The ultimate guide to your iPhone and its battery

Your iPhone battery is a complex creature. Its little Lithium-ion polymer mind can seem hell bent on halting your handset just when you need it the most. But fear not. Pocket-lint is here to help with our complete guide on everything you need to know about your Apple mobile's power house from its likes and dislikes to how to teach it a lesson when it misbehaves. Learn to love your battery and it might just learn to love you back.

The first thing to think know is how long you're supposed to get out of it. The slightly clunky figures offered by Apple vouch for 5 hours of 3G talk time, 12 hours of 2G talk time, 5 hours browsing with 3G, 9 hours on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback, 30 hour of audio and 300 hours standby - sadly not all together on the one charge - but the rough rule of thumb is that the iPhone is supposed to last you from morning to night. So, if your handset doesn't seem to be spanning the gap or you just want to eek out a few more hours, then here's plenty of techniques you can use:

Keep your charger with you
We may as well start with the bleeding obvious here but still worth considering. Now, uou may want to keep your charger at home in case you leave it somewhere by accident but you could always either buy yourself a second which you might have at work or knocking around inside your bag. Perhaps the simplest and easiest of all is to just keep your charge cable on you. That way, there's no issues with carrying around a chunky pronged brick and you can top up your phone on any computer with a USB port or another Apple charger that might be over at a friend's house. Do watch out though if you're charging from a computer. If the machine is switched off or goes into sleep mode, it might begin to drain power from your phone.

Battery Performance

Buy a battery pack
Of course, you can't buy a spare battery due to their non-removable nature but there's plenty of battery pack solutions which you can plug into your mobile to lend it some juice. Some are solar powered, some you charge up in the wall but it won't take much of a web search to find one at a reasonable price. See the usual host of iPeriphery manufacturers.

Overkill
With more and more features on the iPhone as each generation comes out, it's become very easy to suck the thing dry in a matter of hours. Bear in mind that certain functions are going to be seriously battery heavy. The obvious ones are video playback, location-based services and GPS, 3G browsing and Bluetooth but it's also worth considering how much work you're asking you iPhone to do in the background. Push e-mail and notification means that your phone is constantly calling in to the web to perform checks on your inbox. One option is to give it fewer accounts to look through or to set the frequency interval down to some thing much lower.

Switching the Wi-Fi network search off is another solution. So long as you've already got programmed in you usual home and business networks, one doesn't often use free Wi-Fi out and about. Another slightly more dramatic idea is to turn off 3G and rely on EDGE connectivity instead and a little know fact is that EQ on the audio uses up more power than standard playback too. Another one there that you can strip out of your options.

The trouble with the tips in this little section, though, is that they do rather spoil the whole point of buying an iPhone in the first place. That said, to quote one user:

"Got 11 days from my iPhone on standby with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off. Use a smartphone like a laptop and it'll last like a laptop."

Monitor your usage
If you don't want to cut all the chords, you can always examine your iPhone usage to see when it disappears. Go to your Settings menu and then to General>Usage and it'll tell you how much time the phone has spent "Active" and that includes all modes other than Standby, be it checking e-mails, on calls and all the background tasks that your phone does as well. It'll give you some indication of how much power the phone is draining when you're not even apparently using it. You can then start switching off some of the functions mentioned above one by one in priority order until you've reached a better balance.

Airplane Mode
Another way to go would be to use Airplane mode which effectively cuts all those battery sucking background services and connections in one fell swoop. Obviously, there's no point in doing that all the time otherwise you may as well just have an MP3 player but when you reach for the Silent button, you might want to wonder whether Airplane mode would actually be more appropriate. An important meeting or going to the cinema would be an ideal time for this.

Lock your phone
Along the same lines, make sure you lock your phone when you're not using it and it's bouncing around inside your pocket. It's got an excellent touchscreen which will quite happily have a good old chat with the lining of your trousers or be obliging enough to start up YouTube on command of your eye-liner.

Pesky Apps
Yes, they're fun but some of them are an absolute killer on your battery life. You know the ones. Like the flashlight which just turns your screen a bright white for as long as you leave it on and anything which vibrates constantly. By all means, enjoy, but know the price that you're paying.

However, do watch the sneaky apps that run in the background without you knowing, quietly sucking down your charge like Mynocks on power cables. Press and hold the home button to shut them all off.

Update your software
There's plenty of efforts that Apple has gone to to make sure your battery lasts as long as it can. An under-clocked processor is one thing but the software itself is continually worked on and improved to make sure the phone runs as efficiently as possible. Update to the iPhone 3.0 software and you should reap some benefits on battery too.

Re-recharge
Most of the Ni and Li based batteries work by quick charging for the first part of, what is in this case, a four hour charge but there's no danger in overloading the battery because it switches to a trickle charge later in the cycle as the voltage rises. What you could do is plug the iPhone in for a second time immediately after it's charged and it should act as if it's in the quick part of the cycle again and top the battery up as much as it can.

The possible downside of this is that it could effect the lifespan of the battery, as opposed to its performance. You have been warned.

Battery Lifespan

Rechargeable batteries do not work forever as many of you who are reading this on power adaptor tethered laptops will know. The same, of course, is true for the iPhone battery. Apple says that it will maintain at least 80% of its working capacity over 400 complete charging cycles. That's not always going to be the case, thought, and the phone comes with a one year warranty during which they'll replace it if it drops below 50%. After that, you'll have to pay for another but if you want to make sure that day never comes then watch out for the following:

Use your phone regularly
There's something very wrong with the picture if you're not but all cells like this are based on the movement of electrons and it's important to give them a good shake up every now and then.

Charge Cycles
Make sure you completely charge and use up the battery of your phone at least once a month. Again, this is about making sure you're exercising the whole capacity.

Keep Cool
The iPhone operates best at room temperature (22C) but you shouldn't have too many problems anywhere between 0-35C. However, step outside that and you're going to see a serious degradation of battery lifespan and performance. So, no leaving it in hot cars, out on your sun lounger or next to the fire.

If you've found any other ways that work for you and yours then drop us some hints in the comments below.