There are numerous clean up and optimisation apps for Android, and a seemingly never-ending list of battery managers for extending the life of the phone, but where are they for iOS? Why are there so few turn-up apps and battery managers for the iPhone. Does it not need them? Maybe it does.
There are many reasons why battery and tune-up/clean-up tools are so rare on the iPhone and the obvious answer that Apple fans will give is that it doesn’t need them. That is a bit of truth in that, but then Apple doesn’t allow certain apps and functions.
For example, you can get some lovely animated wallpaper for an Android phone, such as fish swimming in a pond, constantly changing weather and so on. There is even a category dedicated to them in the Google Play Store. They look fantastic, but they make the battery run down faster than plain wallpaper and battery managers will disable it. Apple does not allow live animated wallpapers on iOS. Android has live widgets that constantly update with new information, but the iPhone does not. Widgets use the battery faster and should be disabled to boost battery life.
These aren’t the only things that Apple doesn’t allow and Android provides detailed statistics about battery usage by apps and all a battery manager has to do is to read the system logs to see this and then present it in an attractive way to the user.
There is nothing in an iPhone’s settings to tell you which apps use the most battery. Battery life and usage is barely mentioned in Settings - it’s in Settings, General, Background App Refresh, although there is no useful information there.
I don’t know if app programmers have any more information than this, but probably not judging by the lack of battery managers.
The same goes for memory and storage. Android provides lots of information for the user and for apps to use, and you can see app sizes, caches used, memory used and so on. iOS provides little information and no tools to clean up or optimise.. This limits what apps can do.
So the lack of tools on iOS is partly because Apple doesn’t allow them and not because they are not needed. Despite all these limitations, there are a few battery, clean-up and optimisation apps for the iPhone and they are worth considering.
Battery Doctor - Master of Battery Maintenance is an app that attempts to provide iPhone users with at least some of the functionality that Android users have. The home screen shows the current power level and the number of hours estimated to be remaining at the top.
The app monitors battery charging and provides information and advice for optimal use, such as when to charge, when to unplug, and giving you a score for good battery maintenance. It even has a calendar that shows what days you charged the iPhone.
A list of apps and how much battery power they consume can be displayed. It divides them into apps that are being used, such as ones in the background, and apps that aren’t currently in use. You don;t get anywhere near the detail shown by Android apps, but it is probably the best that can be done with iOS. If you see apps with a high battery usage level you can double tap the home button and swipe them away. Avoid using apps with high battery usage indicators if you want to maximise battery life.
That much can be seen in the status bar at the top of the iPhone’s screen, but below is system information that can’t be found elsewhere. For example, it shows the amount of memory used. As you run apps and switch from one to the other, they are held in memory and the amount free is reduced. iOS has mechanisms for handling this, but Battery Doctor enables you to force a clean up of the memory. This means that when you next open an app, there is lots of free memory for it to use, so in theory it should be a bit snappier.
Frequently used apps and data are cached and Battery Doctor shows the amount of storage free and offers to clear out the junk. In other words, to dump cached data. Caches only contain temporary data, so nothing important is lost, but again, the next app that runs has more space to play around with and so it might be that little bit faster to start.
When you clean up the junk it tells you how much extra storage has been made available, and interestingly, how many extra photos you can take, which was an extra 83 in my case. Cleaning the junk could therefore be a solution to running out of storage when you are on a trip or holiday and taking lots of photos.
Battery Doctor is more than a battery manager, but Battery Life Pro is exactly what you would expect. The home screen is attractively designed and there is a large speedometer style display taking up half the screen. It shows the current battery charge. Around the right side of this are switches to turn off various functions to conserve battery life, such as Bluetooth, push mail, 3G and so on. Turn them all off to maximise battery life.
Battery Life Pro
In the bottom half of the screen is a list of activities and how long they will last, such as the time in standby, call time, internet browsing time, video time and so on. You can quickly see how long the battery will last.
Buttons at the bottom of the screen provide access to additional information and the first shows memory usage, running processes and system info. Unlike Battery Doctor, you can’t actually do anything with the information. A chart screen plots the power level over time and you can see from the peaks and troughs when the iPhone was charged and how long it lasted.
Battery Life Pro is a bit disappointing if you are an iPhone user and hugely disappointing if you have ever seen what Android can do. Battery Doctor is the clear winner because it has extra tools like memory and storage clean-up.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 31 July 2014