iPhone and iPad

How to Fix Poor iOS 10 Battery Life

Tim Brookes 05-10-2016

Your iPhone’s Achilles heel is its battery life, but most smartphones suffer from the same problem. Despite higher capacity batteries and more energy efficient components, battery technology hasn’t evolved in the same way the rest of your phone has over the past few years.


Each iOS update usually brings with it a flurry of complaints about battery life, and iOS 10 iOS 10 Is Here! Why You Should Upgrade Right Now Apple's tenth revision of its mobile operating system is here. This is how to upgrade right now for free. Read More is no exception. Initial battery tests are positive, particularly on older devices, but there are still a few things you can do to help your iPhone last longer.

The Post-Upgrade Battery Hit

Straight after you upgrade your phone to iOS 10 (or any other version) you’re likely to encounter shorter battery life. One reason for this is that your phone has to index a lot of new data, particularly if Apple has introduced new features.

This will take place in the background, whether you’re using battery power or remaining plugged in. After the iOS 10 update, my iPhone 6 drained from 100% to 20% within about 4 hours. It took a day or two for things to settle down, after which battery life seems better than iOS 9.

iOS 10’s Photos app also has a lot of work to do when you first upgrade. The new app scans your entire library, looking for faces and recognizable scenes and objects. This only takes place when your phone is plugged in, but the added processor drain will cause your device to charge slower than usual.


The other reason you might experience post-upgrade battery drain is down to use. You want to try out new features, play with iMessage apps, send stickers and handwritten messages How to Use All the New Messages Features in iOS 10 With the arrival of iOS 10, Apple's Messages app received its single biggest update since its introduction. Read More , customize your lock screen, update third-party apps, and try out Siri’s new tricks. You’ll likely be using your phone more during this grace period, which means more battery drain.

iOS 10 Tapbacks iMessage

So is iOS 10 a battery hog? It doesn’t seem so. Anecdotal reports aside, according to ArsTechnica’s own tests, iOS 10 is marginally better on all devices except the iPhone 5s and SE. This is probably down to Apple further optimizing the OS, though benchmarks should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Turn Off Widgets

iOS 10 moves widgets from the Notification Center to the home and lock screens. You can access them by swiping right, and there are quite a few enabled by default when you first upgrade. More widgets means more processing power, additional requests for data, and increased battery drain.


Turn off any you don’t need by scrolling to the bottom of the list and tapping Edit. Many of these (like Apple’s News widget) update in the background, some rely on data stored on your iPhone (like Calendar), others are simply app shortcuts (like Shazam and Evernote). Cut out any you don’t need, like duplicate weather widgets and core iOS services you don’t use.

iOS 10 Widgets

Some third party widgets may not work properly, or simply aren’t that useful. Be brutal and save your battery. Be wary of adding too many widgets that rely on your GPS location, like public transportation apps. This is especially true for older devices, which have less energy efficient geolocation technology.

Battery Drain & Display

If you have an iPhone 6s, SE, or new iPhone 7 variant, then you can use a feature called Raise to Wake. As you’d expect, the feature turns on the screen when movement is detected. This may result in your screen waking up more often than you’d like, so you can turn it off at the expense of convenience. Head to Settings > Display & Brightness to turn off Raise to Wake.


iPhone SE 6 and 8

Another feature that you might want to make use of is the Facedown Detection feature introduced with iOS 9. By simply leaving your iPhone facedown on a surface, the screen won’t light up when you receive a notification. It only works on the iPhone 5s, 6, 6s, SE, 7 and Plus models, and it’s worth remembering.

Cut Down on Notifications

Notifications have long been a battery drain. The more push requests your phone receives, the more data is used. This can lead to serious battery drain over the course of a day, especially if you’re using a cellular connection.

iOS 10 makes notifications even more power-hungry by introducing real-time data. Some features are handy, like the ability to see where your Uber is without launching the app. Others are less so, like news apps including rich media purely for the sake of it.


niOS 10 Notification Settings

There’s never been a better time to get your Notifications in check Take Control of iOS Notifications on Your iPhone or iPad Your iPhone can notify you about just about anything, but left unchecked, this feature can quickly get out of control. Here's how to make notifications useful again. Read More . Head to Settings > Notifications and disable anything non-essential using the Allow Notifications toggle. Free-to-play games, social networks you rarely use, and anything that uses notifications to bug you into opening the app should go.

Check Your Usage

Head to Settings > Battery to see a breakdown of your iPhone battery usage by application and service. If you’re experiencing drain, you may find a rogue third-party app Avoid These iPhone Apps for Better Battery Life Killing background apps won't save your battery — in some cases you'll have to completely avoid an app in order to stop it from draining your smartphone's energy. Read More is to blame. Sometimes reinstalling a problem app can help, other times (as is the case with Facebook) the app is simply power hungry.

In some cases background activity causes unnecessary drain. If you want to deny any of these apps access to background activity, you can do so from Settings > General > Background App Refresh.

The Usual Fixes

iOS 10 users can also make use of the many battery-saving tips we’ve mentioned in the past What Can You Do About Poor Battery Life in iOS 7? You'll be pleased to know there are a few steps you can take to make your phone last longer under iOS 7, though they'll cost you in terms of shiny new features. Read More . Here are a few things you can try:

  • Low Power Mode — Enable it in the Settings > Battery menu. Reduces frequency of mail fetch and background app refresh, and tones down iOS eye candy to save battery.
  • Fetch Mail Less Frequently — Adjust this from Settings > Mail > Accounts. Less frequent is better. It uses less data and background processes.
  • Reduce GPS Usage — Revoke permission for any apps that don’t need it under Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
  • Ditch Dynamic Wallpapers — Use a static one to save power under Settings > Wallpaper.
  • Dim Your Screen — Swipe up to reveal Control Center and adjust your screen brightness manually.
  • Ditch Eye Candy — You can turn off parallax backgrounds and visual effects via Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion.
  • Update iOS — Check that you’re running the latest version of iOS under Settings > General > Software Update for the latest bug fixes.

Consider a Fresh Start

Sometimes wiping the slate clean really helps. If you’ve tried everything and you’re willing to take a more drastic step, first try resetting all of your settings under Settings > General > Reset using the Reset All Settings option.

Restore iPhone Option

If you want to go further, you can restore iOS using iTunes. Connect your iPhone to a Mac or Windows PC, select it and choose Back Up Now to create a local device backup How to Back Up Your iPhone and iPad Wondering how to back up your iPhone? Here's our simple guide to backing up your iPhone using either iCloud or iTunes. Read More . Once that’s complete you can hit the Restore iPhone… button to completely reinstall iOS 10. Finally use the Restore Backup… option to restore your device.

There’s Always Apple

If you’ve tried everything and you’re convinced your device isn’t behaving as it should, you can contact Apple or make an appointment at your local Apple Store. If your device is under warranty or you purchased AppleCare+ AppleCare Warranty: What Are Your Options and Is It Worth It? AppleCare+ protects your Apple device, but is it worth the cost? Here's what AppleCare+ offers and whether you should get it. Read More , then you may be eligible for a battery replacement.

If your device isn’t covered by warranty, Apple will still test the battery and offer to replace it if need be for a fee of $79. Find out more on the Apple website.

How has iOS 10 affected your battery life? Leave any of your own tips in the comments below.

Related topics: Battery Life, iOS, iPad, iPhone.

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  1. Nuno
    October 6, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Easy. Buy an android with an extra battery.

    • Tim Brookes
      October 7, 2016 at 3:10 am

      You mean like the Galaxy S7, the iPhone's closest competitor?

  2. Nuno
    October 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Easy. Buy an Android and buy a second battery.