Apple devotees have scrutinized the new iPad’s battery life and charging status since the tablet’s debut last month. Whether you are using a brand new device, or still relying on an original iPad, there are tips that can help maximize both your iPad’s battery life — (time it takes to discharge during daily use) and battery lifespan (time until battery needs replacement).
How you use an iPad affects how quickly the device uses up the power stored in its rechargeable battery. Apple recommends device settings and a charging protocol that will help ensure that your tablet is ready to go when you are.
First, keep your software updated. To check your software, go to the Settings app, tap general, tap Software Update, then follow the instructions on the screen.
Your iPad prefers a temperate climate. Apple recommends keeping your device as close as possible to 72° F (22° C). While that isn’t always practical, it makes sense to minimize the amount of time that an iPad spends where temperatures fluctuate. So don’t leave it in the trunk of your car on a very hot or cold day.
First, learn to use the iPad’s native Settings app. It controls most of the features that affect battery life:
The iPad’s screen brightness setting defaults to Auto-Brightness (devices adjust to changing conditions), but turning that feature off, and then dimming the iPad screen brightness with the slider (which appears under Brightness & Wallpaper in Settings) will slow a battery’s discharge. When I tested this feature I found I could lower the screen brightness all the way to around 25 percent before the screen became uncomfortably dim to use.
Turn off Wi-Fi or 3G/4G settings if you don’t need them. Use Airplane Mode to keep Wi-Fi or cellular signals from draining your battery in a low-coverage (or no coverage) area. Since the iPad always tries to connect to an available network, setting it to Airplane mode tells the iPad to stop looking to connect, and subsequently slows battery discharge. Wi-Fi tablet owners, for example, might want to try this on long car rides. New iPad users can turn off 4G LTE and simply use 3G/4G to save some battery power as well.
Push, fetch, and auto-check e-mail accounts less frequently or not at all. If you can live without push mail or other app’s push notifications, turn them off. Setting the iPad to fetch data less frequently, and instructing it to auto-check limited email accounts will also slow the rate at which the battery discharges. Control how apps use notifications through Notifications in Settings.
Use location services judiciously. Apps that use location services drain battery juice. When a new app asks if it can use your current location, feel free to say no. You can see a list of which apps use location services, and permit this connection by tapping Location Services in Settings.
Lock your iPad by tapping the sleep/wake button once when it is not in use. The Smart Cover and other similar devices perform this function automatically.
When charging the battery, try to use the 10W USB power adapter instead of plugging the device directly into a USB 2.0 port. Also note that not all USB 2.0 ports are powerful enough to charge an iPad. Plugging into a weak USB 2.0 port generates a “Not Charging” message next to the battery icon. I see this message when I connect to the USB 2.0 port on the keyboard of my iMac, but when I plug the iPad into the USB 2.0 port on the back of the iMac itself, the iPad charges.
Plan to run your iPad through a complete charge cycle (from 100 percent charged to completely discharged) once per month. And note that the new iPad has a larger battery, so it should take longer to charge than previous models.
Please share your experiences regarding battery life and battery lifespan for any iPad model in the comments.