While iPhones are truly a modern day marvel of technology, we can only take them as far as their batteries will last. All that screen time spent browsing the internet, answering emails, playing games, and snapping selfies can really eat into the battery reserves. The last thing you want is to sit around twiddling your thumbs while your iPhone takes forever to charge back up.
Battery life can vary widely depending on what you’re doing with your phone. You’ll go through your battery faster when you’re streaming video over the cellular network than if you’re just checking your messages here and there. Apple says its latest iPhones have the best battery life yet, but we’ll still find ways to drain them down.
Fortunately, there are ways to make sure the recharging process is as efficient as possible. Follow these tips to get your iPhone juiced up and ready to run for hours.
Put an iPad charger to work
If you already have an iPad charger kicking around, you may be able to use it to charge your iPhone faster than with your smartphone’s standard charger. Apple says you can use 12W and 10W USB power adapters made for iPads and Mac notebooks with the iPhone 6 and up.
If you’re not sure what adapter you have, take a look at the fine print on the back of it. Many recent iPad models have shipped with a 10W adapter, which should charge your phone faster than the lower-power 5W adapter that comes in the box with an iPhone.
Turn your phone off (or use airplane mode)
If time is of the essence, then shut your phone down while you’re charging it. This will help you resist the temptation to keep playing that game or streaming the latest show while you charge. Your iPhone will fill up faster if you abstain from using it. If you don’t want to shut it down all the way, then just switch it to airplane mode.
Chill it out
The iPhone is designed to work best within reasonable operating temperatures and it will charge up most efficiently when it’s within that range. “Charging your device when it’s inside certain styles of cases may generate excess heat, which can affect battery capacity,” says Apple. The company advises removing your iPhone from its case if it seems to be getting hot while charging.
Fast-charge certain iPhones
If you have an iPhone 8 or later, then you can take advantage of fast-charging technology. Apple says this can get your phone charged up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes, but you need to use the proper charging gear, and it comes at a price.
You’ll need to have an USB-C to Lightning cable handy, for starters. Right now, only Apple offers an authorized version of this cable and it will cost you $19. Next, you’ll need a USB-C power brick. Naturally, Apple offers these, too, but you can also look to third-party USB-C chargers like the $30 Anker PowerPort II.
All of this charging gear represents an added cost on top of what you’ve already paid for your phone. It could be worth it to you if you often find yourself in situations where your battery is dangerously low and you don’t have the luxury of extra time. But weigh that against just using a portable battery backup device.
Update to the latest OS
Apple has a history of working energy-saving upgrades into its operating system updates. So go ahead and make sure your iPhone is running the latest system so you can get the most time out of your phone between charges.
If you own an iPhone XS or XS Max, there’s another compelling reason why you should stay on top of updates. Some users have reported issues with these new phones not charging properly when the screens are off.
Apple’s iOS 12.1 update is already out in beta and the wide-release version is due this fall. The update should fix the XS charging issues. In the meantime, you can make sure the screen is on when you plug in to charge, or try unplugging the lightning cable and plugging it back in. Then, be sure to upgrade to 12.1 when it comes out.