Here we are, yet another iOS release, likely the last major update before the iOS 17 is unveiled at WWDC 2023, and some iPhone owners are once again experiencing battery issues.
Along with a bunch of fixes, new features, and over three dozen security fixes, does the new iOS 16.5 update improve or degrade battery life?
I’ve been keeping an eye on social media and Apple’s support forums, and opinions are, as always, mixed. Some say this update is a big improvement, others say it’s abysmal. And there are even reports of overheating accompanied by plummeting battery life.
If you’re experiencing better battery life, good for you. You can stop reading here and get on with your day.
However, if you are one of those people having battery issues, I have some tips and tricks to help you make it through the day.
1. Be patient
It’s normal to experience a drop — even quite a significant drop — in battery life following the installation of an iOS update.
iPhones need to carry out a number of tasks in the background in the aftermath of an update. This consumes more battery power than usual, and the battery life will return to normal once all these extra tasks have been completed.
2. Reboot again
It might seem strange to recommend a reboot since the update process reboots the iPhone, but it actually helps. And remember, that reboot that happens following an update triggers off a raft of post-update actions, from updating indexes and recalibrating the battery.
If the iPhone is burning through the battery after the update, then a reboot might bring things under control. It’s worked for me, and it’s worked for several other people I’ve recommended.
And it doesn’t cost you anything beyond a couple of minutes.
3. Update your apps
The problem might not be an iOS issue but more a problem with an app that has gone rogue, especially when new versions of iOS have been released. That means it’s a good idea to make sure all your apps are updated before you go spending a lot of time trying to diagnose what’s going on.
Fire up the App Store app and tap your profile icon in the corner, then scroll down to Available Updates to look for updates (I like to pull down this screen to refresh it, so I see all the latest updates).
4. Find out what’s eating your battery
OK, so updating iOS and your apps hasn’t solved the issue, and your battery is showing as fine. What else could it be? It could be a rogue app that’s draining the battery. And fortunately, iOS offers you the tools you need to track down misbehaving apps.
Head over to Setting > Battery, and here you will see a lot of data, including Battery Usage By App. Tapping also allows you to switch to Activity By App, which shows a breakdown of how much power the app is using while on the screen and how much it is using when in the background.
You can use this information to diagnose battery drain issues. Here are some other things you can use this information for:
- An app going berserk in the background will show lots of activity in the background compared with screen activity (try disabling background activity for that app and see if that helps).
- You can spot charging problems (Was the battery actually charging when you thought it was?).
- You can also spot poor battery performance (look for battery charge falling rapidly).
5. Check if your battery needs replacing
Is your iPhone getting on a bit?
If it’s four years or older, then the battery might be getting old and need replacing.
Tap on Settings and head to Battery > Battery Health & Charging and check what the Maximum Capacity of the battery is listed as. If this is below 80% then this could indicate a worn battery.
6. What about overheating?
Don’t get into a competition to see how hot you can get your iPhone. That’s a path that leads to hardware damage. A stressed, hot battery is an unhappy battery, and that can lead to premature wear and performance issues.
So, if it’s overheating, remove it from a hot window and don’t keep it in a hot car. I also recommend temporarily taking it out of any case it’s in.
If you came across an app that was going berserk in the background in step four, then you might have found your problem. Deleting that app (or reinstalling it) or revoking its background refresh privileges (go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and flip the toggle on the app in question) do the job. Otherwise, the problem is very likely an iOS bug.
7. Wait for the next iOS update
Bugs do slip through the net, and sometimes all you can do is wait for Apple to fix the problem and roll out a new update.
Apple is getting much better about fixing issues like this, although you do have to wait for the fix and take a gamble that the new update does indeed fix the problem and not cause more chaos.
That said, given that pretty much every update Apple rolls out nowadays is packed with iOS security updates, I recommend installing updates, as not doing this can leave your iPhone vulnerable to attack.