Watching YouTube on our smartphones has become a daily occurrence for most of us. The current level of technology has made it easier than ever to stream videos anywhere. Unfortunately, the one area that still has a long way to go is battery life.
If you’re wondering why YouTube is draining your battery so quickly, it isn’t. Rather, it’s the surrounding factors that affect your phone’s battery life, such as the brightness on your screen, if you’re using Bluetooth, and the act of streaming videos itself.
This article will look more into why your battery is being drained when you watch YouTube on your iPhone. We’ll also cover some ways to fix the problem and get more from your charge.
Why YouTube Drains Your iPhone Battery
YouTube itself isn’t what’s draining your battery. It’s what resources are being expended while you watch. Since you’re using a smaller screen and have less battery power than computers, it uses more energy to stream.
The most significant factors draining your iPhone are:
Turning Up Your Screen Brightness
A smaller screen means less space for detail, making it harder to view videos. Turning up the brightness can help with that, as it makes the picture clearer. Unfortunately, turning it up all the way uses a lot of battery life.
Wired conducted an experiment using an iPhone 4 that shows a sharp increase in battery drain the higher the brightness level was raised. While batteries have become more advanced, it has only improved the length of overall battery life. It hasn’t addressed the amount of power used by that function.
Using Bluetooth for Streaming Audio
Believe it or not, Bluetooth doesn’t really impact your battery life when it’s sitting idle.
Android Authority discovered about a 10 to 15-minute battery difference when leaving Bluetooth on throughout a day-long experiment. There was a 0.2% difference when adding in wireless headphones for locally stored music.
Where this starts to change is streaming. Using Bluetooth to stream audio over a connection, WIFI, or data will kill it more than half as fast. That means it isn’t Bluetooth that’s causing the issue but streaming.
If streaming music is detrimental to your battery life, streaming video is going to be even worse. TechRepublic found YouTube to be one of the top ten most draining apps on the App Store.
Given its relative size, how much content is available, the features, and the average definition offered, it isn’t a surprise.
There’s nothing wrong or dangerous for your battery if it’s draining due to streaming. It won’t hurt your phone, but if you need to conserve it for a particular reason, you might want to wait to bring up that old Smosh video.
How To Conserve Your Battery Life
The good news is that conserving your battery life while still watching YouTube (or other streaming sites) is totally possible. All it takes is a few tweaks, and you’ll be watching cat videos in your dentist’s waiting room like the rest of us.
To stop YouTube from draining your battery so quickly, here’s what you can do:
Turn Down Your Brightness
This is the easiest thing that you can do to conserve your battery. That doesn’t mean it has to be all the way down or even that dim. If you look at the above-linked article from Wired, you’ll see their graph showing how the battery drains at each brightness level.
You won’t start seeing a sharp increase until around 40%. So turning your brightness up a bit won’t have such a heavy impact on your battery if you keep your iPhone’s brightness under that percentage. Try keeping it around 10-20% to get some good visual detail without overloading your resources.
Turn On Power Saver
Power Saver Mode is a useful tool for any smartphone. With different saving levels, you can turn it to one of the lower saver settings and still watch YouTube or use other apps. It’ll somewhat impact the resolution of the video, but not enough to ruin your viewing experience.
Download Your Video
Rather than streaming, YouTube Music Premium allows you to download videos onto your internal storage. Since so many videos are long these days, including whole albums uploaded to the hosting site, you can save a lot of power by downloading them and then watching from your local directory.
Turn Off Background Apps
Background apps can use a tremendous amount of power without you knowing it. But just swiping up to close them isn’t enough to stop them. Turning them off or pausing the mandatory ones can make a huge difference in preserving your battery.
As we already mentioned, Bluetooth headphones and speakers themselves don’t use up that much power. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use any. That 10 to 15 minutes can make all the difference sometimes. If you’re in dire straits, use regular headphones (they sell adapters for phones without audio jacks).
Plug-In Your Phone
It isn’t hard to take a charger with you or keep one by where you’re watching YouTube videos. Keeping your phone plugged in will offset the energy expenditure when you’re streaming. If you have a modern, quick charging cable, it may even charge it back up to 100% while you watch.
Get a Battery Pack
Having a backup battery is always helpful. You can purchase an external battery pack for cheap and keep it on you for emergencies. Most will give at least a few hours of charge, and some even offer additional features.
Here are a few recommendations from Amazon.com:
- Anker Portable Charger – Not only is it small enough to fit into your pocket, but it’s also a high output backup with 20,100mAh.
- Miisso External Battery Pack – At 10000mAh, this battery pack packs a punch and comes with two USB ports for dual charging on the go.
- Riapow Solar Charger + LED Flashlight – Charge during the day using the solar feature, and have a flashlight plus power bank for the night.
YouTube doesn’t drain your battery; streaming does. So do background apps, a high brightness level, and running videos at a high resolution. All of this is easy to fix. Using the tips above can help you get a lot more out of your charge.
My Current Video Editing Setup and Favorite Products
Apple MacBook Air M1 512gb Ram (Waiting for the new 16in Pro)
LG 27MK400H-B Full HD Monitor with FreeSync 27″ (I literally have 4 of these 😅 )
Razer Holiday Bundle Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard, Abyssus Gaming Mouse, Goliathus Chroma Mousepad
KTRIO Large Gaming Mouse Pad with Stitched Edges
Panasonic LUMIX G7 Digital Camera – Great Entry Camera for Shooting and Streaming
Neewer Ring Light Kit — A Must Have
Emart Green Screen Backdrop with Stand Kit – Affordable and Lots of Uses!
Elgato Stream Deck Mini – I only need the 6 keys