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Battery bad after installing iOS 17? Try these 7 tips

Tapping on interactive widgets on iOS 17 on an iPhone.

June Wan/ZDNET

Here we go again: Another September, another major iOS release in the form of iOS 17, and even more iPhone owners complaining of battery issues. 

Now, most iPhone users are all too familiar with seeing that faster-than-usual battery drain following an operating system update.  

Also: The best iPhones right now

But what should you do if you’re finding that it is degrading your 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 and that it fixes the overheating issue found in iOS 16.5. (I agree: I’ve definitely seen an improvement here.) 

Others describe the update’s impact as abysmal, claiming not only that they are getting less battery runtime, but also that their battery health plummeted. If you’re curious — or concerned — about battery health, I suggest reading about what Apple doesn’t want you to know about your iPhone’s battery

But, this is a major release, and pretty much without fail, major releases come with major battery bugs — not to mention other bugs — that show up in the first few days after release, which is why there’s usually a flurry of updates in the first few weeks following any big release.

Also: Why some people are buying MacBook Pros with broken displays

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.

7 tips if you’re having battery issues 

Here are a few things I’ve seen help with battery life on iOS 17 releases:

  • Turn down screen brightness.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi Assist, a feature that uses cellular data when your Wi-Fi connection is weak or slow. You can disable it by going Settings > Cellular, and scrolling down to the bottom to turn off Wi-Fi Assist.
  • Reset network settings. I’m not sure how or why this helps, but several people have reported back that it improved their battery life dramatically — go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone and then tap on Reset and then Reset Network Settings.
  • Use Dark Mode. It really does make a huge difference.

The problem might not be an iOS issue but more a problem with apps that haven’t been updated, especially when new versions of iOS have been released. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure all your apps are updated before you spend a lot of time trying to diagnose what’s going on.

Also: My iPhone’s battery doesn’t stay at 100% for as long as it used to. Is there a problem?

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.)

If none of the previous steps helped, what else could it be? It could be a rogue app that’s draining the battery. Fortunately, iOS offers you the tools you need to track down misbehaving apps.

Also: How to turn off Clean Energy Charging on the iPhone

Head over to Settings > Battery, where you will see a lot of data, including Battery Usage By App. Tapping on it 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.)

iOS 13 battery drain

Analyzing battery drain in iOS.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Is your iPhone getting on a bit? 

If your handset is four years or older, then the battery might need to be replaced. 

Tap on Settings, head to Battery > Battery Health & Charging, and check what the Maximum Capacity of the battery is listed as. A level below 80% indicates a worn battery and that it’s time for a replacement.

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.

Also: Using your iPhone in high temperatures can cause permanent damage. Here’s what not to do

So, if your phone is overheating, remove it from a hot window and don’t keep it in a hot car. I also recommend temporarily taking the phone out of any case it’s in.

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.

Also: iPhone or Android slow or buggy? Do this one simple thing every week

That said, given that pretty much every update Apple rolls out nowadays is packed with iOS security fixes, I recommend installing updates because not doing this can leave your iPhone vulnerable to attack.

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