Apple may not have any significant new hardware for this year’s iPhone update, but the latest iOS release suggests that Tim Cook and his team are continuing work to match the options available to Android users.
Hiding inside the beta of iOS 13’s settings menu is a new option for the battery, ‘Low Data Mode’. Apple Insider’s Mark Linsangan reports:
In the Cellular settings, you now have the option to toggle Low Data Mode which should help apps use less data. Apple isn’t clear on specifically how it works, but it appears that it suspends background activity when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.
If this sounds familiar to smartphone users, that’s because it is. Android has been sporting a similar option for over three years.
Data Saver was introduced to Android 7.0, which debuted in March 2016 – ancient history in smartphone development – and has been a default feature in the Android package since then. All applications should implement the Data Saver option, including preloaded applications. It is recommended that under the data saver option, apps should:
…Remove unnecessary images; Use lower resolution for remaining images; Use lower nitrate video; Trigger existing “lite” experiences; Compress data; Respect metered vs. unmetered network status even when Data Saver is off.
Conversely, to work well with Data Saver, apps should not; Autoplay videos; Prefetch content/attachments; Download updates / code; Ask to be whitelisted unless background data is truly part of core functionality; Treat whitelisting as a license to use more bandwidth.
Apple has not yet confirmed how its ‘Low Data Mode’ works, but from a practical point of view it’s likely to be very similar to the approach recommended by Android.
Coupled with reports of a larger battery pack for the iPhone XR2, and the inclusion of intelligent charging to limit the cycles put into a battery (another iOS 13 addition), it looks like Tim Cook’s Apple is going to be using battery life as one of the key marketing points of the new handset.
Hopefully Apple will be more open on how it calculates battery usage in the 2019 handsets.