  • iPhone 4s
  • iPad 2 (with cellular)
  • iPad 3 (with cellular)
  • iPad mini 1 (with cellular)

 

What To Do When Your iPhone Gets Wet

What To Do When Your iPhone Gets Wet

Uh oh! Your iPhone fell in the pool/lake/ocean/bath/washing machine/sink/toilet! What now? Are all of your photos gone? How do I get a new phone?

These are all really important questions. For most people, losing your iPhone for a few days due to water damage is the equivalent of having an arm removed: we rely on them so much these days for everyday communication that it really hurts to be down.

We feel you.

So here’s our best advice on how to get your iPhone fixed and your data restored.

1. Don’t Try to Turn it On

When an iPhone gets wet, the first reaction is to try to turn it on to see if it still works. Please resist the temptation, because trying to turn on the device can work against you. There may be water on the circuit boards inside and it can cause something to get fried!

We want your iPhone to be resurrected too, just don’t try to turn it on.

2. Put it in Rice While You Figure Stuff Out

You may have heard of the ol’ rice trick, and guess what: it actually works a lot of the time. So, our advice is to put your iPhone into a ziplock bag of uncooked, unseasoned rice while you sort out the details. It can’t hurt anything to get it in rice until you’re back online. We’ve actually seen this bring some devices to life!

For maximum effectiveness, it’s best to keep the device in rice for 24+ hours. It takes a while for the rice to suck out the moisture, so give it some time before you try to turn it on again.

3. Don’t Get it Fixed Anywhere but an Apple Store

Even if your iPhone isn’t under warranty, we recommend getting your iPhone repaired by Apple. You can check your warranty by putting in your serial number into this website. If you’re not sure how to find your serial number, go to this site and follow the instructions from Apple.

Apple has the ability to completely replace your device that same day, even if it’s way out of warranty, for a reasonable price. And, if you have a warranty, you could save a ton of money.

Getting your submerged iPhone/iPad fixed anywhere else but Apple will void all of your warranties with Apple and can be extremely costly down the road.

If you can, make a Genius bar appointment at your nearest Apple Store to get a replacement set up. If you can’t make an appointment, Apple has opened up to take more walk-in appointments, so just go up there.

What will it cost to replace?

Here are the costs to replacing a water-damaged iOS device:

Water Damaged iPad 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

Water Damaged iPhone Replacement Costs

 iPhone Model  Replace Device  AppleCare+ Replacement
Original $149  NA
3G  $149   NA
 3GS  $149   NA
 4  $149  $49
4S  $199  $49
5  $269  $49
5C  $269  $79
5s  $269  $79
6  $299  $79
6 Plus  $329  $79
6s  $299  $99
6s Plus  $329  $99

iPod Touch will usually run between $150-200 for replacement, depending on which model. You can see the complete list of iPod replacement costs at Apple’s iPod Touch Support site.

How to Restore Your Data

The easiest way to get your data back is to restore from iCloud or restore from iTunes.

If you already have a backup, you can have a replacement with all of your data on it that same day. That’s pretty awesome service if you ask us!

How to Stop Your iPhone from Vibrating Randomly

How to Stop Your iPhone from Vibrating Randomly

Does your iPhone ever vibrate randomly, but when you check it, there is no notification anywhere to be found? This is not a phantom vibration syndrome, and you are not imagining things.

The reason this is happening is usually because of Mail notifications. You may say, “I’ve turned off all my mail notifications, what do you mean?!” Well, there is one sneaky setting you might have missed — the vibration setting.

Turn off Vibration for Mail Notifications

  1. Head over to Settings > Sounds > New Mail
  2. Tap on ‘Vibration’
  3. Set it to ‘None’

With this setting on, even if you turn off all Mail sounds and notifications, your phone will vibrate every time it receives a new email.

There is one more place we need to check. iOS 7 added another place to manage Mail notifications.

Another Place to Check Mail Notifications

  1. Go to Settings > Notification Center > Mail
  2. Tap on the Account(s) you use for email
  3. Tap on Alerts
  4. Make sure the Alert Tone and Vibration are set to ‘None’
  5. Repeat for any other email accounts on your device

An alternate solution to the problem is to turn on notifications for VIPs or for an entire account. The latter option is not ideal for most people because that means you will be alerted for every email that comes in, including the spam. [footnote]Now you’ll be notified every time a Nigerian prince wants to transfer funds to your account![/footnote]

VIPs are just that: very important people you designate in iOS 7 [footnote]Also works in iOS 6.[/footnote] or Mac OS X Mavericks [footnote]Also works in 10.8 Mountain Lion.[/footnote] Designating someone as a VIP in either iOS or Mac OS X will allow you to set a different set of notification preferences.

For example, if you designate your spouse, boss, and good friends as VIPs, you can customize your notifications to vibrate, ding, show a banner, or show up on the lock screen for just your VIPs and not the rest of the annoying spam you get throughout the day.

Here’s how you do it.

Customize Notifications for VIPs

  1. Settings > Notification Center > Mail
  2. Tap on VIP [footnote]Or tap on Account if you want to receive notifications for an entire account. Just to be clear, if you turn these on for an entire account, you will receive a notification for every single email that comes to that account. You’ve been warned :)[/footnote]
  3. Customize the Notification style to your preferences

If you have done all of these steps and your phone is still vibrating randomly, be sure to check the notifications for your apps. The way that iOS 7 handles notifications is very confusing, and it’s difficult to disable notifications completely for apps. It’s possible you have an app set up for Sound notifications but have the Badge, Alert Style, and Notification Center settings switched off.

To check the notification settings for your apps, go to Settings > Notification Center. You should see a list of all of the apps on your device that support Notifications. Under the name of each app, you will see four possible words: Badges, Sounds, Banners, or Alerts. Scroll down the list and make sure there aren’t any apps with just ‘Sounds’ enabled. You may think you’ve turned off notifications for an app, but accidentally left ‘Sounds’ on. The resulting behavior is a sound or vibration without a visual indicator of where it is coming from.

I hope this article stops the random vibrations and allows you to get back to life and work instead of trying to figure out why your iOS device is vibrating all the time. If you are still feeling random vibrations after this, you may have phantom vibration syndrome and need to see a shrink. [footnote];)[/footnote]

iCloud Backup Explained in Layman’s Terms

iCloud Backup Explained in Layman’s Terms

iCloud Backup is a service that carbon copies of all of your data onto one of Apple’s computers every 24 hours. That means all of your data will have a mirror image made every day. It’s pretty amazing.

Ever wonder why your iPhone or iPad keeps saying, “You haven’t backed up in 37 days?” or “Your iCloud Backup cannot complete because you do not have enough Storage?” Here’s our simple explanation to solve this for you.

What Is Backed Up?

According to Apple’s latest documentation on iCloud Backup, here is a list of what is backed up in iOS 10:

  • Purchase history for music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books
  • Photos and videos on your iOS devices
  • However, if you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your iOS device (iOS 8.1 or later) or Mac (OS X v10.10.3 or later), your photos and videos are already stored in iCloud, so they aren’t included in your iCloud backup.
  • Device settings
  • Call History
  • App data
  • Home screen and app organization
  • iMessage, text (SMS), and MMS messages (requires the SIM card that was in use during backup)
  • Ringtones
  • Visual Voicemail password (requires the SIM card that was in use during backup)
  • Health data
  • HomeKit configuration
  • Data for any currently paired Apple Watch

This is a great thing because it means you could lose your phone, drop it in the toilet, or shatter it on the ground and when you get it replaced you will theoretically never be more than 24 hours away from a fresh backup of all of your pictures, videos, text messages, and apps. It’s the same thing as a Time Machine backup on the Mac, just on one of Apple’s storage facilities instead of your own external hard drive.

Quick Note: iTunes and App Store content is not backed up, meaning it isn’t counting against your storage. For apps, iCloud Backup only backs up the data inside the apps, not the apps themselves. The apps themselves are re-downloaded from the App Store. Same goes for content from the iTunes Store: Apple already has a copy in their iTunes server and so they don’t need to back it up again or use your storage.

Here’s the trick, iCloud Backup needs three things to backup your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch successfully:

  1. Enough iCloud Storage
  2. Plugged into Power
  3. Connected to Wi-Fi

The main reason it needs power and Wi-Fi is so that it won’t drain your battery or data plan to run a backup. Thanks, Apple!

How to Back Up to iCloud

1. Purchase Enough iCloud Storage

To make sure you have enough iCloud Storage, head over to the following locations on your iPhone or iPad.

iOS 7 — Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup

iOS 8 — Settings > iCloud > Storage

Once you’re there, you will be notified of how much storage you have left in iCloud, along with an estimate of how much more you’ll need. From there, you can purchase additional storage by pressing Buy More Storage.

Plans range from 5GB for free and $20/month for 1TB of storage. That is overkill for most people, so most people will either be on the 20GB or 200GB plans for $1 or $4 a month, respectively. Here is a list of the current storage pricing for your country.

2. Plug Into Power Long Enough to Backup

One common problem that keeps people from doing iCloud Backups is that they never plug their device in long enough to let the backup finish. If you’re the kind of person that plugs their device in 20 times a day for 15 minutes, you may be getting a message that says, “Plug into power to finish your iCloud backup.”

The fix is easy: plug it up when you go to bed every night instead of piecemeal throughout the day.

3. Connect to Wi-Fi

We are a mobile society, so it’s very likely that you are moving in and out of different Wi-Fi networks throughout the day. This can cause your backup to never complete because it never has enough time to finish.

If you have a lot of photos or videos, it can exacerbate the problem because your large backup may take 8 hours to fully complete but you are never in Wi-Fi for more than 1 hour during the day.

iCloud Backup is a wonderful tool to protect the data that you don’t lose the precious photos, memories, or data inside your iPhone or iPad.

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