Fix battery drain after update to iOS 16 on the iPhone

The tweaks and settings you need to maximise battery life on the iPhone and stop iOS 16 draining the battery. With the right settings your phone could last all day and into tomorrow too!

What is the number one feature that iPhone owners would like improved? For some people, it is the battery life. Although some iPhone owners say their device has amazing battery life, sometimes lasting two days on a charge, many people wish their iPhone would last longer. In fact, some people cannot make it through a day without topping up their phone’s battery at some point.

Battery drain problems often seem to appear after an iOS update and messages from afflicted users appear in popular forums and discussion groups. A common complaint is that someone updated iOS to the latest version and now they have high battery usage.

If you want to maximize the time the iPhone will run on a full charge, the tips here will all help. Each one on its own has a small effect, but all of them combined have a significant effect on battery life. Do as many of these as you can and you might make it through the day without recharging.

1: Update iOS to solve battery drain

iOS sometimes causes battery drain problems for a few people and when a new major version is released there are often complaints that battery life has taken a turn for the worse. Sooner or later Apple releases an update for iOS that fixes the battery drain bug and all is well again.

iOS update on the iPhone screenshot
Install iOS updates

It therefore pays to keep on top of iOS updates and install them as soon as they are available. If you are having battery issues, an update might be the solution, even if it is not mentioned in the update notes.

Go to Settings > General > Software Update. It tells you if iOS is up to date and there is an option to download and install the update if it is not. There is also an option to enable Automatic Updates. Turn it on.

2: Update apps to solve battery drain

Sometimes apps have bugs in that cause them to consume too much power and this runs down the battery more quickly. If you suspect or hear that it is a specific app, manually update the app if automatic updates are disabled, and maybe turn on automatic updates.

Manually update apps on the iPhone
Update apps on the iPhone

Open the App Store, press your account icon in the top right corner and swipe up to see if there are any app updates available. Go to Settings > App Store and turn on the switch next to App Updates. Automatic updates are disabled when low power mode is enabled on the iPhone, so manually check for updates.

Updates can a problem because the next app update could contain a bug that drains the battery. Updating apps can fix problems or create them where there were none, so the question is, do you update or note?

My own preference is to turn off automatic updates and to update only when there is a problem or I really want a feature in the next version. I usually stick with an app if it is working OK and has all the features I need.

3: Use Low Power Mode on the iPhone

When the battery level falls below a certain level, such as 20%, a message appears on the screen prompting you to enable low power mode. This limits app activity, background apps, dims the screen ever so slightly, and stops or limits some unimportant phone functions in order to reduce the power consumption and eke out as much life from the remaining battery charge as possible.

Battery settings on the iPhone in iOS 16
Enable Low Power Mode to reduce battery drain

To make the battery last longer, Low Power Mode can be activated manually. Go to Settings > Battery and flip the switch.

Better still, pull down from the top right of the screen to show Control Center and press the Battery Saver icon. If you don’t have the Battery Saver icon in Control Center, open Settings > Control Center and add it.

It is useful to be able to enable or disable it from anywhere, no matter which app you are using. For example, Photos will not upload new photos to iCloud when Battery Saver is on, so you have to temporarily switch it off, then switch it back on afterwards. This is easy from Control Center.

4: Turn down the screen brightness

Pull down from the top right to show the Control Center on the iPhone and drag the brightness slider down to the lowest level that is comfortable to see. This reduces the power consumption and increases the battery life.

Display brightness and settings in iOS on the iPhone
Display and brightness settings in iOS

The iPhone automatically changes the brightness depending on conditions, but you can still adjust it yourself to a new lower level.

There is an Auto-Brightness switch at Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size and turning on the switch helps a lot, but sometimes the screen can still be brighter than it needs to be.

Sometimes it seems to get in a muddle on my iPhone or iPad and it is not right. If you notice the screen is too bright, turn it down a notch in Control Center and this will reduce power consumption and extend battery life.

5: Turn off Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a low-power wireless technology, but it still uses some power and if you are not using it for anything, turn it off. If you need it during the day for accessories like AirPods or Apple Watch, turn it off at night.

iOS Settings showing Airplane mode, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the iPhone
Turn off Bluetooth if you are not using it

Do not turn off Bluetooth in the Control Center because this may simply disconnect devices without actually turning off Bluetooth and reducing battery drain. Go to Settings > Bluetooth and turn it off there instead.

6: Set a Focus mode

Focus mode is a feature that is designed to stop notifications and sounds when you are busy doing something else, such as when you are in a meeting, asleep at night and so on.

Notifications can turn on the screen, vibrate the phone and make sounds. All of these require power, so blocking them using a Focus mode will use less power and so enable longer battery life. Use it whenever you can.

Focus modes in iOS on the iPhone
Do Not Disturb may save battery power

Go to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb to configure this Focus mode. Tap Options to enable battery saving options like dimming the lock screen and hiding notifications. Use the other settings to turn on Do Not Disturb automatically, such as at home or work.

Select the Sleep focus and set it so that it is automatically enabled at night. Not only will it prevent your phone from waking you (alarms still work), it will reduce battery drain overnight. You and your iPhone will sleep better.

7: Turn on Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode is a great way to increase battery life and power consumption is reduced quite a bit. If you put your iPhone into flight mode, it will lose very little charge, sometimes as little as a couple of percent over several hours.

It does this by turning off all radios – mobile, data, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This saves power, but it also has an effect on apps too. Apps cannot go online and check for updates, download data like emails and notifications, fetch or send information and so on.

You will not want to disconnect yourself from the world for long, but phone and app activity is reduced to a minimum and this saves power. Do this only in emergencies when your iPhone battery is very low and you need it to last.

iOS Settings showing Airplane mode, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the iPhone
Use Airplane Mode to reduce battery drain

Enable it at night, at the cinema, and any other time you do not want to be disturbed and battery power will be saved.

The phone always tries to maintain a mobile connection and if there is no mobile signal it constantly searches for one. This uses a lot of power, so if you are out in the countryside walking, cycling, climbing, camping and so on, put it in flight mode when there is no signal.

Enable it by pressing the plane icon in Control Center or open settings and tap the switch at the top.

8: Set Auto-Lock

When the iPhone is put down or in your pocket, the screen remains on for a time and this is a waste of battery power. Sooner or later the phone will turn off the screen and sooner is better if you want to maximize battery life.

Auto-lock in iOS settings on the iPhone
Set a short auto-lock time on the iPhone

Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock and set the time to the shortest that is convenient for you. iPhones can be unlocked simply by looking at them, so it takes no effort. You may as well set the shortest timeout available – 30 seconds, or 1 minute at most. That will save power every time you put your phone down.

9: Stop Siri listening

Siri can be activated simply by saying ‘Hey, Siri’ and the personal assistant can be accessed even when the phone is locked. This may be convenient, but if Siri is constantly listening for that trigger phrase, it must be using power. Like everything else here, it is not a big deal on its own, but every little saving helps to extend battery life that little bit more.

Turn it off. You can still access Siri in other ways, like pressing and holding the side button.

Settings for Siri and search in iOS on the iPhone
Stop Siri constantly listening to save battery

Go to Settings > Siri & Search and turn off the switch Listen for “Hey, Siri”. Enable the side button instead.

10: Stop background apps running

Some apps run in the background in order to perform various tasks, usually something related to messages, notifications and updates. For example, social network apps, photo apps, email, messaging, news and weather apps, and so on, can all run in the background.

Some are essential, but a few are not and by preventing apps from running in the background the phone will use less power and that means longer battery life.

Options for enabling or disabling background app refresh in iOS on the iPhone
Prevent background apps running

Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and there is a list of apps with switches. Turn off the ones next to apps that are unimportant. For example, you might consider Facebook unimportant or Apple News, and preventing them from running in the background can save power.

If low power mode is enabled, apps are either prevented from refreshing in the background, or they don’t refresh so often. This is great and best of all, it does not seem to affect important apps like Mail and Messages.

11: Turn off Personal Hotspot

When there is no Wi-Fi available and you are out with a laptop, the iPhone can be turned into your own personal hotspot. Then your laptop can connect to it wirelessly and get online, either for work or leisure activities.

Settings in iOS on the iPhone
Make sure Personal Hotspot is off

The Personal Hotspot feature uses a lot of power, so don’t leave it running and forget about it. Turn it off as soon as you are finished with it and not a minute longer to reduce battery drain. Go to Settings > Personal Hotspot and turn it off.

12: Use static wallpaper

The iPhone has some interesting wallpaper effects and they can be animated. However, this consumes extra power because the processor is working harder than with static wallpaper images. If you want to increase battery life, select a static image.

Wallpaper selection in iOS on the iPhone
Select static wallpaper for your iPhone

Go to Settings > Wallpaper and there are many options. There are also wallpaper apps in the App Store. The best setting for reducing battery drain is a static image. Avoid wallpapers that often update, like a collection of photos from the Photos app, weather and others.

Also, open Settings > Accessibility > Motion and turn on Reduce Motion. This reduces unnecessary animations that you can live without.

13: Limit notifications

Notifications can turn on the screen, vibrate the phone and make sounds. Limiting the number of apps that can show notifications will therefore reduce power usage and lengthen battery life.

Notifications settings in iOS on the iPhone
Stop unnecessary notifications on your phone

Go to Settings > Notifications and look down the list of apps. Are there any that are unimportant? What is important to you is not necessarily important to someone else, so which apps and notifications you block is up to you.

I block Facebook for example, because the notifications are often trivial, and I run the app every day anyway, so I see notifications inside the app. I don’t need the iPhone screen lighting up every time someone posts something.

Reducing notifications will save a little battery power.

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