Everything You Need To Know About Low Power Mode

There are only three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes, and the fact that your phone will always run out of power right when you need it the most. There might not be much we can do about the first two, but iOS9 introduced a new feature geared towards mitigating the effects of the third for iPhones — Low Power Mode. Exactly what is iOS9 Low Power Mode, though? What does it do? How does it work? Does it work at all? The good news is, I have answers — and the better news is that yes, it does work, and even better, it's absurdly easy to use.

Here's everything you need you to know about iOS9's Low Power Mode in one handy place. Ready for this? Here we go!

What Does Low Power Mode Do?

According to its description on my iPhone 6's "Settings" screen, “Lower Power Mode temporarily reduces power consumption until you can fully charge your iPhone. When this is on, mail fetch, background app refresh, automatic downloads, and some visual effects are reduced or turned off.” Basically, it allows you to toggle off a whole bunch of potentially power-draining features with one switch instead of making you go and turn them all off individually.

In addition to halting processes like mail fetch, How To Geek lists the settings that kick in once you turn Low Power Mode as follows:

  • Reduction of screen brightness
  • Automatic phone locking
  • Quicker powering-off of the display
  • Disabling of motion effects and animated wallpapers
  • Pausing of backgound activities and networking
  • Reduction of CPU and GPU performance

Some apps can also apparently detect when Low Power Mode is enabled, subsequently allowing those apps to turn off some of their more power-draining features as well. Your phone will ultimately function a little slower on Low Power Mode — benchmark tests show a 40 percent slower performance speed, reports Apple Insider — but hey, at least you'll have access to it a little longer than usual.

Speaking of…

How Long Does It Make Your Phone Last?

OK, so maybe "forever" is a little ambitious — but luckily, Rhett Allain over at WIRED conducted a couple of tests to find out definitively how much longer Low Power Mode will make an iPhone 6 last in comparison with the device's regular battery life. The results are… a tiny bit complicated, but also quite useful. What Allain ultimately discovered was that Low Power Mode tends to use about 70 percent of the power used in standard mode. That means the battery will last about 1.43 times as long — so if your standard battery life is about 14 hours (which is an estimate, by the way, although it's likely a pretty accurate one), then it'll extend to about 20 hours on Low Power Mode. However, that's only if you have Low Power Mode turned on from the moment you unplug your fully-charged phone. Your phone doesn't suggest that you toggle Low Power Mode on until you're down to about 20 percent battery life, which means that you'll probably only gain an extra hour of usage. Still, though — as Allain notes, “Every little bit helps.” Especially if your car broke down and your battery is almost dead — at least this way, you'll be able to call a tow truck before you find yourself stranded and phoneless.

How Do You Use It?

It's incredibly easy, but just so we have all our bases covered, here's a step-by-step guide to toggling Low Power Mode on.

1. Go to “Settings,” then scroll down to and select “Battery.”

For me, it's under the third grouping of options — the one that has “General” at the very top.

2. Toggle the “Low Power Mode” switch on.

And voila! It's on. The first time you hit the switch, it'll give you a little dialogue box asking you if you want to cancel or continue; if, in fact, you do want to turn Low Power Mode on, then just tap “continue.” Interestingly, turning on Low Power Mode also automatically toggles the switch that controls whether or not your battery indicator tells you the percentage of power you have left.

So there you have it: Everything you need to know about how to save your iPhone's battery when you're thisclose to running out. Go forth and be free!

Images: Piro*/Flickr; Giphy (2); Lucia Peters/Bustle (2)