BattSaver Wants To Maximize Your iPhone’s Battery Life, But Is It Right For You? [Jailbreak]



An app that promises to double, if not triple, your iPhone’s battery life sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Jailbreak tweaks and apps have claimed to improve iOS device battery life for years, but for the most part it’s all smoke and mirrors. What sets a new jailbreak tweak called BattSaver apart is that there’s no magical software voodoo or cheap tricks. BattSaver actually works, and that’s because it gives you finely tuned control of what happens inside your iPhone.

An iPhone’s battery will last much longer when the device is barely used. We all know the tips that say to turn screen brightness down, don’t leave WiFi enabled when you’re not using it, leave Bluetooth off as much as possible, etc. It’s basic logic; keep as much of your iPhone turned off as you can and your battery will last longer. Your iPhone deals with 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, push notification, and even EDGE radios all the time. Running everything will drain your battery in no time.

BattSaver doesn’t magically create more battery life. Instead, this tweak efficiently manages your iPhone’s settings for you.

I’ve been pretty skeptical of tweaks like BattSaver in the past, but when I saw famous jailbreak hacker pod2g mention BattSaver as the work of xvolks, I had to check it out. Luckily, there’s a website and FAQ to help give a general overview of what BattSaver is about.

BattSaver implements “Saving strategies” that disable and re-enable your iPhone’s radios based on when they’re needed. There’s no sense in having 3G turned on when you’re connected to a WiFi network, so BattSaver will turn off everything but the GSM radio that’s used to fetch SMS texts and voice calls. If there’s no WiFi hotspot for your iPhone to connect to, the WiFi radio is turned off and data is turned back on. You get the idea.

There are 5 strategies BattSaver can use to conserve battery life:

  • None :
    • All saving strategies are disabled.
  • Normal :
    • All radios are disabled when you turn off the device and back on when you turn it back on. Each 15 minutes it allows BattSaver to wake up radios to get latest email and notifications.
  • Aggressive :
    • Same as Normal, plus:
      • Each 45 minutes it allows BattSaver to wake up radios to get latest email and notifications.
      • It disables Edge if WiFi is connected.
      • It disables WiFi if no hotspot is detected.
      • It switches to Ultimate mode if battery is less than 15%.
  • Ultimate :
    • It disables all radios when phone is turned off.
    • It does not enable radios when turn on (it up to you to enable the radio you need manually via SBSettings for example).
    • It disables Edge if WiFi is connected.
    • It disables WiFi if no hotspot is detected.
  • Custom :
    • You select which optimizations you want you use.
    • You may choose to always try to enable a radio, when you turn on the device.

You’re probably still thinking, “But does this actually work? Doesn’t turning all this stuff on and off actually require more battery life?”

I used BattSaver on my jailbroken iPhone 4S all day yesterday. I used the “Normal” strategy and just let the tweak do its thing. I was curious to see if the constant radio switching interfered with my daily use. My hope was that BattSaver would just work effortlessly in the background and that I would never notice. I got mixed results.

Yes, BattSaver does drastically improve battery life. On WiFi, I never noticed that it was working in the background. But that’s also probably due to the fact that I only use it for web and iMessage-related stuff most of the time.

I usually have to plug my iPhone in at least twice a day for a recharge, but I started using BattSaver with 100% battery life yesterday morning and didn’t have to plug my iPhone in until around midnight before I went to bed. I used my iPhone on my home WiFi network and took it with me when I went out to see a movie.

I just want to listen to my Spotify jams, BattSaver!

My battery life was noticeably better, but there are a few things about this tweak that annoyed me:

  1. Constant radio switching means that the status bar is always changing. This sounds minor, but if you don’t want to constantly see the EDGE “E” or only signal bars in your iPhone’s status bar, you’ll be turned off by BattSaver. There were moments were there would be absolutely no carrier or WiFi info in my status bar, and that made me a little anxious.
  2. Switching between something like EDGE and 3G isn’t always instant. Webpages and stuff don’t always load normally if you’re switching out of one BattSaver state into another. In fact, many of BattSaver’s auto sleep features meant that my workflow became unreliable. For instance, a couple iMessages failed to send because I had hit my iPhone’s sleep button right after pushing send. I ran into an issue where Spotify would sometimes drop out in the car because BattSaver would be trying to disable 3G to save battery. I remember trying to quickly call someone during a mini-emergency and having to wait about 10-20 seconds for BattSaver to release its hold on my cellular radio. Nothing terrible happened, but BattSaver removes the faith I had in my iPhone always working right when I need it to.
  3. I kept getting “cellular not activated” type notifications throughout the day as BattSaver switched radios on and off. It was annoying. Luckily, the developer has said that he’s working on a fix.

Here’s the changes that are coming in the next version of BattSaver, and it looks like the update will address my complaints:

  • Custom mode allows to not turn off selected radios.
  • Do not display annoying messages about network lost.
  • Reduce time between phone is turned on and radios are turned on.

One of the cool things about BattSaver is its ability to graph your iPhone battery’s performance. Inside the app you can track battery capacity, amperage, temperature, and load averages with and without BattSaver enabled. You can also see all kinds of crazy detailed info about your battery.

Obviously, this tweak is trying to minimize how many charge cycles you put your battery through, which in turn keeps the battery healthy.

Now that I’ve lamented some of the issues with BattSaver, what are the reasons you should use this tweak? The ability to set a custom saving strategy is the tweak’s killer feature, in my opinion. You’ve got all kind of controls to tinker with, including separate radio management. Perhaps the greatest feature in custom mode is the ability to automatically enter the “Ultimate” saving strategy when your battery reaches 15%. You may not want to use BattSaver every day, but I can imagine that it will come in handy when you need to conserve ever precious bit of battery life you have. I’m going to leave BattSaver installed on my iPhone 4S, but I won’t be using it unless I absolutely need to.

At $2.99 in Cydia, hopefully you now know whether BattSaver is right for you or not. Remember, results may vary.


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