May 4, 2011

How to Maximize & Take Care of Your iPad Battery

by Maverick Wil · 39 comments

Perhaps one of the most important things Apple doesn’t teach you with more emphasis is how to maximize and take care of your iPad battery. The same goes with many other electronic devices we use regularly such as a smart phone or laptop.

The official guide from Apple can be found here but if you’re looking for an alternative version or would appreciate some additional information, we’ve got you covered in this guide.

iPad Battery Overview: How to Charge Properly

iPad Battery Image

The iPad uses a lithium-ion polymer battery. What this means to most people (or rather what matters most) is that unlike the nickel-based batteries of yesteryear, you don’t have to use your device until the battery completely runs out before you charge it. In fact, you are not recommended to do that at all because it reduces the battery’s lifespan.

Charge your iPad as often as you wish regardless of how much battery is left BUT:

  • Don’t leave it charging past 100% for too long. Better still, once it is at 95% you can unplug. You don’t want to overcharge the battery as this also will shorten its lifespan. Therefore, overnight charging is not recommended. We suggest charging it before going to bed. Of course, some power will be used during standby while you’re asleep and also if you use the iPad right before bed but it will be minimal. Simply top up the battery in the morning while you’re getting ready for the day.*Officially, Apple does state on their support files that it is alright to charge overnight and to use docks. Technically, you can’t actually overcharge the iPad as there is circuitry built in to stop the charge once the battery reaches full capacity. However, our advice stands based on considerations we took while doing research for this guide. You can read more about this in the comments section below.
  • Try not to let your battery drop down to below 10%. Better still, charge once the indicator shows around 20%. Full discharging is just as bad for your battery when it is done too often.

Once a month, you should perform a full charge cycle to ensure proper reporting from the battery indicator. To do this simply charge the battery to 100% and then use your iPad until the battery completely depletes (iPad turns off automatically at 0%). Then charge as you would normally do.

The above steps may sound tedious which explains why Apple doesn’t put more emphasis on battery care. It’s not exactly a great addition to the overall user experience. If you are just plain lazy to keep up with charge cycles and what not, your iPad should still be alright. Apple has after all created a top notch product here. It’s not like the battery will dramatically die on you after a few months …fingers crossed.

Extending Battery Life: Practical Tips for Everyday Use

Turn 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Location Services Off When Not In Use

Settings on Home Screen

From the Home Screen, tap on “Settings”.

Settings

In Settings, you can toggle ON/OFF for your 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Location Services. When you are not using any of these, make it a habit of turning them off.

  • 3G: Settings > General > Network > Enable 3G
  • Wi-Fi: Settings > Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth: Settings > General > Bluetooth
  • Location Services: Settings > Location Services

Despite the convenience of 3G on your iPad to keep you connected at all times (if you purchased a Wi-Fi+3G model), having it on is a big battery drain compared to Wi-Fi usage which is a good reason to turn off 3G whenever you have Wi-Fi access. Alternatively, you can turn “Airplane Mode” ON under Settings to disable both Wi-Fi and 3G simultaneously.

Location Services for apps such as Maps are rarely utilized on the iPad so having it turned off by default makes sense.

Customize Notifications

Some apps will push notifications to your iPad whenever there is new data. The easy way would be to turn off notifications altogether (Tap on “Notifications” under Settings and turn it off). However, this may not be very practical. Instead, we recommend customizing the notifications you receive.

Notifications

Under Settings, tap on “Notifications” and a list of your installed apps that support push notifications will appear. You can turn notifications ON/OFF for each individual app by selecting the app you would like to customize.

Game Center Notification Setting

For an example, go ahead and tap on a game you have installed. You will be presented with the standard Sounds, Alerts and Badges ON/OFF toggles. Badges are the small red numbered boxes that appear on an app’s icon. As you can see above, we have turned off all the notifications for Game Center. We really don’t need to be notified every time there is an update from a game application. If you have 30 games installed and all 30 have push notifications, that would noticeably affect battery life.

Go through that list of apps with push notifications and turn off the ones you really don’t need.

Push Notification Prompt

As a habit whenever we download new apps, we will review the notification settings immediately upon opening the app for the first time. You may have seen the pop-up box above before. Set notifications as OFF straight away if you can decide then.

Customize Mail Notifications

If you have set up an email on the Mail app, you should know that push notifications for it are handled separately.

Mail Notifications

Under Settings, tap on “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” and then on “Fetch New Data” from the right side of the screen. “Push” is turned ON by default so that every time a new email arrives in your inbox, you will be notified on your iPad. Turning this OFF enables the Fetch feature which fetches any new data in periodic time intervals rather than on a ‘live’ basis. You can also set Fetch frequency as “Manually” which means that new data will only be fetched when you open up the app to check manually for anything new.

Adjust Screen Brightness

Adjust Screen Brightness

Under Settings, tap on “Brightness & Wallpaper”. Auto-Brightness is turned ON by default and will help decrease or increase brightness depending on your surrounding light conditions. It is an efficient way to save battery power.

However, there will be times when you will need to adjust the screen brightness manually. If you foresee yourself running out of battery, you can turn Auto-Brightness OFF and set the screen brightness to as low as you are comfortable with. Doing this can help extend battery life significantly.

Set Screen Auto-Lock

Set Screen Auto-Lock

Under Settings, “tap on General” and then on “Auto-Lock” from the right side of the screen. Auto-Lock turns off your screen after the preset time if your iPad is inactive. This feature will not activate during certain usage such as when you are watching a movie or reading a book. If you would like to turn off your screen regardless of whether Auto-Lock is ON/OFF, you can do this by pressing once on the physical button top right of your iPad.

Other Tips: Sun, Snow & Beyond

iPad Temperature Alert

In case you think the above image is a joke, it isn’t. Really. Heat will kill your battery life or temporarily disable it. In the long run over repeated exposure to excessive heat, your battery lifespan will also decrease a lot.

Apple recommends temperatures between 0º and 45º C for your iPad to operate in. So don’t leave your iPad baking in a car parked outside here in Malaysia.

Likewise, cold and altitude will affect your battery. So if you happen to be planning an arctic or Everest expedition, perhaps you should check the iPad off your packing list or at least be prepared to experience a lot of battery downtime.

Storage

Planning to NOT use your iPad for an extended period of time? That month long climb up Everest perhaps? Well storing your iPad under optimal battery condition is important too for the sake of the battery lifespan. Before you turn your iPad off for storage, charge it up to 40-60% first.

Conclusion

We know. This is an awfully lot to be said about the iPad battery. We hope we have made this guide as comprehensive as possible so that we never have to do another battery article again.

If there is something we have missed out, be sure to share it with everyone in the comments below.

 

 

  • S_h_ngiap

    can i play with ipad while charging? is it affect the battery life?

    • http://www.maverickwil.com Maverick Wil

      Play away while it’s charging. No issues with that.

  • Sharon1230

    Thank for sharing :)

    • http://www.maverickwil.com Maverick Wil

      You’re welcome. Thnx for dropping by.

  • http://fishavenue.wordpress.com/ Ashley

    These are really good tips! Thanks for sharing :)

    • http://www.maverickwil.com Maverick Wil

      Thanks for reading ;)

  • llMaracHll

    Do we need to charge the ipad for 8 hours when we first time use the device ?

    • http://www.maverickwil.com Maverick Wil

      No you don’t need to prime the battery. Simply charge until full and you can use the iPad while charging.

  • Jewel88

     Good article!

  • Contact Leong

    Great article.

    Going by your suggested battery tips and “normal” usage say 3-5 hours daily use, how long do you reckon the battery lifespan is? On the other hand, what would the battery lifespan be if we always leave it on charge every night? The reason for my questions are that if the savings aren’t material, I don’t think it’s worth all the adjustments. The one thing I’m always afraid of is the battery running low out of juice when I needed it most – including in middle of an engrossing game.

    • http://www.maverickwil.com Maverick Wil

      Battery lifespan based on normal usage…hmm… how about a very very long time. :)

      From Apple’s website: “A properly maintained iPad battery is designed to retain up to 80% of
      its original capacity at 1000 full charge and discharge cycles.”

      Let’s put that into perspective (we hope we don’t get the maths wrong lol but this is all just an approximation). We’ll assume 3-5 hours daily use takes up 30% battery life. That means roughly 3 days = 1 full charge/discharge cycle. So 365 divided by 3 days gives you about 120 cycles. At that rate, your battery will still retain up to 80% capacity even after 8 years.

      I can’t say for sure how long lifespan is going to be if you leave it on charge every night but if that is what is convenient for you by all means go ahead. What we didn’t mention in the article when it was first published (we will be amending the overnight part slightly) is that we did find on Apple’s battery support page (for the iPod which also uses li-ion) that it is alright to leave the battery charging past full capacity. We thought this made sense as there are docks that practically do the same thing (leave past charge overnight) but when we spoke to a battery ‘expert’, his opinion was that while there is smart circuitry built in to stop the charge once full capacity is reached, it is still good habit to not leave the battery charging for too long too frequently as there are other considerations to take into account such as the fact that some countries have irregular voltage levels, the occurrence of voltage spikes, etc. So since there were conflicting advices, we took the stance of advising people not to overcharge based on basic li-ion battery care, which is assuming there are different types of control circuitry built in. We certainly have no idea what technology Apple is using.

      That being said, Apple is smart enough to ensure that the iPad works fine under normal usage however much or little you care for your battery. So no need to worry TOO much but we reckon all this information is good to know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/M.NISMILAN Zain Anwar

    can use ipad? while its charging

    • http://www.maverickwil.com Maverick Wil

      Yes you can. Not a problem with that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/M.NISMILAN Zain Anwar

    can use ipad? while its charging

  • Caiyin30

    great article!!!! getting my ipad2 real soon…thanks for sharing!!!!!

  • Rex

    Sorry, May I asking a stupud question?
    is it ipad 2 can format the system and change to Windows ?

  • Huis

    sorry may i ask  when you recieve your new ipad 2 how long will it take to charge initially before you can start?

    • http://www.maverickwil.com Maverick Wil

      No pre-charge is necessary. You can use it right out of the box.

      • Unknown

        I had to charge mine

  • Ripondhar88

    if battery need to change what should i do?

    • Foxy iguana

      Plug it in duh!!!!!!!

  • Break

    thanks for this great info(:

  • Glen Denver

    may I ask, for 1st time charge would be how long.. :)

  • Rix_2172

    i just bought i pad.. i can just straight away use it right?? i dont have to charge or sumtin like that??

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/IPad-Case/100003355337077 IPad Case

    Thanks :) you are the pro in saving the Ipad battery

  • Ayahtaha

    Thanks for the article. Do you prefer to make auto-lock ”never” ? 

  • Hector Ramirez

    Good Article. a little confused though when you say to not let the battery drop below 10% as full discharge is bad if done too often and then in the next paragraph you state to discharge completely once a month? so how much is too often?? 

    • Guest

      More than once a month…..LOL!

  • Yorris

    Is it okay if we charge our iPad for about 8 hours for the first time .

  • Eliana Kistina

    What will happen to my iPad if I always did the overnight charging?

  • Ymselsabil

    well…thats a relief about the battery…you sure answered all our worries..ha ha…one can be too cautious sometimes!! but,..it was avery good article anyway..thanks again!!

  • Macdante97

    Hi, can you synch argue the iPad at like 60%, and take it off the charger and go out with it at 73%? Dies charging then stop it from charging bad?

    • Macdante97

      *sync and charge the iPad
      *Does charging it then stop it from charging kill batter lifespan?

  • Flor

    My charger broke so my ipad was dead for a few days. It won’t turn on what’s happening?

  • http://www.facebook.com/TieganChau Tiegan Chau

    Can i take my ipad out when it is not fully charged?

  • LKP

    Awesome! Thanks for your tips:) P.S Can I play with my iPad Retina while charging? Will it affect my battery/battery lifespan.? :D Thanks Alot! :) )

  • Jason

    Charging from 5% to 100% WHILE USING considered as one charge cycle only? Or have to consider the drains of the usage as well?

  • hello

    can i take off an ipad while charging even though it is not 95-100% like i took it off when it only got like 30%

  • Dave

    Thanks for showing concern with our ipads. Learned a lot from this article. Blessings…