What happens if you keep your iPhone in low power mode all the time?


Every iPhone user is familiar with the drill – our battery drops to 20% and we get a familiar pop-up alert saying “Battery low. 20% battery left”. If you choose to ignore it, you will receive another alert when the battery drops to 10%. But if you turn on Low Power Mode, you can extend the remaining battery life a bit until you can charge your iPhone.

Apple introduced Low Power Mode with iOS 9 as a way to keep using your iPhone longer when the battery charge is low. You might be wondering what exactly Low Power Mode does, and if it saves battery, why not use it all the time?

I’m breaking it all down so you can know exactly what Low Power Mode disables, how to turn it on and off, and whether to keep it on all the time. To learn more, read how to charge your iphone the right wayand see how Apple fixed the iPhone battery gauge icon in iOS 16.1.

What is iPhone Low Power Mode?

Low Power Mode is an iOS setting that disables certain iPhone features to save battery power when low. Your iPhone will ask you if you want to turn on Low Power Mode when your battery drops to 20% and then back to 10%.

A screenshot of the battery level graph in iPhone settings

When your iPhone is in low power mode, it will be tracked in yellow.

Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

Apple says Low Power Mode reduces the amount of power your iPhone uses to extend your battery life.

You can tell when you are in low power mode because your battery icon will be yellow. Your iPhone automatically turns off Low Power Mode when your battery charge reaches 80%.

What features does iPhone Low Power Mode disable?

According to Apple’s official support page, Low Power Mode makes these changes to save your battery charge:

  • Disables 5G (except for video streaming)
  • Sets your iPhone screen to turn off after 30 seconds of inactivity
  • Reduce screen brightness
  • Reduces display refresh rate for iPhones with ProMotion
  • Eliminate some visual effects
  • Pauses iCloud Photo syncing
  • Suspend automatic downloads
  • Pauses email retrieval
  • Prevents background apps from refreshing

Low Power Mode also disables HDR video viewing, disables always-on display in iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Maxdisables video autoplay and reduces CPU and GPU performance.

How to enable iPhone low power mode?

You can enable it manually by going to Settings > Battery and switch to Low power mode. You can also manually enable Low Power Mode with the iPhone Control Center or with Siri.

Be sure to check your battery status to make sure everything is fine

An iPhone screenshot of Battery Health with degraded battery

Maximum capacity compares your battery’s current performance with how it performed when it was new.

Apple

While permanently enabling low power mode is an experiment you might want to try, if you find that you need to keep low power mode on all the time to get decent battery performance for iPhone, it is very possible that your battery is degraded or has some other issues.

To check the battery status of your iPhone, go to Settings > Battery > Battery health and charging. You’ll see your battery’s maximum capacity, along with options to set ‘optimized battery charging’ and ‘clean power charging’. If your iPhone’s maximum battery capacity has dropped to 80% or less, an “Important Battery Message” will notify you that your battery has degraded considerably and should be replaced or restored by an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

How to Enable iPhone Power Saving Mode Permanently?

The manual method to maintain low power mode permanently is to simply put your iPhone in low power mode every time you charge it. But there is an easier, automated way to “set it and forget it”. To automatically keep your iPhone in Low Power Mode at all times, you’ll have to get a little crafty and create your own. Personal Automation using the Shortcuts application.

There are many ways to automatically set low power mode using Shortcuts, but for me the easiest method is to enable low power mode whenever the battery is below 100%. This way, your iPhone is essentially in Low Power Mode all the time, but it can also create backups, perform downloads, and receive updates when plugged in and 100% charged.

Scroll all the way to the right on your iPhone home screen to access your Application Librarythen scroll down and tap Shortcuts. Once the application is running, select Automating at the bottom of the screen, then touch the blue Create a personal automation button.

3 iPhone screenshots showing how to do personal automation in Shortcuts

Creating a personal automation in Shortcuts only takes a few steps.

Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

On the New Animation screen, scroll down and select Battery level. Tap the bottom option, falls belowthen move the slider all the way to the right to 100%. Then click Next. You have defined your condition to trigger an action.

Now create the action to put your iPhone in low power mode. On the Shares the screen, click on the blue Add action button. You can then type “Low” in the search field and press Set low power modeor touch Script and find it under Device.

3 iPhone screenshots showing how to add the Set Low Power Mode action

After adding the Low Power Mode action, you can configure it to run without asking.

Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

Once you have selected Set low power modeit will appear on your Shares the screen like “Enable low power mode”. Click on Next. On the following New Automation screen, toggle Ask before you run off to automatically enable low power mode. If you want, you can request a notification each time the automation runs.

Confirm “Don’t ask”, then press Do to finish. You are ready. Whenever your battery drops below 100%, your iPhone automatically goes into low power mode.

How much battery charge does Low Power Mode save?

You won’t get a definitive answer here. The value of Low Power Mode has been debated since its introduction. While some estimates say battery charges will last about one and a half times longer using low power mode, others show very little difference in battery usage.

If you want your iPhone battery to last longer, you just have to try low power mode for yourself and see the difference.

How to disable low power mode again

2 iPhone screenshots showing how to disable automatic low power mode

Disable automatic low-power mode by disabling automation or removing it.

If you find that Low Power Mode isn’t saving your battery, you can disable the automation by going to Shortcuts and turns off Activate this animation. To completely clear it, swipe left on your low power mode automation on the main automation screen, then tap red Wipe off button.

You can also create your own custom version of Low Power Mode by changing your iPhone settings to take some of the actions that Low Power Mode takes. For example, you can save a lot of battery by stop background apps from refreshing Where adjusting your brightness settings.

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