In some applications, a regulator may spend most of its life shut off (in standby mode) and only supply load current when a main regulator fails. In these cases, the quiescent current determines the battery life.
Every electronic circuit is designed to operate off of some supply voltage, which is usually assumed to be constant. A voltage regulator provides this constant DC output voltage and contains circuitry that continuously holds the output voltage at the design value regardless of changes in load current or input voltage (this assumes that the load current and input voltage are within the specified operating range for the part).
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