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
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
From the Home Screen, tap on “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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.