Do you feel like your battery life has worsened since updating to iOS 12? With every new iOS release comes complaints about battery life, particularly in the early days of the software update being available, and the iOS 12 update is no different with some users reporting rapid battery draining. While reduced battery life on iPhone or iPad can be annoying, there may be valid reasons why device battery is draining quicker than usual after updating system software, so before you throw in the towel read on for a handful of helpful tips and tricks to help improve battery life issues after updating to iOS 12 on an iPhone or iPad.
Fixing iOS 12 Battery Life Draining on iPhone and iPad
We’ll cover 12 tips aimed at addressing battery life issues with iOS 12 on iPhone or iPad. The first few tips are general advice pertaining to updating to a new iOS release, and from there more specific battery advice is offered for improving performance by adjusting various settings, and checking on the health of the device battery itself.
1: Are you using the iPhone or iPad more than usual?
You just updated to iOS 12, and you’re probably digging around and exploring what has changed, or maybe spending a few hours setting up the perfectly customized Memoji. Well, the more you us a battery powered device, the more the battery power depletes, so if you’re simply toying around with your iPhone or iPad a bit more than usual after the software update, this can give the perception that battery life is suddenly worse. Whether or not this applies to your particular case, keep this in mind as you sort out what’s causing battery to drain faster than expected.
2: Did you just update to iOS 12? Great, then wait a while!
If you just recently updated to iOS 12 and now you feel your iPhone or iPad has reduced battery life, you might be onto something… sometimes battery life is reduced right after a system software update because when you update the system software, iOS will undergo various routine maintenance tasks and background activities to be up and running again. This includes background activity like indexing your Photos, indexing Spotlight, facial recognition, iCloud activity, and many other background system tasks that can occur after a software update has completed. Operating systems are complex, but fortunately iOS takes care just about all of that in the background.
The solution to this is as simple as it gets: wait. Just leave your iPhone or iPad alone and plugged in to a power source, typically overnight is a great time for leaving a device plugged in and unattended. During this time iOS will be able to complete all necessary background tasks, and in a day or two usually everything will be working as expected again, with battery life resuming it’s expected longevity.
3: Check for Software Updates
Sure iOS 12 just came out, but Apple often issues small bug fix software updates quickly after a major software release (iOS 12.1 went into beta testing almost immediately).
Accordingly, it’s a good idea to check for and install available software updates on any device that has installed iOS 12, both for core iOS system software and for third party apps.
Checking for iOS updates is easy from the Settings app > General > Software Update
Checking for app updates is easy from the App Store > Updates tab
It’s always possible some bug or issue in an app you are using often is leading to a reduction in battery life, so keep everything up to date.
4: Find Apps Using Battery Life
iOS offers excellent battery monitoring tools right in the system software, letting you see which apps are using battery power, and if something is particularly egregious then you can take action as needed. iOS 12 improves the battery monitoring functionality even further, so you can quickly find what apps (if any) are draining battery on an iPhone or iPad.
- Open the Settings app, then go to “Battery”
- Toggle between the “Last 24 hours” and “Last 10 days” switches and locate the app(s) using heavy battery
Typically you will find that anything using location data will be a heavy battery drain, as will social media apps, most GPU intensive games, and many media and movie watching apps. Streaming multimedia can also waste battery life, so service like Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify if they are left open and playing in the background can lead to battery draining faster than you might expect. The Messages app can also turn into a battery hog if you spend tons of time in the app sending and receiving a trillion stickers, animated gifs, videos, audio messages, Animoji, and other processor intensive toys.
If you see any particularly aggressive apps draining battery, try and see if there’s an app update available for that app. Or if you don’t even use the app much or don’t care for it, just delete the app to uninstall it from iOS.
5: Disable Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh enables apps that are in the background to stay updated. A side effect of allowing apps to update in the background is they will use more power and drain battery in the background too.
- Open the “Settings” app, then go to “General” > Background App Refresh > and turn this switch to the OFF position
Often just disabling Background App Refresh will notably boost battery performance of an iPhone or iPad.
This is a feature that some advanced users really like, particularly hardcore iPad users who setup they iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard and use it like a laptop or desktop computer, but for most users disabling it goes completely unnoticed.
6: Force Reboot
Forcibly rebooting an iPhone or iPad can sometimes lead to a resolution of battery issues if the battery draining is caused by some unusual background app behavior or rogue app going wild. This is a fairly simple troubleshooting trick so there’s not much to it beyond just forcibly restarting the device:
• For iPad and iPhone models with a clickable Home button: Hold down the Power Button and Home button together until you see the apple logo on the display. This is how to force reboot any iPhone or iPad with a clickable Home button.
• For iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 8 Plus: Hold down the Power Button and Volume Down button until you see the Apple logo on screen. This action will restart the device.
• For iPhone X (and iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS, though those come preinstalled with iOS 12): Click the Volume Up button then let go, click the Volume Down button then let it go, now press and hold down the Power button and continue to hold the Power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen. This is how to force restart iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max.
7: Turn Off Raise to Wake
Raise to wake is a feature on iPhone that detects when the iPhone has been lifted or raised which then awakens the screen automatically without having to press any button.
- Open “Settings” app then go to > Display & Brightness > Raise to Wake > turn the switch to OFF
It’s a nice feature, but it can lead to the screen turning on sometimes when you aren’t expecting it to, for example if you’re walking around with the iPhone in your hand, or if iPhone is in your hand during an activity like jogging, dancing, cartwheeling, backflipping, or anything else that causes the iPhone to raise up quickly. Because displaying the screen uses power, turning off Raise to Wake can help save some battery life.
Once Raise to Wake is disabled you will find the iPhone no longer turns the screen on from an upward motion alone, and instead you’ll need to interact with it by pressing a button or summoning Siri.
A similar feature causes the screen to wake up when the display is tapped on, which is quite useful for newer iPhone models without the Home button but it may lead to some inadvertent screen awakening scenarios. If you’re concerned about that, you can also disable Tap To Wake though the difference will likely be less.
8: Lower Display Brightness Levels
The display of your iPhone or iPad is perhaps uses power to light up, and while brightness at 100% can look brilliant it will also reduce battery life just due to the amount of power needed to keep the screen that bright. Thus, reducing screen brightness can help the battery last longer.
- Open the “Settings” app then go to > Display & Brightness > Brightness > adjust the brightness slider
You’ll have to adjust this to what you feel is appropriate for your particular needs, but it’s also convenient to access Control Center in iOS 12 and adjust display brightness quickly from there as needed on any iPhone or iPad.
9: Disable All Unnecessary Location Services
Location Services and GPS on iPhone and iPad are undeniably useful for apps like Maps and getting directions, but tons of other apps try to get and use your location for other purposes that are ultimately irrelevant or unnecessary (i.e. nearly all social networking apps). Using location data also uses battery power, so reducing the number of apps that can and do use your location data should improve your battery life of an iPhone or iPad.
- Open the Settings app > go to Privacy > choose Location Services
- Disable location features for apps that do not require location data for core functionality
You can also go all out and disable location services completely in iOS but that’s not a good idea for most users since apps like Maps and Weather will need location data to function properly. But does a music app, or drawing app, or social network need your location? Probably not, so you can turn off location access for most.
An added bonus to turning off unnecssary location service features is more privacy, so that’s an incentive to some users too.
10: Utilize Low Power Mode on iPhone
Using Low Power Mode is an excellent way to dramatically improve battery life of an iPhone, though it comes at a cost of reducing performance slightly, and some other features like email fetching are disabled while the feature is on.
- Open the Settings app on iPhone then choose “Battery” and toggle “Low Power Mode” to the ON position
Personally I use Low Power Mode on iPhone constantly and I find it to be incredibly effective at boosting battery performance in general, it’s a really great feature.
Unfortunately, iPad does not have Low Power Mode available yet.
11: Check Battery Health & Replace Battery if Needed
New versions of iOS allow you to check battery health on iPhone, and if you feel that battery life is particularly awful, and perhaps performance is sluggish too, then it could be due to a battery going bad in the iPhone.
- Go to “Settings” app then to “Battery” and check Battery Health
- If the “Maximum Capacity” is lower than you’d prefer, or if Peak Performance is disabled, you should replace the battery
- You can initiate a repair and replace the battery of iPhone through Apple Support here
The best way to replace a device battery is through Apple, and it’s also reasonably affordable too (particularly until the end of this year while the price is discounted). There are many reports of users replacing a battery of an older iPhone and then suddenly performance and speed is excellent again, and of course a brand new battery will have the best possible battery life too. This is a great option if you are concerned about some hardware issue. Check the Apple Support battery repair page here on apple.com for more info.
12: Downgrade iOS 12
Another option is to downgrade from iOS 12 back to iOS 11.4.1 as discussed here, but the opportunity to do so is limited, and there’s no guarantee that it will improve battery life. In fact, if you downgrade iOS 12 you will still need to go through the normal ‘waiting’ process that is recommended at the very beginning of this article.
Downgrading iOS 12 should only be considered an absolute last resort, and really only if other problems are impacting the iPhone or iPad too, like some app incompatibility. Don’t take the downgrade process lightly, a failure of downgrading properly can result in permanent data loss of all data on the device itself.