13+ Ways to Extend your iPad’s Battery Life

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I have now been the lucky owner of an iPad for a little over an week now, and each day I’m becoming yet more attached to it. But this article is not about my “love affair.” It’s more about keeping the love running as long as possible, namely getting the most out of the iPad’s battery, which isn’t too shabby on its own.

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Before I got my hands on the iPad, I was hearing all sorts of great things about how long the battery lasted. When I got mine all loaded up with much of the same apps and configurations as my iPhone, I noticed something odd. I was motoring through the battery, a lot faster that I had anticipated. On my iPhone, I use a Mophie Juice Pack Air, which, coupled with my iPhone’s battery, lasts about a day of active use.

So, I needed to figure out what was causing my iPad to suck though its battery charge so quickly (and let me qualify “quickly” – it would go through about 50% of the battery in about a day, which is still quite good). I had to make a decision which many people may need to make as well: do you want to mimic your smart phone (e.g. iPhone) or can you survive with a different type of functionality? Simply stated, the iPad is not an iPhone and should be configured differently. My iPhone is a “Communication Device” and my iPad is a “Media Consumption & Media Creation Device.”

Here are some tips and things to think about when you set up your iPad:

  1. Limit Email Accounts – Don’t put all of your email accounts on there, just the ones you need. When your iPad is polling, it consumes energy. Minimizing the number of email accounts to poll is important.
  2. Tweak Email Settings – Change the schedule and type of email retrieval – Don’t use “Push”, change “Fetch” frequency to something longer or to “manual” which only polls when you activate the Mail application. The only Push that I left on was for Mobile Me so that I could use the “Find my iPad” functionality with Mobile Me (which is really great since you can locate your iPad, push a message to it, remote lock it and even remote wipe it).
  3. Reduce Brightness – Lower the brightness settings of your screen from the default 50%. At night, or in a dim environment, use a low setting (it helps your eyes too!).
  4. Power Down Bluetooth – If you don’t need to use Bluetooth, turn it off. Only turn it on when needed.
  5. Turn Off WiFi When Roaming – When not near WiFi, turn it off so it isn’t searching for available WiFi access points.
  6. No Push – Turn off Push Notifications. The background process will slowly drain the juice of your battery.
  7. Fully Recharge – Let the battery fully run down before you recharge, it helps to condition it.
  8. No Gaming – Don’t play games – yeah right! That’s what it’s made for! If you aren’t concerned about battery life, then Game ON!
  9. No Theater – Stay away from movies or video streaming – music with the screen off is fine. But really, that’s part of what the iPad is for, right?
  10. Minimize 3G Usage – If you have a 3G version, minimize those cellular data sessions and even turn of that unless you really need it.
  11. Don’t Track – Don’t use location services, just turn it off. Just remember that it may affect the functionality of some applications as well as the Mobile Me Find my iPad.
  12. Yes To Quick Autolock – Autolock is a good idea for security and turning off your screen. When your screen is dark, there is minimal power consumption. Use a short timing for the lock screen.
  13. Equalizer Off – Turn off the iPod equalizer – yeah, it the processor uses up some extra juice to add bass or treble to your music “artificially.” 
    Can’t end on an unlucky 13, so, here’s one more…
  14. Room Temperature – Operate your iPad between 35 and 85 degrees, lower or higher is just not nice to it. Room temperature is best.

Obviously, if you follow all of these tips, you sort of defeat the entire concept of the iPad. It is, after all, a “Media Consumption Device” so, playing games and movies and interacting with it in general is what it is made for. A combination of some of the tips will do wonders! And, of course, many of these tips can also be applied to your iPhone as well. Lastly, there will most likely be more recommendations when Multitasking is released in OS 4.0 coming in the Fall for the iPad.

What is interesting is that the iPad’s battery is about 5 times as powerful as the iPhone, according to an iFixIt.com teardown, and it consists of two 3.75V lithium polymer cells combined together:

iFixit_ipad_battery

dual_iPad_batteries
image source = iFixIt.com

According to iFixIt, the iPad’s battery is a 3.75V, 24.8 watt-hour battery (the iPhone has a 4.51 watt-hour battery and the MacBook Air has a 40 watt-hour battery).

Another thing that is important to remember: when you charge your iPad, you should use a fully powered USB port to get a faster charge. The iPad needs to be charged with a high current of 2 amperes. Standard USB ports from computers only provide 500 milliamperes or 1 ampere, according to Wikipedia. Some older MacBook Pros, like mine for example, don’t have enough power going to the USB port to charge while the iPad’s screen is on. However, once you lock the screen (and it goes dark), charging is enabled. For the fasted charge, use the provided USB cable with the wall plug adapter. More information about charging your iPad can be found here on Apple’s site.

Do you have any useful battery preservation tips? Please be sure to share them!

HTD says: I actually am quite impressed with the iPad’s battery, but with these tips in effect, I’m even happier!

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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