How to reduce iPhone 5 battery and data leakage

**Note: always back up your iPhone before playing around with settings!**

I recently bought an iPhone 5. It was a huge jump up from my old 3GS and I love it: slim and light, super fast and responsive, excellent GPS response and accuracy, the camera is fantastic (the panorama function is fun), I love the retina display, and the extra screen space is great.

But there were two things I wasn’t so keen on. The battery seemed about on par with my 3 year old 3GS (ie, needed to be recharged every day) and my data allowance was leaking away at an alarming rate. (I rarely scratched the surface of my 500MB monthly allowance with the 3GS but my iPhone 5 was consuming 50-100MB a day.) Now, I understand that some of this was down to the fact that it was a new toy and I was probably using it more than usual, but after a bit of research I discovered these were pretty common complaints for both iOS6 and the iPhone 5. I became determined to find a solution.

I collected a long list of tips from a variety of forums, blogs and articles and tried every one. In the end I found…

The two things most likely to help:

FOR BATTERY LIFE: Reset all settings

Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings

“If you’re prompted, enter your Passcode. Wait for the reset to finish then use your phone until it gets down to 0% then shuts off. Then, plug in your iPhone 5 until it charges to 100%. This should help to solve any battery life issues you’ve been having.” [Source: gottabemobile.com]

I’m not sure why this helps but it seemed to do the trick for me. Combined with setting my phone to airplane mode at night I now only need to recharge once every 3-4 days. You may want to make a note of all your current settings before you reset so it’s quicker to set them back afterwards. Note that it will also wipe all your saved wifi passwords!

FOR DATA LEAKAGE: Delete iCloud account from the phone

Settings > iCloud > Delete Account

(Note that this just removes the iCloud account from your phone, it doesn’t close it altogether. You can always turn it on again in the future if you want to.) See this thread for an explanation and a demonstration of why this supposedly works. Apparently even if you turn off all the settings that could possibly connect to iCloud it will still chew data (sometimes even when you’re connected to wifi!), unless you remove the account from your phone.

The trick is that without iCloud you’ll need to connect your phone to your computer regularly to back up, and you won’t be able to use features like Find My iPhone. (That’s the only iCloud feature I found useful anyway – I use Gmail to sync all my email, contacts and calendar items, Any.DO for tasks and Evernotes for notes.)

If you’re not keen on doing this, or it helps but doesn’t completely resolve your data leak, the only sure-fire guarantee is to turn data off when you’re not using it. It’s a little bit inconvenient at first but you get used to it. Go to Settings > General > Cellular > set to OFF. (This also helps battery life.)

I’ve listed below all the other suggestions I found in case you find any of them helpful. (Some may appear on multiple websites but I’ve just listed the sources where I first came across them.)

click for more tips and advice »

1 iPhone, 2 (or more) iTunes accounts

I bought my iPhone 3GS a year before moving to the UK so by the time I arrived I’d accumulated a lot of apps from the Australian iTunes store. Living in the UK I also wanted access to UK-only apps such as transport, banking and special offer apps that aren’t available from the Australian store. I did some research online and found stories from people that had converted their account from one country to another but it meant they were no longer able to update apps that were downloaded from the original store: they were stuck at whatever version was downloaded before the change. Eventually I found out you can sync multiple accounts (from various countries) to the same device through iTunes, so that’s what I ended up doing.

I currently have 3 accounts synced to my iPhone:

  1. My original account (Australian iTunes store)
  2. My new account (UK iTunes store)
  3. Alex’s account (Australian iTunes store)

For the UK store I created a new account with one of my other email addresses and used my UK bank account details. My Australian account is still active as I still have an Australian bank account. I generally leave iTunes and my iPhone logged into my Australian account, but if I want to download an app only available on the UK store all I need to do is log out of the iTunes store and log back in again with my UK details. You are automatically redirected to the UK store where you can then download apps (or music for that matter) the same way you would with your usual account.

You can also sync friends’ or family members’ accounts as anyone can share their account with up to 5 other computers. This so families can share music or apps without everyone having to pay for and download them individually. (I wish I’d figured this out earlier as Alex and I have both bought the same apps on multiple occasions but only one of us needed to have paid for it!) To do this:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Go to the iTunes Store
  3. Click your username in the top right corner
  4. Click “Sign Out”
  5. Click “Sign In” in the top right corner
  6. The person who is going to share their account with you now needs to log in with their details
  7. iTunes will ask if you want to authorise this computer for this account – say yes
  8. Search for apps your friend/family member has already purchased
  9. The button for the app will say DOWNLOAD instead of showing a price – click this and the app will be downloaded to your iTunes at no additional cost
  10. When you sync your device the new apps will be copied over
  11. To get back to your account log out of the other person’s, log back in as yourself and continue using the iTunes store as normal

The only trick with multiple accounts is you can only update apps for the account you are currently logged into. You can do this from your iPhone but I find the easiest way is via iTunes:

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Go to Apps (the number displayed next to this will be the total number of app updates are available for regardless of which account they came from)
  3. Click “# Updates Available” in the lower right corner
  4. Click “Download All Free Updates” – this will only download the updates available for the apps you downloaded from the account you are currently logged into in the iTunes store
  5. Go to the iTunes Store
  6. Log out of that account, log into the next one (so if one of the accounts is a friend’s and they don’t trust you with their password – as anyone probably shouldn’t! – then your friend will need to log in for you each time you want to download updates for apps from their account)
  7. Go back to Apps > # Updates Available
  8. Click “Download All Free Updates”
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 until all apps from all accounts are up to date
  10. Resync iTunes with your device

It may seem a bit convoluted at first but once you get used to it it’s not so bad. Enjoy!

Running Baldur’s Gate on Windows XP

Baldurs Gate 4 in 1After all that talk about travel, I’m kicking this off with something random instead! (This is actually a repost of a note I wrote on facebook a few years ago but I’d like to give it a wider audience.)

Baldur’s Gate is quite possibly my favourite PC game of all time. Back in August 2008 I bought the 4-in-1 boxset to play it again on the laptop I’d recently purchased. I could hardly believe how difficult it was to get it running smoothly on a (then?) high-spec machine. I spent days sifting through forums, tweaking settings and doing multiple installs/uninstalls, until I finally worked how to get it running beautifully:

  1. Install Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast.
  2. Patch with the 5512 (non DX8) patch from here. (Seemingly no longer available from the current Bioware website.) It’s also possible newer re-releases of Baldur’s Gate will include this patch in a folder on the disc.
  3. Patch again with the Widescreen mod from The Gibberling’s Three and set to your desired resolution (1440×900 for me). This is optional but if you do install it you get to see so much more of the map during in-game play, it’s awesome. :D
  4. Go to Start > Run > dxdiag.
  5. Go to the Display tab and disable DirectDraw Acceleration.
  6. Start a new game in Baldur’s Gate.
  7. Go into the Graphic settings and make sure they’re set to 16 bit. (I couldn’t find any success stories from anyone running 32 bit.)
  8. Enable Software Transparent BLT.
  9. DON’T disable Full Screen mode (this gave me heaps of errors).
  10. Optional: up the framerate in Baldur.ini then Config.exe.

My system specs:
Windows XP
2.4 GHz dual processor
3GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics card