People hate Winterboard for one main reason: it drains the battery so damn fast that it's like almost a juice-monster. And needless to say, they're missing out on several themes just because of this problem. It's persistent even today, even when you've got an iPhone 5 running iOS 6.x.
The problem – I am quite sure of this because I did test my iPhone with Winterboard themes – is not so much with Winteboard as with the type of themes and tweaks you've got onboard. Many people I know blame it after it starts eating up a lot of the battery. But the problem lies in your choice of themes and tweaks. It also – in a large measure – depend on your preference.
What's Your Preference
Jailbreak opens up a world of possibilities for iPhone mods. Interestingly, people just jump on this feature and start installing tweaks and themes and other stuff that seems cool on the surface. Truth be told, not every tweak is conscious of the battery. Little tweaks like BrowserChooser aren't going to fetch data all the time. They're tweaks to the internal file system and they're triggered only rarely.
But a majority of the tweaks: LS themes, NC tweaks and add-ons, apps like LockInfo, IntelliscreenX, and overall themes for Winterbaord/Dreamboard do eat up the battery because they're constantly fetching and pushing some data or the other.
You must remember that iPhone wasn't designed for jailbreak. And so, it wasn't designed for all these tweaks. Actually, I am guessing that Apple never really expected the jailbreak scene to mushroom out like this. As luck would have it, it has and people start expecting the iPhone / iPad to hold good even in the face of a tweak/theme onslaught. That just isn't going to happen.
Keep your preferences minimal. Remember, you can always make things look beautiful with the simplest of features, tweaks and themes. Yes, if you want to add a lot of tweaks, you are free to do so but remember that you'll need to add power to the phone more frequently.
Limit Tweaks to LS, NC and Background
One of the first things I'd recommend is that you limit tweaks to the notification center and lockscreen. You keep the screen locked most of the time but still, tweaks keep running in the background. Take, for instance, weather-widget based LS themes or Notification Center tweaks that monitor Wifi. These are going to be fetching data and wasting your battery, obviously. Do you really need them? If yes, test with available alternatives before choosing the optimal one. If not, let them go.
Heavy HD Themes
There are plenty of HD themes out there. These are eye-candy and you mostly are drooling over them. I know the feeling. I've been there myself. One HD theme and my battery fell through the roof rapidly. Before long, my iPhone was dead.
While several of the HD themes look absolutely stunning on your iPhone, they're also eating battery a lot. When you use a heavily modded/themed iPhone, you are eating up almost 2x or 3x as much battery as you would, if there wasn't any theme in the first place.
But hey! What's the point of winterboarding if not for themes?
Fair question. The idea is to:
- Either use themes that aren't heavy: minimal icon changes, backgrounds, LS modifications
- Or use themes from popular devs (like Surenix) who know how to handle the resources
Test, test, test. And Optimize.
The only thing you do with themes is to test their impact on the battery. For starters, this is what I did:
- When I install a new theme, I usually “removed” older themes from Cydia. Disabling them in Winterboard pretty much is enough but I wanted to make sure there was no stack left. I don't know precisely if this had any impact on the battery but things sure seemed okay.
- Disable heavy-load tweaks and test how the battery drains afterwards. If things appear to be back to normal, you've figured out what's causing the battery drain.
- If you are installing HD themes that have a lot of mods, figure out if there are things you can switch off from the theme's settings.
- Dim down the brightness. In most cases, a 50% brightness is more than enough.
- Turn off location services when not needed. These eat up a lot of battery.
You can check out this video too. We talk about a few battery-saving options for non-jailbroken iPhones but you can apply them to all iPhones.