How to minimize battery usage on iPhone living off the grid

Thanks for trying to keep me fit. :grinning:
But I have other use for that amount of money.

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Off-grid living? Yagi antennas? This thread is definitely my jam.

You don’t have an iPhone electric usage problem, you have a power generation problem. The good news is an iPhone doesn’t draw a lot of power, so it’s a fairly easy one to solve. Solutions I would explore:

  • A gasoline-powered inverter generator, like the Honda E2200. An inverter provides cleaner power than a regular generator, so it’s better for electronics.
  • The BioLite CampStove 2, which lets you burn wood to charge a battery.
  • A wind turbine generator. I don’t know much about these, but a local commune uses one to power a water pump.

Using an indoor wood stove to generate power is an intriguing concept. I’ll have to look into that.

The easiest and not particularly environmentally friendly solution is to start your car engine and let the phone charge while it’s idling.

I am fascinated by that too.

I normally leave my forest dwelling in the second week of this month, so it is a fringe problem. This fall has been warmer than normal. I am here mainly for fly-fishing and this year we have had relatively warm water up to now.

To not use a lot of money on this, I might try to add another Solar panel. I have a feeling that would solve the problem. The sun enters my property for about an hour from the south and a second time from the southeast. I placed the panel to be optimal for the sun from the south. Another panel could catch the light from south east.

These are quite interesting. In particular, the Jackery Explorer 1000 can store a lot of power and they are all portable. So perhaps you could take it fishing with you and leave it charging in the sunshine if you’re not in the middle of your forest. :slightly_smiling_face: One charge would probably get you through a few days.

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The ‘drop’ matters for rivers, but if the water is moving, that’s all that really counts.

This is amazing really, in such a relatively short time of research and developement. v1 to v2 has been spectacular.

This is interesting too. Harvesting slow speed water.

I wonder if you could generate electricity while walking around?

I do interval training using the app Myworkout GO. I guess this would mess up my results, but if it could keep my iPhone happy, I would do it.

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Another approach to building a bike generator:

Maybe build that and connect the pedals to a mill wheel in the creek :grinning:

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Biolite looks promising but…
Currently unavailable.
We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.
(And no price)


I have extended stays in on island off the West coast, need to bring my own power. I picked up a Honda 2200 as Josh has. The inverter is key for clean power delicate electronics requires. I’d be wary of potentially dirty power sources without one.

I’ve been looking at supplementing this with a Jackery 2000 and associated solar panels. I’d been using about 25 litres of petrol a week in the Honda to power up the MBPro, iPhone, iPad Pro as well as flashlight and various battery driven led lamps. The Jackery should extend that, I’m hoping quite a bit. I might only need it in the summer but winter is my main time for going there. I can’t see Irish skies being that bright and clear.

Energy vise my MacBook Pro M1 max has been the best experience this year. Last year I had my intel based MacPro and I could not produce enough power to use it more than absolutely required even in the middle of summer with sunny days. When I had to work for a whole day, I went to the library in a little town 20 minutes away. This year in the last days of August I worked on the M1 Max for several days although the weather was varied, not only sun. I love my new MacPro!

The problem in October is that my cottage lies in a forest and in a gully/ravine with steep sides. This time of year, even if it is sunny, the sun does not hit my panels more than half an hour in the best spot. If I am at the cabin, I move the panels around chasing the sun and that and the high temperatures is why I am still here. In normal years, it would have been below 0 C in the nights since the last days in September. Now that has only occurred 3 nights.

Low temperatures is the second thing you have to fight with battery based energy. If it is possible (safety, read the manual) I recommend you have the Jackery 2000 inside in a place where it is above 15 C when you are not charging it. That will make it more receptive for charging.

The island has no trees and is essentially flat so not much blocking of the sun beyond clouds for me. The temperature is an issue however. I am under a shelter for sure but with open windows and doorway. I camp inside my tent inside it. But I have worried about the cold and charging. We had to heat camera batteries when high up in the Andes with chemical feet and hand warmers

While it is charging, it generates heat. Maybe you could use some kind of insulation to put it in? It would require experimentation though, because overheating is bad. You would probably need some more insulation to keep it warm in the night.

I have considered this and I think I will buy one of these, maybe the small model. It will be nice to have as well when I am up in the mountains in the winter and when I am living in my tent in the summer. There is a Norwegian importer that sells them. Out of stock just now, though.

Thank you all for suggestions for reducing battery usage. I did a screen grab of my usage before I started trying to save battery and tried to compare it today. It is not possible to conclude anything. Nevertheless I will do the same next time I need to reduce usage.

Here is a list of the things I have done:

Battery on low power mode.
Turned off Wi-Fi and bluetooth.
Minimized location services.
Mail “Fetch new data” off.
Turned off notifications for all apps that I feel are only nice to have.

Turned off iPad during night. (I discovered that some nights it used 20% battery).

I could have reduced it more by not using the iPhone apps as I am used to. My audiobook app have used 60% over 10 days according to Battery settings statistics. 18 other apps are used in the same period. But more important for me today, the sun shone the whole day. If the weather forecast is right, it will shine tomorrow and the day after too.

I recall a thread here where it was stated that turning an iPad on would use more energy than leaving it running overnight. I haven’t measured it, but I have a reeeeaaaallly hard time believing that, especially if you only use a few apps daily.

Ahh… 24°c in Normandy today … the last days of October. Utterly crazy. Leaves are still green and buds are appearing. Confused trees.

It depends on what it might be doing.

A SoC like Apple’s A-series uses very little power when idle. So if the screen is locked and nothing is running in the background, battery usage will be pretty close to when it is powered off.

But if there’s something going on in the background - like apps (Mail, social media,etc.) updating content overnight, then not really.