Is there a way to switch the iPhone’s functionality to a phone-only mode. In this mode only incoming (and possibly outgoing) calls and SMS messaging would be activated. All other services (location, push, mail) would be disabled. So it would be just like your average seven-years-ago mobile phone which you could leave on during the night (*) without getting awakened by facebook push messages and without fearing to oversleep because the battery drained from downloading all the spam mails you got during the night.

Note that I’m not speaking of do not disturb functionality, which would also silence SMS messaging (which I’d still like to receive) and yet drain more power than needed by having activated location, push and mail services.

(*) alarm clock functionality should also work in that mode (but this could well be the built-in alarm, no other apps should be activated or running in the background)

1 Answer 1


You could turn off Wi-Fi (Settings -> Wi-Fi) and cellular data (Settings -> General -> Cellular -> Cellular Data) to get a phone which works just like a phone. Possibly disable location services (Settings -> Privacy -> Locations Services) as well if you really want to extend the battery life.

I do believe this would still allow local notifications, though, if you've got any apps that use them (such as some alarm or reminder apps).

  • Indeed, turn off the radios that you don't need, wifi, cellular data, blueooth, and the only thing that can happen in terms of incoming actions is a phone call or a text. Local notifications can still happen as Lizzan mentions, you'll have to manage those in individual app settings or the notifications settings area, but it can be done. There's no quick way to do it, and you may find the hassle of turning them off and back on again is not worth it.
    – stuffe
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 11:05
  • And I would have to close all background applications manually as well to extend the battery life as much as possible…
    – Debilski
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:49
  • 1
    @Debilski Or you could just reboot the phone, killing all apps at once. Might be faster than killing them one by one.
    – Lizzan
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 14:15
  • 2
    @Debilski As far as closing "background" apps manually, with few exceptions iOS apps do not continue running for more than a few seconds while in the background.
    – Dan J
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 20:03
  • @DanJ True (I was aware of that in general but not in detail – thanks for the link btw) but I am exactly concerned about those few apps which may indeed run indefinitely. Those who have (maybe mistakenly) GPS activated while running in the background or are somewhat listening for incoming connections like in the Skype example. These are the ones which I fear may drain the battery without giving me a chance to find out that they are actually doing so.
    – Debilski
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 8:51

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