Stop putting your iPhone in power saving mode all the time

Stop putting your iPhone in power saving mode all the time

Some activate it permanently, others are convinced that it is useless… What is the real role of “Low Power Mode” in iOS?

Is iPhone power saving mode useful? This is a debate that often comes up in the Numerama editorial team. In social networks, the energy saving mode is also divided. When you do a search on Twitter, you notice that there are just as many viral tweets praising him as there are hateful messages towards him.

even more fun, some invent tricks to activate it automatically in certain applications, with the total conviction that this allows them to optimize the autonomy of their phone. Is this really the case? In this article we are going to tell you what the energy saving mode is really for.

What does power saving mode do to your iPhone?

To measure the real usefulness of power saving mode, you must first understand how it works. As a reminder, the power saving mode is activated manually from the “Battery” settings or from the control center of the iPhone. Apple also suggests turning it on when the iPhone drops below 20% and turning it off once it reaches 80%. This is not a mode that can be activated all the time, it always ends up automatically deactivating.

When power saving mode is activated, this is what happens:

  • The iPhone’s processor is throttled (about 50%), which can cause some apps and games to crash. Large slowdowns can occur.
  • The screen brightness decreases and will not increase as much as usual if you enter a very bright place.
  • iPhone goes to sleep after 30 seconds of inactivity.
  • Some visual effects are removed on purpose to make your iPhone look less smooth. Less animation reduces the consumption of the iPhone a little.
  • Background tasks (iCloud photo sync, automatic app/music downloads, and receiving push emails) are interrupted.
  • 5G-compatible iPhones are satisfied with 4G, except in the case of video streaming (so they consume normally).
Power saving mode is activated in the control center.  In the settings we can see the percentage of battery that each application consumes.  // Source: Number
Power saving mode is activated in the control center. In the settings we can see the percentage of battery that each application consumes. // Source: Number

On the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro, Power Saving Mode also plays other roles:

  • The screen refresh rate goes from 120 Hz to 60 Hz, like on other iPhones. So you have the impression that everything is very slow, but this is only a visual difference.
  • On iPhone 14 Pro, Always-On Display is disabled.

Is iPhone power saving mode useful?

Saying otherwise would be a mistake, the energy saving mode necessarily affects the autonomy of your device, since it deactivates functionalities and attacks the performance of your iPhone.

However, depending on what you do, its impact could be very limited. The example of automation to spend more time in an application automatically activating it seems to us, for example, to not hold. It’s true that the animations will be less beautiful, but the same amount of data will be downloaded each time, especially since Grindr (the example cited above) doesn’t need much power to run. It is especially in a game or resource-intensive application where the difference could be noticeable. Often the power saving mode is just a nice placebo effect.

These are the performance tests performed on an iPhone 14 Pro Max.  On the left, in normal mode.  On the right, in energy saving mode.  The processor is overclocked by 50%.  // Source: Number
On the left, a performance test (iPhone 14 Pro Max) in normal mode. On the right, in energy saving mode. The processor is overclocked by 60%. // Source: Number

If Apple refuses to have power saving mode activated all the time, it is because it makes your smartphone less intelligent by stopping refreshing data in the background and preventing it from working normally. Power saving mode may be convenient, but it doesn’t really make enough of a change to double battery life.

We recommend activating it below 20% (come on, maybe 30%)… but not above. It may also be useful in voyage if you are pregnant with the photos and the weather with a cartography application, depending on the large slowdowns… It will be a functional phone that saves 5 to 10% of autonomy at the end of the day.


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