Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Tablet Standby


“Over a month of standby” This is how Apple used to market the iPad’s battery. Today, the iPad runs several background processes while in standby. My HomeKit experiment clearly shows that. I achieved 20 days of standby on my iPad Pro. Without disabling Home the battery would have died after a week.

I doubt I would even get a week on my iPad Air. If I don’t leave it plugged in, it’s always dead when I reach for it.

It’s not great with my Kindle, either, unless I put it in Airplane Mode. Then the battery life is amazing.

For iPad, I think the available settings don’t really match how I use it. I don’t want to turn off Background App Refresh because then apps will be out-of-date when I’m actively using it. But I don’t want them constantly doing stuff when the iPad is “off,” either. I think what I’d like is for it to automatically go into Airplane Mode when I turn off the screen.


Update (2023-12-11): Christian Selig:

iPad feature I’d love: Deep Sleep. I find whenever I go a few days or a week between using an iPad, it’s often dead or almost dead. An auto-deep sleep mode after 24 hours of non-use would be awesome, even if it took 5 seconds or so to wake back up.

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I have mitigated this problem by scheduling a Shortcut to turn off WiFi and Bluetooth, and turn on low power mode at midnight each day. I then have another shortcut that reverses these settings again at 7AM. Not perfect (Find My won’t work with these settings), but works for me.

I run into the same problem. To mitigate, I have created a widget which triggers a Shortcuts automation to toggle between regular usage and Airplane + Low Power Mode when not using it. This results in much longer standby time but obviously nothing gets refreshed in the background.

Michael Fessler

I’ve found that my iPad standby battery life was abysmal due to Find My background activity, and was able to trace it to the presence of an AirTag. When I took the battery out of the AirTag that I normally kept in my briefcase, my standby battery drain fell dramatically. This appears to be a known problem.

Matt Leipham Ellis

This has bothered me for years and I eventually created a simple Shortcut named “Device Deep Sleep” to attach to a few Automation entries:

Turn Airplane Mode On
Turn Low Power Mode On
Turn Device Deep Sleep (custom Focus) On

I currently have it scheduled to run every 6 hours at times when I am unlikely to be using the iPad, only taking the above actions if the battery charge state is below 90%. It also runs via Automation when the referenced Focus mode is turned on, and a Shortcut that reverses the above actions runs when that Focus mode is turned off. I do have Settings > Focus > Share Across Devices disabled on my iPad.

Based on the current capabilities and limitations of Shortcuts I am content with how this improves my standby time without much inconvenience. iOS 16 prominently displays the active Focus mode on the Lock Screen which reminds me to turn off the Focus before unlocking the device, and it typically reconnects to Wi-Fi within 5 seconds.

I have a 10 years old iPad 4 that was never updated from iOS 6.0.1, which has seen light but generally weekly usage. It’s almost always on, and the stand-by time is still solid enough that I never worry about it.

How old is that iPad Air and which model is it Michael?

I’ve debated “upgrading” to a newer iPad, but iOS 6 still allows me to read books and surf most of the web through some hoops (disabling JS to avoid hangs/crashes, or using a PHProxy to bypass modern TLS requirements, or using the Opera mini proxy browser). And reminding myself what it looked like when a company and its third-party developers took usability extremely seriously, of course.

@Alexandre It’s a 4th-generation iPad Air that’s less than 2 years old.

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