Increase iPhone battery life with ‘BattSaver’

By , Aug 6, 2012

BattSaver is a new jailbreak app from Xvolks — probably best known from his work on the Absinthe jailbreak tool.

He’s been cooking up his latest effort for quite some time now, and it’s received endorsements from many users, including fellow Chronic Dev Team associate, pod2g.

BattSaver touts the ability to increase the iPhone’s battery life; up to double, and at times, even more. Does BattSaver live up to these lofty claims? Check inside for the full in-depth video walkthrough and analysis…

How it works

Admittedly, I went into this walkthrough with a bit of suspicion. There’s been no shortage of so-called battery-enhancing tweaks and apps to hit Cydia in the past, and many of them were flat-out scams. But since this was developed by a reputable developer, I felt I should give it a fair shake.

The first thing you have to realize, is that BattSaver isn’t working any magic. It doesn’t promise to pull extra battery life from mid air, or by means of some unexplained phenomenon. No, BattSaver’s premise is simple: Manage the feature(s) that the drain battery life, and make them more efficient. In BattSaver’s case, the feature is the iPhone’s radio(s).

By disabling and reenabling WiFi and cellular connectivity at opportune times, BattSaver is able to eek out additional life when compared to an otherwise unoptimized experience.

BattSaver contains 3 different preset “Saving Strategies”: Normal, Aggressive, and Ultimate. In addition, there’s None (off), and Custom (a mix and match of the preset features).

  • None – No battery optimization
  • Normal – Disable radios with device
  • Aggressive – Normal, + disable data if WiFi connected
  • Ultimate – Radios must be enabled manually
  • Custom – You choose

All of the Saving Strategies (besides None) are basically a variant of Normal. Once you put your device to sleep in Normal mode, the data radios will shut off after a brief period of time, and this in turn saves battery. Once you wake up your device, the radios reconnect like normal. See? I told you it wasn’t rocket science.

But what about receiving emails and such when your device is sleep? Don’t worry, every 15 minutes the radios will wake up briefly to retrieve emails and notifications.

The Aggressive mode does the same thing as Normal mode, except it will also disable the data connection completely if WiFi is connected. The thought behind this is that you already have a valid WiFi connection, so why waste extra battery with a cellular data connection waiting as a backup? For those of you worried about phone calls and SMS messages, don’t worry, the GSM cellular radio that those services rely on is left alone. Like Normal mode, when your device is asleep, you won’t receive notifications, but instead of Normal’s 15 minute refresh period, Aggressive mode will enable your data radios every 45 minutes to retrieve emails and notifications.

The Ultimate mode is, as you may have already guessed, the most radical strategy of all. It completely disables all of your radios, and won’t automatically reconnect until you reenable them manually. My guess is that very few people will actually use this mode, unless they are desperate to get that last little drop of battery life out of their iPhone.

Beyond the basics

The Custom Saving Strategy is probably the one that most will use. It allows you to pick and choose various options instead of relying on preset strategies.

As you can see, the custom mode allows you to customize tons of settings:

  • Turn off radios with device – Save battery when your device is asleep
  • Turn on radios in background – Connect periodically to get emails/notifications
  • Radios wakeup interval – Minimum time between wakeups in background
  • Turn off data if WiFi on – Save battery by disabling Edge/3G on WiFi
  • Delay before radios on/off – the threshold when sleeping/waking up
  • Manage critical battery level – Turn to Ultimate mode if battery is < 15%
  • Save statistics – for drawing a graph
  • Radio management – for managing individual radios

The Custom mode allows one to tinker to an infinite degree in order to adopt the best battery saving strategy. You can change sleep/wake thresholds, background thresholds, and even manage individual radio settings for more fine grained control.

After you have everything configured how you like, you can use the built in graph to determine how your strategy is working over a period of time. You can set a statistical range from as little as an hour, all the way up to days, weeks, and more. I can see this turning into a competition to see how much usage one could eek out on a single charge, similar to the way “hypermilers” compete to see how many miles per gallon they can pull from their vehicles.

Should you?

At the end of the day, everyone’s experience will vary when it comes to gaining additional battery life. I think that most will see some difference, though it probably won’t be as drastic as the app is claiming. The bottom line is that you stand to gain some additional battery life by using BattSaver. My experience varied quite a bit because of the nature of my work, but I did notice slightly increased battery life during my testing with the app. For a $2.99 one time purchase, I think it’s worth finding out if the app will work for you. True, it’s not the cheapest item on the Cydia Store, but even if this ends up saving you 10% battery life, that’s a lot of battery saved over the length of your ownership. Plus, it’s entertaining to be able to chart your progress via the app’s built in graphing capability.

If I may suggest a couple of things:

  1. The app needs much better in-app documentation, explaining what each feature does in-depth. There is a help website dedicated to the app, but being able to access help within the app would be better.
  2. There should be a way to share your battery mileage with other BattSaver users. Perhaps the ability to tweet out an image of your usage graph, coupled with hashtags. #BattSaver, anyone?
  3. I noticed a few bugs where the Network screen in the Settings app would not update correctly, but that’s just a small complaint.
  4. Needs a better app icon.

Other than those relatively minor complaints, I’m quite satisfied with BattSaver. I plan on using it for the foreseeable future. What about you?

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  • Alec Vanek

    I don’t see it in Cydia?

    • http://twitter.com/MrJemRoxas Jem Roxas

      Refresh your sources bro.

  • theBBdr

    This is great and all, but what we really need is for some of the great iOS hackers out there to dig into the software and find ways to kill the bugs that degrade battery life.

    For instance, there is a considerable difference in battery life between the iPhone 4S and the other existing iDevices. After doing quite a bit of testing, I’ve found that part of the problem is with the ‘Raise to Speak’ function of Siri; when set to [ON] the proximity sensor of the 4S is constantly in use and sucking battery any time the device isn’t sleeping.

    That isn’t the only battery leak in iOS, mind you… I can set PUSH email, Raise to Speak, WiFi, and Bluetooth to all be [OFF] and still lose charge at an alarming rate.

    There are brilliant minds in the jailbreak community. We just need them to find these flaws – which Apple has been satisfied with ignoring for nearly a year now – and create tweaks if possible to correct them.

  • PowerBaked420

    just wonder jeff, if you have any of the modes on and you get a call or imessage what happens? would you not receive the call?

    • BumpyFlatline

      I’m also curious about this. Anyone know?

      • http://www.youtube.com/myjailbreakmovies/ Jeff Benjamin

        You still get the call or SMS, because this doesn’t touch your basic GSM connection, at least in Normal or Aggressive modes.

      • theBBdr

        What about MMS (aside from iMessages) which will not work using WiFi and require cellular data? Will those be received during the battery-saving modes when only the basic GSM connection kicks on?

      • BumpyFlatline

        Thanks for the feedback. Keep up the great work!

      • http://the-david.com/ David Christenson

        But iMessages use your data/wifi connection. Since that wouldn’t be available, wouldn’t that cause every message you receive to revert to SMS?

    • http://twitter.com/Knightfal Cesar Morales

      The article says that GSM (celular voice access) is left alone in all the modes unless you go to custom and enable turning off GSM under some cirmcumstance (which is not written specifically but its deductive logic from the pictures provided)

  • http://twitter.com/mtlapartments mtlapartments

    I tried it, but had to delete it. Things were not turning back on, wi fi 3g etc, it was quite annoying, tuning on a gps app in the car but location services or 3g would not turn back on forcing me to have to do it manually. Very frustrating.

    It didn’t interfere with phone calls or sms, didn’t notice iMessage, and visual voicemail would stop working when 3g was off. I kept trying to change the strategies but it kept going back to normal, Even when I tried to turn it off completely, so I had to erase.

    • http://www.facebook.com/YigitcanAkkas Yiğitcan Ş. Akkaş

      I seem to have solved that by respringing after setting a scheme, might work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/YigitcanAkkas Yiğitcan Ş. Akkaş

    This is a lovely app that i am planning to use for a very long time, for now at least.
    Couple of things that i would love to have in addition;
    1- Sleep hours; i can set “custom mode” to check for data every 30 mins but i cannot set it to sleep between certain hours (keep everything offline for the duration), that would be fabulous.
    2- Once i change between modes, it does not entirely save my “custom mode” scheme.

  • http://www.facebook.com/soto619 David Soto

    It’s pratically the same as BatteryDoctorPro the Cydia Version. Only difference. BDP is a free alternative.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fernando-Pena/1179619252 Fernando Pena

      BDP don’t manage radios, it’s only for reference, there’s NO in-depth feature, like BattSaver…

  • http://www.facebook.com/fabioyui Fabio Yui

    Once the app is set up according to the desired profile, could I shut the app down? Or should I leave it running in the background?

  • Nicholas Kuxhaus

    This needs a way to detect when certain apps are active, Andy keep the radios on.

    Ex, I’m on my car stream Pandora, I want the radios to stay on. I get to class, grab my phone and put it in my pocket, the radios should turn off then, to save battery while not in use.

    Edit: now that I think about it, if that’s even possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christoph-Müller/799170383 Christoph Müller

    I suppose that the one thing that really saves battery is the automatic disabling of data and 3G if a wifi connection is available. Once you loose the wifi again, 3G and data will turn back on. Is this available in another tweak (for free) which doesn’t come with so much other things to deal with?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000966493541 Scott Walther

      Look up Auto3G in cydia. Kind of does the same thing with turning off 3G radio when on Wifi. I have the toggles setup in my notification center so I manually turn items off when I get to work since I have like zero signal in my building. I leave on cellular and Edge but turn off 3G, wifi, and Bluetooth while I am at work.

  • http://twitter.com/Devin_Plebuch Devin Plebuch

    My only issue is that it works inconsistently. I’ve endeavored to create custom settings, and the tweak continuously shuts off radios I chose to keep activated. In addition, except for ‘Normal Mode”, I get bizarre combinations that turn off or turn on radios that ought not be turned on or turned off. It seemed to me, and this is after over a days worth of fiddling with the tweak/app, that it is finicky and buggy as hell. It would just be easier–less battery consuming at this point–to just open SBSettings and quickly shift around the preponderance of options inherent within the tweak by simple, swift toggling.

  • http://twitter.com/walkingsaltine Spencer Lowe

    What about CDMA devices? Verizon & Sprint?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1436344229 Gary Traffanstedt

    Custom options do not seem to completely save. I tell it to leave navigation on all the time and bam, turns it off. Going to try a respring after saving my custom setup and see if that helps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/YigitcanAkkas Yiğitcan Ş. Akkaş

    Its been a day since started using it, its actually cool but there are some drawbacks which makes it’ advantages to become neutral;

    1- Have tried custom mode only, doesn’t seem to be very stable, keeps crashing and respringing.

    2- After repsringing it fails on its own and stops working, requires readjustment and respring again, which consumes battery as well,

    3- Seems to be failing on fetching data on a timely basis, does not activate all data while sleeping, get notifications and go back to sleep again.

    4-You turn on the phone, it lags for a second as it activates everything at the same time, sometimes it crashes too.

    Might remove it completely depending on how it goes until 1 charge of battery is empty, for now, it seems to be glitchy or conflicting with some tweak that i couldn’t find.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottyG__ 50 Shades of Green

    Why does it turn off my ‘Personal Hotspot’ even when I turn the app off. So annoying!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cameron-Dasso/100000177342086 Cameron Dasso

    Really? I love some of the things I get from jailbreaking but the crap that is being developed these days is just silly. I think that if there is no better benefit than toggling settings with one tap instead of two from jailbreaking but you have to deal with the buggy BS that has been coming lately it is not worth the hassle. I haven’t seen anything really new in months. Just my 2 cents. Go ahead and flame me.

    • Corey Emerson

      Here, here… Sorry to say, I think I’m going back to Android. HTC One. ….Go ahead and flame me too ..

  • David Canfield

    hmm to go jailbrocken or not?

  • http://twitter.com/S3r3nity01 Charita

    custom mode doesnt seem to work for me. when in custom mode, my wifi shuts off after my phone is in sleep mode and does not go back on unless manually enabled. is that normal?

  • http://twitter.com/swissye Ye

    what do i think? at the end of all of the video that you used to say..i think Jeff..you are a bussiness man for Tweaks..ads…etc….

  • http://twitter.com/swissye Ye

    Do you work for The BigBoss?(Repo)

  • Jeff Acord

    needs ios 6 compatibility!