With the release of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, a lot of tech nerds, collectors and Apple cultists are upgrading ASAP. Whether they’re interested in the iPhone X’s edge-to-edge display, the iPhone 8’s snappy new a11 chip or simply to enjoy the tingling feeling they’ll get when someone sees they have the latest and greatest from Apple, they’re making sure they’re the first to get their hands on it. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with any of that.
But not everyone will be looking to upgrade. Some critics don’t see a large enough difference between the 7 and 8 to care, and others don’t see the justification of dropping a thousand buckaroos to cop the X. Trust me, I get it.
Just because you’re not looking to make the leap and upgrade yet doesn’t mean your current phone is trash. In fact, there’s a lot you could be doing to make sure you’re squeezing every ounce of sauce out of your old iPhone.
1. Disable Push Notifications
When you get push notifications delivered to your phone — from apps, game updates, the stock market, news, weather, emails, etc. — it makes your phone light up. It might not sound like that big a deal, but every email, every text message, every snap, every fucking Groupon deal (seriously Groupon, cut the shit), means energy is getting drained from your battery — even when you’re not using it.
If you go to Settings > Notifications, you can control exactly which apps have the ability to send you push notifications. Turn off the non-essentials, and keep as much of your battery life as possible.
2. Take a Look at Your Hard Drive Space
Your apps use a lot of space on your phone. And the “bulkier” and more bloated those apps become, they not only take up more physical storage on your hard drive, but they also take up more RAM and gum everything up. Some podcast apps save entire podcasts, even after you’re finished listening to them. Photo apps like Instagram will save duplicate photos to your Camera Roll, even if you don’t post the photo. Even Tinder takes increasingly more hard drive space with every match you get and conversation you start. Don’t even get me started on those bloated-ass games we all play for a week and then forget about. Of course, every single text message you send and receive is also stored on your iPhone’s hard drive.
All that crap takes up hard drive space and processing power that’s slowing your phone down and it’s all worth having a look at — and, potentially, deleting. Settings>General>iPhone Storage.
3. Disable Unnecessary Location Services
One of the coolest (and creepiest) features of your iPhone (and most smart phones, these days) is that it is always keeping tabs on where you are. Whether it’s to use the phone’s Find My Phone or Compass features, or whether it’s to grab a Lyft home from the bar, your phone always knows where you are. The problem is that certain apps request access to your location even when they’re not in direct use, and the more apps you have doing that at the same time, the more battery you’re going to use.
If you go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, you can turn Location Services off completely, or you can go through each individual app on your phone and decide whether or not you want it to have access to your location. Some apps, like Uber, require users to have location services on at all times (regardless of whether they’re looking for a ride), while others, like Lyft, only require users’ locations when they’re actually using the app.
4. Give It a Makeover
Most of the stuff listed here are easy things you could do to make your older iPhone run and operate like new again, so I wanted to include at least one little bit about what you can do to make it appear different. The obvious answer is to buy a new case. Even though the 8 and X are out hogging the spotlight, developers are still putting out some pretty wild and creative cases for the older models. You can also fiddle with your background and lock images, give it a good cleaning, etc. Take pride in your stuff.
5. Turn off That Bullshit Background App Refresh
Your apps are always refreshing themselves in order to update the content in your respective feed. The idea is that when you launch them, you’re getting the most recent information. It sounds great in theory, but in practice, it means that some of these apps — Facebook, in particular — suck up a lot of battery in the background. If you notice your phone’s battery is getting weaker from prolonged use and charging periods (a side effect for every Lithium-ion battery, by the way), turning off Background App Refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh) will help ensure that apps are only consuming your precious battery life when you’re actually using them.
6. Close All Non-Essential Apps
This is an old one, but it’s still good as gold. If you were to look at how many apps are open on your phone right now, I bet you’d be shocked and perhaps even a little horrified at what you’d find. I did it just for the sake of proving my own point just now and found 42 apps open. Forty-fucking-two. Every single one of those apps is running in the background, sucking up tons of valuable battery life. Double tap Home to bring up the multi-tasking view, and then just swipe up on every app you want to exit. It’s that simple.
7. Lower Your Brightness
Of course, there’s always the old “lower your brightness” trick. If you’re trying to conserve as much battery as possible, there’s absolutely zero reason to keep your screen brightness maxed out. The simple answer is: be smart. If you’re editing photos or reading an article, obviously up the brightness. But, when you’re done and don’t really need to use your home screen as a flashlight, toggle it down a bit. I keep my brightness at around 25% and I’ve never had a single problem with it.
8. Clear Your Safari Cache
Your Safari browser stores every single pieces of information you access from your phone on your phone’s hard drive. On one obvious end of the spectrum it’s convenient because pages will sometimes load faster, logins to your favorite sites are saved and your overall experience is generally pretty smooth. But when your phone gets to a point where it’s simply storing too much web data, it can make it things run sluggishly — particularly while web browsing. Sometimes you have to clear your history and free up the pipes a little bit. You can do that by going to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data. You’ll have to log back into all your favorite sites, but you’ll see an immediate difference.
9. Give It a Soft Reset
I’ll be the first person to tell you that technology can be a big pain in the ass a lot of the time. While we’re seeing new advancements every day, nothing is perfect — including the iPhone. Sometimes your phone will get caught up; certain apps won’t work right, things get buggy, apps stop responding completely, text functions don’t work, etc. Anything could go wrong at any time. If your iPhone is acting up and giving you grief, a soft reset will usually do the trick.
All you have to do is hold down the home and sleep buttons simultaneously until the white Apple logo appears. It won’t delete any of your data and won’t revert back to factory settings, but it will completely reboot the phone, close out all apps and fire back up with a clean slate. A lot of the time, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
10. There’s an App for That
Of course, if all of that stuff sounds too good to be true (or too difficult for the not-so-technologically savvy out there), there are a ton of apps to help you get the most out of your phone. Apps like Power Clean-Remove, Battery Doctor and Battery Saver are just a few of the most popular apps out there.
Next up; here’s why millennials are taking vacations from technology.