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Reclaim some of your iOS7 iPhone's battery life

(MoneyWatch) If you've recently upgraded to iOS7 and noticed that your battery doesn't perform as well as it used to, you're not alone. The new operating system includes a few features that lean heavily on the battery.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Everything your phone does requires some power, and as long as you can return your phone to a charger throughout the day, it's of little concern. But if you find yourself running out of juice during the day, here are a few tricks for getting your iPhone to run longer on a single charge:

Turn off parallax. This one is a no-brainer, because it's a feature in iOS7 that has no practical application; it just makes your phone look pretty. The parallax effect simply creates a sense of depth between the icons and the background image, so when you twist the phone, they move at different rates. Some users have even complained that this effect can induce motion sickness. To turn it off, open Settings and choose General, Accessibility, and then turn on Reduce Motion (which is off by default).

Dial back Background App Refresh. In older versions of iOS, apps could not refresh themselves until they were launched. So if you opened a newsreader, it would be full of old news stories, and you'd then have to wait -- sometimes for a minute or more -- while the app fetched the latest news. Using Background App Refresh, iOS7 lets compatible apps grab content updates periodically through the day so it's more prepared for when you eventually launch the app. But that can soak up a lot of battery life. Thankfully, you have a lot of options. Tap Settings and then choose General, Background App Refresh. Here, you can choose which apps get to download content in the background. Or you can disable the feature entirely. As a general rule, though, you might want to only enable the apps you use most often, and leave the others disabled.

Turn off automatic updates. New in iOS7: Your iPhone can download and install app updates automatically, so you don't have to do it yourself. No more will you open your App Store and find 40 updates waiting for you. The downside? Obviously, it takes battery life to do that behind the scenes, when your phone is sitting in your pocket. You can opt to disable this by opening Settings and then then choosing iTunes & App Store. Updates is one of the options under Automatic Downloads.

Other tweaks. There are some other things you can do to manage your battery life as well. You can turn off Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi when those radios aren't in use, for example. You can also dial back the screen brightness. AirDrop - the new feature that lets you share content with nearby iPhones -- also puts a small load on your phone, so you can turn it off from the Control Center (swipe up from the bottom of the screen).

Photo courtesy Flickr user swanksalot

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