How to Save Your Battery When Using the Find A Grave App

On a recent trip to northern Michigan, my sister and I decided to visit some nearby cemeteries and fulfill some Find A Grave photo requests. (Who needs to play golf on vacation when you can visit cemeteries?!) I fired up the Find A Grave app on my iPhone, found a couple of nearby cemeteries with photo requests and away we went.

The Problem

Just as we were finishing walking the first cemetery, my phone died. No phone, no Find A Grave app, no way of knowing the photo requests. Thankfully, we had a car charger and I could get it recharged enough while we ate lunch so we could go to the next cemetery.

Although northern Michigan is beautiful, it is a bit spotty in cell coverage in places. I opened the Find A Grave app before going to the cemetery and left it running the whole time we were there. Since I had the geo-locator turned on to help guide us to the cemetery, my phone kept trying to acquire service while we were there. The more it tried, the faster the battery drained.

The Solution

We still wanted to visit another cemetery, but I didn’t want to have my phone continually dying on me, especially if I found a tombstone. I wanted to make sure I could upload it from there. Here’s what I did to save the battery:

  1. Before heading back out, we took notes on the location of the next cemetery, so we didn’t need turn-by-turn directions.
  2. I went into the Find A Grave app, found the cemetery, and tapped “Open Photo Requests.”
  3. Took a screenshot of the photo requests.
  4. Closed the Find A Grave app. (Double-tapping my iPhone’s home button, which reveals all of the open apps, then swiping the Find A Grave app from bottom to top to close it.)
Screenshot of the photo requests page on the Find A Grave iOS app
Screenshot of the photo requests page on the Find A Grave iOS app

When we went to the cemetery, instead of having my app open to remember the names of the tombstones we were hunting, I could just open my photos and see it. My phone wasn’t continually trying to pinpoint my position and trying to acquire service to do so.

Battery saved.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find any of the tombstones we were hunting, but if we had, I would have had enough battery to open the app again and fulfill the request right from there.

A Note About the Battery

I’ve used the Find A Grave app in cemeteries numerous times with this phone and hadn’t had the phone die before. However, I’m usually in areas with good cell coverage. But when I’m in a situation like this again where the signal isn’t the strongest, I’m going to take a screenshot of the photo requests and shut down the app before I go.

How to Save Your Battery When Using the Find A Grave app

Posted: October 9, 2015.

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  • Great tip! Something similar happened to me in Upstate NY. No cell coverage. I found out that churches were a good place to stop… They had cell coverage 🙂

  • I avoid car chargers as they can void your phone’s warranty. I use a portable battery pack. I can attach my phone or tablet to it with a long enough cord to keep it in my jacket or pants pocket and the phone lasts a longer than the several hours I may be photographing on a great day. I don’t see it on here , but I use a 16800 battery pack.Takes a while to get to it full charge if I drain it, but I could use it all day on a full charge and have plenty of charge remaining. It came with both Apple and Android attachments. You can get smaller sizes and different shapes to fit most needs. As a back-up, I have one about the size of AA battery and it extends battery life enough to get in several hours at a cemetery without a problem.

  • Does the app still work if the phone is in airplane mode? Or without cell service but with a gps signal? Just curious as I am headed out to a meet up this weekend and not sure of the cell service where I am headed.

    • I don’t think you’ll be able to get positions in airplane mode, but I could be wrong. I haven’t tested that.

  • Great suggestions. I just ran into this in Ireland last week. My battery drained on the last row. I too have the battery pack…at the hotel. BTW, the battery packs work great.

  • In addition you can invest in an external Battery pack this gives you hours of additional phone use. I have one for hiking off grid and use it for emergency back up. A 10,000 mAh battery about the same size as your phone is around $30. Can recharge your phone several times or keep it plugged in with a USB C cord and it will keep your phone topped up.