iOS 16: Fix your iPhone battery drain problems

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Is your iPhone’s battery draining faster after iOS 16 update? Here’s how you can find out whether this is a hardware problem, or an app that is misbehaving, and become an iPhone battery wizard!

Check your Battery Health

First thing to check is battery health. To do this visit Settings > Battery > Battery Health.

Now, to begin with, don’t put too much stock into the Maximum Capacity number. My iPhone 13 Pro Max has over 100 recharge cycles on the battery and that number is still on 100 percent.

The only time that this number becomes important in my experience is when it drops below 80 percent. Once below this point, it may be time to get the battery replaced.

Prevent Spotlight from scanning your data for richer results

When you use Spotlight search on iOS 16, your iPhone dives deep into your files and data to pull up richer results. In addition to the usual items like your contacts and apps, iOS 16 also indexes information found inside your messages, notes, and files, such as any text, object, person, or location in a picture you clicked. For example, if you search for dogs, Spotlight can now directly show you all your pet’s pictures on your iPhone.

On top of that, iOS 16 can load expanded results for, say, sports scores right inside Spotlight search — without redirecting you to the browser. It also takes into account more contextual cues like where you are at the moment (e.g. flight tracking) to suggest actions and apps to you.

To accomplish this, however, Spotlight is constantly working in the background to scan any file you’ve downloaded or keep tabs on your location. And it’s likely behind some of the battery drain you’re facing on iOS 16. So until Apple makes Spotlight’s richer search more power efficient, you can turn off the new smart additions.

Go to Settings > Siri & Search and toggle off the options under “Content from Apple” and “Suggestions from Apple.”

Opt out of iOS 16’s Fitness goals

Thanks to iOS 16, iPhone owners no longer have to buy an Apple Watch to complete those iconic “Move” rings. When your iPhone reboots after installing iOS 16, you’ll notice a new app called Fitness in your library, which was previously only available on Apple’s smartwatch. The app can help you track and meet your health goals and plugs into your phone’s sensors to monitor your activities, such as steps and workouts.

Though such fitness monitoring was available on your iPhone before as well, the Fitness app turns it up a notch and can possibly, therefore, knock a few percentages off the battery life every day. What’s more, even if you haven’t set it up, Fitness records your activity data by default from the “Health” app.

You can opt out of the Fitness app by either uninstalling it altogether or cutting off its access to your phone’s motion sensors from Settings > Privacy & Security > Motion & Fitness > Fitness Tracking.

The new lock screen widgets are unquestionably iOS 16’s biggest battery hogs. They work around the clock to keep their information up to date, and if you’ve got more than a couple of them, their effect on your iPhone’s battery life can soar exponentially.

Therefore, in case your iPhone’s battery is struggling to keep up with iOS 16’s changes, it’s best to only have one or two widgets on your lock screen. More importantly, I’ve also noticed that widgets from third-party apps tend to draw more power than Apple’s. So until developers catch up to Apple’s efficiency, stay clear of them.

You can customize your iOS 16 lockscreen by long-pressing on it and tapping the “Customise” button.

Disable keyboard haptics

Your iPhone’s virtual keyboard can offer haptic feedback every time you punch in a character on iOS 16. While I agree it’s delightful to finally have this, Apple warned users explicitly that it can affect the battery life, which is understandable since the motor will spin more frequently.

After enabling keyboard haptic feedback, if your iPhone’s battery takes a serious hit, it may be worth toggling it back off. You can do so from Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Keyboard Feedback > Haptic.

Speed up Apple Photos’ duplicate detection

Another reason why your iPhone battery is coming up short after the iOS 16 update is the Apple Photos app. It periodically indexes your library to weed out duplicate photos and videos in the background and that process, Apple claims, can initially take days depending on the amount of media you’ve on your iPhone.

Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to opt out of this, but since Apple says it requires your iPhone to be locked and connected to power, you can try keeping your iPhone plugged in overnight to speed up the detection process and prevent it from draining your iPhone’s battery when you need it.

Turn off Live Activities

Notifications have become livelier on iOS 16 too. With the new “Live Activities” module, app makers can now pretty much put little widgets of real-time information on your iPhone’s Notification Center. This is so that you can keep tabs on certain activities, such as your online food delivery or your Uber ride — without opening the app itself. Though at the time of writing, Live Activities (iOS 16.1) was not publicly available, you can see a demo of how it works by setting a timer in the Clock app.

Once Live Activities does broadly roll out, it’s likely to affect your iPhone’s battery life. Thankfully, you can toggle it off. The “Live Activities” toggle under Settings > Face ID & Passcode prevents them from appearing on your lock screen when your iPhone’s locked altogether. If you want to turn them off for a particular app, head over to Settings > Notifications > [App Name] > Live Activities.

Refresh

This is the nuclear option, but it can help you ascertain if the issue is a hardware issue or software. I only recommend this as a last resort because it is very time-consuming.

To do this, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone and choose Reset or, if you want to delete all the apps too, Reset All Content and Settings.

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About the author
Mike Peterson
Mike Peterson
Mike Peterson is a tech writer at iPhoneGeeks covering news, how-tos, and user guides. He is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering.

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