iOS 9 Feature Preview: Improved Battery life and the all-new Low Power mode

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 12 Jun 2015

iOS 9 logo

At Apple’s WWDC 2015 keynote, the company gave iOS users a pleasant surprise by announcing that iOS 9 will offer “even longer battery life”. Apple claims that iOS 9 will extend iPhone and iPad’s battery life by an additional hour. They have achieved this feat by making the entire operating system, apps and key technologies more efficient. 
Apple hasn’t provided a lot of details about how it has achieved it, but it briefly mentions that iOS 9 will use ambient light and proximity sensors to detect when your iPhone is facedown on the table and prevent the screen from turning on even when you receive a notification.

But one of the major features is the all-new Low Power mode, which can extend your iPhone’s battery life by 3 hours.

How does it work?

Low Power mode extends your iPhone’s battery life by 3 additional hours, but it comes at a cost. The new mode reduces performance and multitasking activity to extend battery life. When it is turned on features like Mail fetch, Background App refresh, motion effects and animated wallpapers are disabled.

The disabling of Mail fetch means that it won’t fetch the emails automatically for you, and you will get emails only when you open the Mail app. Similarly, apps won’t update their content automatically. Content based apps that use the Background App refresh functionality to keep themselves refreshed will be able to download new content only when you launch the app.

How to use Low Power mode?

If you’re on the go and realize that you may run out of battery life before you can get a chance to charge your iPhone, then you can manually enable Low Power mode by following these steps.

  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Tap on Battery.
  • Then tap on the toggle next to Low Power Mode to enable it.

iOS 9 - Low Power mode

  • You will get a popup informing you that when you turn on Low Power mode:
    • Mail is only fetched manually
    • Background app refresh and downloads are disabled.
    • Motion and brightness are reduced.
    • Network speed may be reduced.
  •  Tap on Continue to turn on Low Power mode.

iOS 9 - Low Power mode

How do I know my iPhone or iPad is in Low Power mode?

While you can always open the Settings app, and check whether Low Power mode has been enabled by navigating to Settings > Battery, Apple has made it easier to visually tell users that they’ve enabled it. The battery indicator turns yellow when you’ve enabled Low Power mode.

iOS 9 - low power mode indicator

Other Interesting details

  • The Battery Usage can now be found under Settings > Battery instead of Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage.
  • Battery Usage has a new hidden feature. When you tap on the detail view icon, it displays the amount of on-screen time and background time for each app or process. It can be quite helpful in figuring out which apps are draining battery life.

iOS 9 - Battery usage

Battery usage with detail icon disabled (left), Battery usage with detail icon enabled (right)

  • iOS 9 also seems to come with a new widget for Battery Status indicator. However, I am not able to figure out how to enable the widget on my iPhone 5s. Let me know if you’ve any tips. Screenshot via Javier Sato.

iOS 9 - Battery widget


  • The Low Power mode will automatically turn off when the battery has reached 80%, and you will get a notification for it. Thanks Chin for the tip!

iOS 9 - Low Power mode - 80% battery

What are the beta testers saying about battery life?

Most of our readers are reporting that they’re not seeing the improvement in battery life that Apple is promising after upgrading to iOS 9. They’re saying that the battery life is draining faster.

I think it is too early to jump to a conclusion, and we should wait for iOS 9 to be released to the public later this fall. It is great to see Apple making battery life a priority. If only they can stop their obsession of making their devices thinner.

If you’ve installed iOS 9 beta, let me know your experience in the comments below.

Other articles from our iOS 9 Feature Preview series:

➤ iOS 9 Feature Preview: You can finally save or add any type of attachment in the Mail app