There oughtta be a law against battery-sucking devices that don't have the energy to get through the day. The iPad is the newest darling of our erstwhile representatives in Washington, according to Politico.com, so maybe they will take on the task of mandating that tablets as awesome as the iPad come with extended battery life — or at least enough juice to get through two PowerPoint presentations, 10 chapters of a favorite book and 6-10 addicting hours of our favorite games.
Currently, an iPad battery gets you 10 hours of continual use, according to Apple, but we think the time has come for a filibuster-proof iPad. With that in mind, here are the top tips for getting most battery life from your iPad.
Disconnect Unnecessary Services
Like other wireless devices, your iPad churns through battery time when it’s accessing network services. Many battery-extending tips have to do with using network services when you need them and when you choose them, not in the background when the iPad’s factory settings say you want them:
Disable Bluetooth. Bluetooth gets the iPad in touch with peripherals like wireless keyboards and headphones. If you know you’ll be away from an electrical outlet for a long time, put up with the virtual keyboard, and save the battery life.
Disable 3G/WiFi. Turn it back on when you go online. Churning away offline on a spreadsheet or a word processing document, or just playing a game locally? Ditch the grid and save the battery.
How to disable 3G or WiFi:
1. Open Settings
2. Select General
3. Select Network
4. Turn off 3G/WiFi
”When I want my e-mail, I’ll ask for my e-mail!” Apple has provided a little feature called Data Push, which gets your e-mail without you even having to think about it. If you want your battery time more than your e-mail, you can temporarily disable Data Push:
1. Open Settings
2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars
3. Select Fetch New Data
4. Turn off Push
Dim the Lights
Manually turn down your screen’s brightness to eke out a little extra battery life while you’re crunching those numbers on the plane to Shanghai – or at the local park, for that matter. Even when you’re not being a miser, use the Autobrightness feature, which lets your iPad sense the need for stronger or weaker backlighting.
If an app looks like it shoots your iPad right back to dazzling brilliance, it probably does. If it has no brightness options, avoid it when a charger is not an option.
Keep Your Battery Cool
Hot batteries die sooner. Kill your iPad’s battery, and you’re looking at a $99 replacement, available only through the Apple store.
The closer to 72 degrees Fahrenheit your battery is, the happier it will be; that’s the ideal operating temperature for an iPad battery. The range Apple recommends is 32 to 95 degrees, so avoid the extremes. Apple rates your iPad’s battery at 1000 charging cycles (full charge to empty,) and recommends you run it all the way down once a month for proper charge reporting.
Update Software Often
Software developers are always looking for shortcuts to do more work with less fuss. For your iPad’s battery, that means less of a drain for the same task. Keep current with iTunes and the apps you use most often.
Aftermarket Batteries to the Rescue
Several companies have battery packs that support iPad charging. They range in price but can extend your battery’s life up to total of 34 to 99 hours.
Or just plug directly into the sun: Quickertek is selling an iPad-adapted Apple Juicz foldable solar charger for $250. Downside: charging an external battery pack is slower than a fresh backup battery, and sometimes it’s night. Solio’s chargers combine wall chargeability, an internal lithium ion battery, and solar panels, to give you a little bit of both worlds.
A Greener Apple Coming Soon?
Finally, a little iBird told us that Apple’s next generation iPad may have built-in solar charging. But until then, we wish you a long and fulfilling battery life, using the tips above.