Apple patents battery saving method for iPhone

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Smartphones are very power-hungry devices, traditionally giving their owners just enough time to run for the nearest charging ports. The iPhone is just one of the offenders in this regard, along with its updates which drain the battery out of older iterations of the device.

After failing to fix this with several software updates over the years, Apple has now patented a new battery saving method for use in the iPhone. This method works based on recognising user patterns over a period of time, and adjusting power consumption during periods that are assumed to be idle accordingly.

For instance, if the iPhone user tends to travel a lot between 7pm, and 9pm, going to bed around 11pm, the device would presumably  "learn" these patterns and automatically go into a low power state automatically to conserve battery. Ironically, this method is based on GPS which was one of the culprits of battery drain on older iOS devices.

The lengthy patent description outlines the method of power saving:

The method includes determining by, a processor of the mobile electronic device, an estimated use of the mobile electronic device during an upcoming time period; using the estimated use, determining, by the processor, whether an internal power source of the mobile electronic device has sufficient power to continue operation of the mobile electronic device in a first state during the upcoming time period; based on the estimated use and the internal power source, if the internal power source does not have sufficient power, adjusting the one or more characteristics to reduce a power consumption of the mobile electronic device during the upcoming time period.

Windows Phone 8 users may recognise this feature as being similar to the battery saver mode which is automatically activated when the battery level falls to twenty percent, the key difference being that Apple's method works based on location. The patent was filed last year, which could mean we'll see this technology debut on the iPhone 5S, along with a bigger battery and perhaps even the previously patented finger print scanner.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office via Apple Insider

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23 Comments

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Seriously apple...... rediscover the same thing and boast "For the first time ever...your smartphone functions when you do...." Look up battery guru on Android / Galaxy S4...using it for ages and it basically does the same thing...infact more.

One use case I can think of where this would be useful is controlling the background app updates (in iOS 7) when the phone thinks you're in your sleeping hours. Maybe also when turning on Do Not Disturb it can force all background app updates to stop.

techbeck said,
Isnt there already apps that turn off features based on location?
On the Android side, Tasker comes to mind. I use a program called Battery widget Reborn on Android. It lets me set a night mode (kinda like Do not Distrub on iOS) where my data radios turn off. No ned for email while I'm sleeping. The only sounds that play are my alarm, ringtone, and text message notifications.

tsupersonic said,
On the Android side, Tasker comes to mind. I use a program called Battery widget Reborn on Android. It lets me set a night mode (kinda like Do not Distrub on iOS) where my data radios turn off. No ned for email while I'm sleeping. The only sounds that play are my alarm, ringtone, and text message notifications.

Do those use GPS as well? If so, dont see how Apple can patent this. Oh well, nothing new realy.

Because it isn't the Android operating system doing the controlling. From what I read from the patent document, the OS is handling the decisions on what gets shut down instead of the consumer having to manually do it on a per app basis. Would be interesting to see the full implementation. We are talking about a built in OS feature, not an app feature which is what we currently see on Android.

techbeck said,

Do those use GPS as well? If so, dont see how Apple can patent this. Oh well, nothing new realy.

Yes, you can automate using GPS. I have purchased Tasker, but I don't use it as my HTC One w/ power saver mode gets usually 36+ hours of battery. Even without the power save mode on, I get a whole day and then some.

ILikeTobacco said,
Because it isn't the Android operating system doing the controlling. From what I read from the patent document, the OS is handling the decisions on what gets shut down instead of the consumer having to manually do it on a per app basis. Would be interesting to see the full implementation. We are talking about a built in OS feature, not an app feature which is what we currently see on Android.
Yep, that's the difference. I would like to see this feature built into every mobile OS.

It's too bad I turned off the GPS to save battery. I think most CPUs already having battery saving functionality, based on IOP ramp-up.

Spicoli said,
Why not just make the battery swapable so we can keep a spare around?

Most people don't carry or want to carry a spare battery. Guys like me and you may but the vast majority would not.

Too many issues can happen with 3rd party batteries, and Apple is going assume that people would buy the cheaper Ebay battery or something. Its more for liability. Theres always the add on batteries that are sold though

stevan said,

Most people don't carry or want to carry a spare battery. Guys like me and you may but the vast majority would not.

Which doesn't really cover why you arent offered the option.

I think we know the reason though...same reason as why their $700 phones don't even have a microSD slot...

Trollercoaster said,

Which doesn't really cover why you arent offered the option.

I think we know the reason though...same reason as why their $700 phones don't even have a microSD slot...

Yeah, I wish they had a microSD especially at that price point

Spicoli said,
Why not just make the battery swapable so we can keep a spare around?

remind me of my ultrabook-loving friend who bought luggage full of peripherals to go with it when traveling. "hey they are all small and portable!" idiot.

Sorry, there's no way you can argue being able to swap in a spare battery is a bad thing. Having a feature is always better than not. What do they charge now to install a $10 battery? Isn't it like $75?

There are lots of downsides with having a removable battery, one of them being a flimsy design. It's a feature that the majority would NOT use.

stevan said,
There are lots of downsides with having a removable battery, one of them being a flimsy design. It's a feature that the majority would NOT use.

flimsy design?

what are you talking about.

stevan said,
There are lots of downsides with having a removable battery, one of them being a flimsy design. It's a feature that the majority would NOT use.

agree. the latching mechanism needed and removable battery compartment are an invitation for reliability and environment related problems, not to mention taking up valuable space.