Juice your battery with iOS Focus modes

12/03/22

I've found a simple way to tune my iPhone to extend its battery life by a lot - it lasts about 2 days of regular usage now. I never get battery anxiety anymore because its lifetime between charges is way more than adequate, even if I'm lazy about charging it.

It wasn't obvious to me that this is possible so I thought I'd document how to do it. It relies on the new "Focus" feature along with Automations to shut things off when I don't need them. This is using iOS 16.1.2 at time of writing.

1. Create a "Home" Focus

Go to Settings > Focus and create a new Focus called "Home"

2. Give the Home Focus a Location Schedule

Open the Home Focus settings and set a schedule with one or more locations that you consider home, which have Wi-Fi. In my case I have my house and an art studio in NYC.

Make sure the "Automation" toggle is on so this happens in the background without you having to do anything.

Also, do not turn on a "smart activation" schedule - it's not smart and makes this not work for some reason.

3. Turn on Wi-Fi Calling

Go to Settings > Phone and enable Wi-Fi Calling.

4. Set up Automations

Open the Shortcuts app and create 4 different Automations:

  1. When going to sleep, turn off Bluetooth
  2. When waking up, turn on Bluetooth and turn on the Home Focus
  3. When turning on Home Focus, turn off Cellular Data
  4. When turning off Home Focus, turn on Cellular Data

Essentially what this does is it turns off bluetooth when you're asleep, and turns off cellular data while you're home. The first two obviously rely on you using the sleep schedule feature of iOS, and only matter if you sometimes keep your phone unplugged at night.

Caveats

This probably works better for me than most because I live in a house where there is extremely poor phone service and no cellular data, so I have to rely on Wi-Fi for everything anyway and my phone was seemingly burning a ton of battery all day and night searching for a cellular signal (and quickly dying... WTF).

However, even if you have cellular signal at home, you don't really need to be using it do you? So I think most people could do this.

With these changes, I can leave it unplugged overnight and it uses virtually zero battery. And during the day while I'm home, it only relies on Wi-Fi so it can conserve all the power it takes to run the cellular antenna. Now it only uses cellular data when it actually needs it - away from home.

Here you can see that I wasn't charging overnight, and the battery level stayed basically flat:

There's probably more complicated ways to improve off this foundation, but I find it very effective already. I love optimizing stuff like this. Hope it helps someone!

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