The best tips for saving battery power while playing Pokémon GO

By , Aug 15, 2016

Pokemon Go teaser 005

Without a doubt, many who are reading this post right now are huge Pokémon GO fans. The game took the mobile device market by storm and it became an instant hit, topping the application stores on two of the largest competitors on the market today: iOS and Android.

One of the things that can’t be avoided while playing Pokémon GO is the battery drain you’re going to suffer, and this is because it’s a GPS-based game, but there are still some pointers you can follow to help reduce battery drain so you can play as long as possible.

The best tips for conserving battery for Pokémon GO

Because battery drain is inevitable while letting an app access your location the whole time you’re playing a game, which is often going to be for a few hours at a time, chances are you’ve run your battery into the red more than once while playing Pokémon GO.

If you’re an avid player and want to get more out of your gaming experience, then you might want to consider some of these power-saving tips to ensure you can play as long as possible without seeing the low battery indicator:

1. Disable augmented reality mode

Augmented reality (AR) mode is the most power-hungry aspect of the Pokémon GO game behind the GPS usage. It requires the use of your camera while you’re catching Pokémon, and as a result, it uses more power. Sure; it looks cooler, but it’s going to drain your battery up to what feels like 30% faster. Disabling it makes catching Pokémon easier anyhow, since you don’t have to face a certain way.

2. Turn on Battery Saver mode

After the most recent Pokémon GO game update, Battery Saver mode is back in the game. You can access it from the Pokémon GO settings and it allows you to turn your display dark when you hold your phone a certain way so you can reduce display usage while you’re walking. After all, the display eats up the most power of any component on your device.

Pokemon GO power saver mode

3. Disable in-app vibration

One of the features in Pokémon GO is for the game to make your iPhone vibrate when a Pokémon is found nearby. This is great if you’re not staring at your screen constantly, but the problem is the vibrator motor will eat into your battery life. We recommend turning this feature off and just keeping an eye on your screen ever 10 steps or so. You can do this from the Pokémon GO settings too.

4. Disable music and sounds

There’s really no reason to waste any battery listening to repetitive music and sounds while you play the game. All you really need is a visual of what’s going on, and that’s what your display is for. If you turn off music and sounds from the Pokémon GO app’s settings, you’ll reduce the usage of your iPhone’s speaker, which means less power being used from the battery.

5. Enable iOS’ Low Power Mode

This one should seem like a no-brainer, but if you need to squeeze some extra juice out of your device, consider turning on Low Power Mode from Settings > Battery even if your phone is fully-charged at 100% so that your push notifications are fetched less frequently and other processes are reduced to keep your battery power focused on Pokémon GO only.

Low Power Mode iOS 9

6. Reduce display brightness

During the day, a lot of us are tempted to crank the display brightness all the way up to combat the Sun. Fortunately for me, I work all day and I play more during the evening/night hours. If you’re playing during the day, try to limit your display brightness level, as your display eats up most of your device’s battery power.

7. Disable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth

Since the game is mostly a GPS-based game and because you’re going to be playing it outside, often in the middle of nowhere, you really don’t need to be letting your iOS device waste energy looking for a Wi-Fi signal or Bluetooth device to connect with. If you don’t need to use these radios for any reason, turn them off via Control Center.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off Control Center

8. Enable Do Not Disturb

While you’re playing Pokémon GO, consider turning on Do Not Disturb. This feature will prevent your device from vibrating unnecessarily when people blow your phone up with messages and phone calls among various other kinds of notifications from other apps. Instead, your phone won’t bother to vibrate and you could save more power.

9. Invest in an external battery

This isn’t particularly a power-saving feature, but it will certainly extend the period of time you can stay outside and play Pokémon GO. I am a big fan of the BatteryBox Mini because of the fact that it’s slim and easy to tuck away in my pocket. Using it, I can easily spend 12+ hours playing Pokémon GO, but I never have that much time to play, unfortunately.

An important thought

After reading some of the comments and thinking hard about whether or not some of the items in the list were as “important” as others, I still come to the same conclusion that anything that uses any bit of power whatsoever that doesn’t need to be used is an unnecessary drain on the battery.

When you have multiple pieces of hardware at one time draining your iPhone’s battery, such as your GPS, display brightness, wireless radios, and more, suddenly your battery isn’t lasting as long as it would in standby mode in your pocket, and it makes excessive use of smaller things like the vibrator motor and sounds a drag on what I would call excellent battery life.

While some of the things aren’t as power-hungry as others, the goal of this post is to note what you can do to maximize battery life, and if we were to remove the details about the less-power-hungry tips, our post wouldn’t be about “maximizing” battery life.

When it comes right down to it, even if it’s the smallest drain on your battery, it’s still a drain. Over time, it adds up.

Wrapping up

With these tips, excluding tip 9, most smartphones should last 3-4 hours while playing Pokémon GO. With an external battery or two, however, you can easily play all day.

If you aren’t already playing Pokémon GO, then you can download it from the App Store for free.

If you found this tutorial helpful, let us know in the comments below!

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    Very good tips except turning off wifi. The game errors a lot and can’t find GPS with wifi on a lot of the time.

    • iByron

      +1 here. Turning off WiFi will pretty much render the game unplayable, even if you’re on data.

    • mahe

      also it doesn’t make any noticeable difference (same goes for BT) …

  • :D

    I don’t think vibrations eat up a lot of power
    My vibrator can go on for days after all before needing a wipe down and battery change

    • Moving parts require motors, which use power.

      • :D

        The vibration motor uses up very negligible amounts of power – virtually 0%…

      • Source?

      • :D

        I can give you a few…

        First off, here are my own calculations:

        Based on approximately 2.5% power consumption by a modern vibrator vibrator while in constant use (LINK REMOVED; this would likely be even less for an iPhone) and a (really generous) average of 5 vibrations a minute at 0.25 seconds per vibration, we can calculate that vibrations consume roughly 0.25 s/vib * 5 vib/min / 60 s/min * 2.5% = 0.05%.

        Here are some more calculations, yielding 0.01%: LINK REMOVED

        Here’s some research that also concludes negligibility of vibrators on power consumption: LINK REMOVED

        Here are some more calculations: LINK REMOVED. These calculations assume constant use, calculated at 5% for an iPhone 4, which is inline with the pdf source I referenced above. This yields around 0.1% consumption which is still really negligible.

        And here’s some information on the type of vibrator an iPhone 6 or 6S uses: LINK REMOVED.

        You should put a brief update in your article about vibration usage since people may otherwise start turning off vibration settings without any real reason to do so.

      • mahe

        and that points exactly to what I meant a few days ago when I said the quality of the articles is going down on iDB …

      • I’m sorry you feel that way, we strive to push accurate and useful content. I don’t think the small detail above derails the truth in that disabling the vibrator motor does save power. It may not be as significant as other hardware, but speaking from a performance perspective, every little added horsepower is important to motor-heads, and I feel the same about my technology.

      • The source, in black and white, says “vibrator uses power.” It may not be as significant as say, the display brightness, but it does. Why ignore that? I certainly won’t. It would be more misleading to say “it doesn’t use enough power to disable” because quantifying your power usage is much more exponential when you have more objects sucking your power at one given time, such as display brightness during the day, constant GPS usage, and other factors where extreme battery performance is desired. Added drag on the battery, no matter how excessive, is nothing more than “battery drag.”

      • :D

        Take another look, it’s noted in the conclusion that power consumption is very negligible. The calculations support that.

        Of course it uses power – it would be crazy to say it doesn’t. You don’t need a source to tell you that. The power consumption is very negligible, though.

        Two of your 9 points relate to the vibration motor so what’s written In the article is actually far more misleading than anything. What wouldn’t be misleading would be to say that ‘vibrations have negligible impact on battery performance, consuming just ~0.05% of battery life at 5 vibrations a minute’. It’s informative, accurate and easy to follow.

        From an engineer’s point of view, 0.05% really is a joke. Calling it a ‘battery drag’ is even more so a joke. Simply going into your phone settings to disable vibrations in itself would waste as much power as a day’s worth of vibration usage.

        I agree with the above commenter. I’ve been reading these blogs for many years now and I’ve seen a recent and drastic loss in quality. Articles are often poorly written and also riddled with spelling/grammar errors. The content is also weaker than it ever was before and often also quite misleading. You need to bring back Jeff.

      • Well to be honest, some random guy on Reddit isn’t really a reliable source of information. So for what it’s worth, those numbers could be completely wrong. If Apple came out and gave the same numbers, I would be more apt to believe what he was saying. Anyways…. moving on.

      • :D

        I did my own calculations too based on data I found on linear actuator vibration motors…

  • JulianZH

    the game pretty much dead over here… just a hype

  • 10. Buy an iPhone do everything described above, delete everything and use only Pokémon Go

  • iByron

    Seems to me like sounds and vibrations are an either/or thing if you’re not looking at the screen a lot (or don’t want to). I keep the vibes on precisely because I have the sound off. That way I can keep the phone in my pocket and actually look where I’m going when I’m walking around the city.

    • :D

      Plus vibrations use up virtually no power at all

      • The key word is “virtually,” and because it doesn’t suck “no power” at all, it will be on the list. It just makes sense to those who want the maximum battery life.

    • Julio M.

      Exactly what I do, no need to glue your eyes to the screen. Plus, I lower brightness to zero, since it stays in my pocket.