How to Fix a Draining Battery on iPhone or iPad

Authored by: Tech Pro Team

1. Introduction

In This Guide

You'll Learn How To:

  • Adjust settings on your iPhone to positively impact battery life.
  • Check battery usage to determine what could potentially be causing unwanted battery drain.
  • Assess battery health to determine if your battery requires service or replacement.

Before We Begin:

  • Have your iPhone on-hand.

Make sure to test your iPhone after performing each one of these steps. Any one of these steps may individually resolve your battery issues altogether. If you feel like a particular step has resolved your issue, feel free to skip to the end of this guide. 

iPhone plugged in and charging. Illustration.

2. Check for Updates

To check and see if updates are available for your iOS device:

  1. Open Settings on your phone or tablet.
iOS Settings.
  1. Select General.
iOS settings page with general highlighted.
  1. Select Software Update.
iOS general settings with software update highlighted.
  1. Your iOS device will perform a search for available iOS updates.
  2. If no update is available, it will display your current version of iOS and inform you that your software is up to date.
iOS up to date software page.
  1. If an update is available, it will be displayed.
iOS update display.

  1. Select Download and Install to begin the update process.
  2. If prompted, enter your passcode to proceed.

3. Adjust Brightness

To adjust your screen brightness follow these steps. Keep in mind, the brighter the your screen, the more battery power is used.

  1. Swipe up on your screen.
  2. Hold down the brightness icon and raise or lower it to your liking.
iPhone control menu with the brightness icon highlighted

4. Connect to Wi-Fi if Available

When you use your device to access data, a WiFi connection uses less power than a cellular network, so connect to WiFi whenever possible to preserve battery life.

To Check the Status of Your WiFi Connection on iOS

  1. From the main screen of your device, look for and open Settings.
iOS Settings icon.
  1. With Settings open, look for the WiFi field. This field will display the current WiFi status on the right hand side:
  2. Off: the WiFi antenna is currently disabled.
  3. Not Connected: WiFi is turned on, but your device is not currently connected to a network.
  4. WiFi network name: WiFi is turned on, and the network name displayed is the network your device is currently connected to.
Wi-Fi highlighted in iOS settings.
  1. You can also tap on the WiFi field and make sure the WiFi switch is in the On position. The switch should be green in color and will display the network that you are currently connected to directly beneath it with a check mark to the left.
iOS Wi-Fi menu highlighting the Wi-Fi switch and the currently connected network.

  1. To connect to a network, select its name from the list and enter the network's password (if necessary).

5. Low Power Mode

When Low Power Mode is on, your iPhone will last longer before you need to charge it, but some features might take longer to update or complete. Also, some tasks might not work until you turn off Low Power Mode, or until you charge your iPhone to 80% or higher. 

Low Power Mode Reduces or Affects These Features

  1. Email fetch
  2. "Hey Siri"
  3. Background app refresh
  4. Automatic downloads
  5. Some visual effects
  6. Auto-Lock (defaults to 30 seconds)
  7. iCloud Photo Library (temporarily paused)

To Enable Low Power Mode

  1. Select Settings.
iOS settings icon
  1. Select Battery.
iOS Settings menu highlighting the battery option.
  1. Toggle Low Power Mode on.
iOS Battery settings menu highlighting low power mode.

While Low Power Mode is on, the battery in the status bar will be yellow. After you charge your iPhone to 80% or higher, Low Power Mode automatically turns off.

Yellow iOS battery icon.

6. View Battery Usage Information

With iOS, you can easily manage your device’s battery life, because you can see the proportion of your battery used by each app (unless the device is charging).

To View Battery Usage Information

  1. Select Settings.
iOS settings icon
  1. Select Battery.
iOS Settings menu highlighting the battery option.
  1. The Battery menu will appear. This menu presents detailed battery usage information that can help you determine when your battery is most heavily used, and what features and applications are consuming the most battery life.
iOS battery menu.
  1. Scroll downward. A detailed list of apps will be displayed. Apps are sorted by the percentage of battery power they drained since your device was last charged. This is a great way to see which apps or features could be adjusted to better preserve battery life on your device.
iOS Battery menu displaying detailed app usage.

Here are the messages you may see listed below the apps you’ve been using:

Background Activity

  • This indicates that the battery was used by the app while it was in the background — that is, while you were using another app.
Application within Battery menu displaying background activity.
  • To improve battery life, you can turn off the feature that allows apps to refresh in the background.
  • If the Mail app lists Background Activity, you can choose to fetch data manually or increase the fetch interval.

Location and Background Location

  • This indicates that the app is using location services.
Application within Battery menu displaying background activity.
  • You can optimize your battery life by turning off Location Services for the app.

Home & Lock Screen

  • This indicates that the Home screen or Lock screen was displayed on your device. For example, the display was awakened by pressing the Home button or by a notification.
Home and lock screen within Battery menu.
  • If an app frequently wakes your display with notifications, you can turn off push notifications for the app.

No Cell Coverage and Low Signal

  • This indicates either that you are in a poor cell coverage area and your iOS device is searching for a better signal or that you’ve used your device in low signal conditions, which has affected your battery life.
Application within Battery menu displaying low signal.
  • You can optimize your battery life by turning on Airplane mode.
  • You cannot make or receive calls while in Airplane mode.

7. Disable Background App Refresh

Background App Refresh allows your apps to check for new information in the background in an intelligent and controlled manner. It only allows apps to refresh and load new data at certain times, locations, and battery levels. Although Background App Refresh does not allow an app to always run in the background, this process can still cause your battery to drain if enough apps are updating themselves behind the scenes.

To Disable Background App Refresh for Individual Apps

  1. Select Settings.
iOS settings icon
  1. Select General.
iOS Settings menu highlighting the general option.
  1. Select Background App Refresh.
iOS General settings highlighting the background app refresh option.
  1. Disable any apps you do not wish to have update in the background. This may cause those particular apps to take a longer time to load; however, if you disable this on apps you infrequently use, overall battery life may improve.
iOS Background app refresh menu highlighting the toggle switches next to available apps.

8. Battery Health

All iPhone models include fundamental performance management to ensure that the battery and overall system operates as designed and internal components are protected. This includes behavior in hot or cold temperatures, as well as internal voltage management. This type of performance management is required for safety and expected function, and cannot be turned off. The battery health function can help you assess battery health and recommend if a battery needs to be replaced. 

To Assess Battery Health

  1. Select Settings.
iOS settings icon
  1. Select Battery.
iOS Settings menu highlighting the battery option.
  1. Select Battery Health.
Battery menu highlighting the battery health option.
  1. The battery health assessment screen will be displayed. A list of possible results is outlined below.
Battery health assessment screen.

Your Battery's Maximum Capacity

Maximum battery capacity measures the device battery capacity relative to when it was new. A battery will have lower capacity as the battery chemically ages which may result in fewer hours of usage between charges. Depending upon the length of time between when the iPhone was made and when it is activated, your battery capacity may show as slightly less than 100%.

Battery health maximum capacity.

A normal battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles when operating under normal conditions.

Performance is Normal

When the battery condition can support normal peak performance and does not have the performance management features applied, you'll see this message.

Normal peak performance capacity.

Performance Management Applied

When the performance management features have been applied, you'll see this message.

Performance management features have been applied to your device.

If you choose to disable performance management, you can’t turn it back on. It will be turned on again automatically if another unexpected shutdown occurs. The option to disable will also be available.

Performance Management Turned Off

If you disable the applied performance management feature, you'll see this message.

Performance management disabled.

If the device experiences another unexpected shutdown, the performance management features will be re-applied. The option to disable will also be available. 

Battery Health Unknown

If iOS is unable to determine the device battery health, you'll see this message.

Unable to determine battery health.

This may be due to having an improperly installed battery or an unknown battery part.

Battery Health Degraded

If battery health has degraded significantly, the below message will also appear.

Battery health significantly degraded.

This message does not indicate a safety issue. Your battery can still be used. However, you may be experiencing more noticeable battery and performance issues. A new replacement battery will improve your experience.

9. What's next?

10. Calibrate Battery

Battery calibration accomplishes two things: it conditions the battery and helps iOS more accurately calculate the range of battery life. Calibrating the battery is something that can be done at any time. We recommend that you perform this process after every major iOS upgrade to ensure the best possible battery life on your device. If you've recently upgraded iOS and notice diminished battery life, try calibrating the battery before anything else.

To calibrate the battery of your iOS device:

  1. Use your iOS device until it shuts off automatically. If it is near 0% battery life and you want to drain it faster, turn on the flashlight, turn up screen brightness all the way and play a video, preferably streaming from the Internet.
iOS Control center highlighting flashlight button and brightness slider.
  1. Let your iOS device to sit overnight to drain the battery further.
  2. Plug your iOS device in and wait for it to power up. Make sure to use the charger supplied by Apple or one that runs at the same wattage and amperage.
  3. Hold down the sleep/wake button and swipe Slide to Power Off.
iOS Slide to power off screen.
  1. Let your iOS device charge for at least 5 hours. The charge progress indicator is not displayed while your iOS device is turned off.
  2. With the charging cable still connected, press the sleep/wake button for about a second to start up your iOS device.
Sleep wake button locations on iOS devices. Diagram.
  1. Once your iOS device has powered back on successfully, remove the charging cable.

Periodically draining and recharging your device's battery keeps the flow of ions moving in the battery. The material properties of lithium-ion batteries require constant usage to maintain peak performance. For this reason, Apple recommends discharging and recharging the battery once a month.

11. What's next?

12. Change Fetch Settings

Your device may be checking for mail more frequently than you are actually paying attention to mail messages. Setting an appropriate timed interval to check for new messages can drastically improve battery life on your device.

To Change Fetch Settings for Email

  1. Select Settings.
iOS settings icon
  1. Select Accounts and Passwords.
iOS Settings menu highlighting the accounts and passwords option.
  1. Select Fetch New Data.
iOS accounts and passwords menu highlighting the fetch new data option.
  1. From the Fetch New Data screen, ensure that Push is turned off.
iOS Fetch new data screen highlighting the push toggle switch.
  1. For each Email account you have, ensure that each one is set to Fetch. This can be done by selecting each account and choosing Fetch instead of "Manual" or "Push."
iOS Fetch new data screen highlighting available email accounts.
  1. Beneath the account list, look for the Fetch heading. From here, you can dictate how often your iOS device attempts to check for new Email on your accounts. Checking less often can preserve battery life. Select an interval that works best for you.
iOS Fetch new data menu highlighting the fetch interval options.

13. Disable Location Services for Specific Apps

  1. Open Settings on your iOS device.
  1. Select Privacy.
General settings highlighting the privacy option.
  1. Select Location Services.
Privacy menu highlighting the location services option.
  1. The Location Services menu will display a list of apps and their selected location services behavior.
Location services menu.
  1. Select the app whose location settings you would like to change. In this example, the Facebook app has been selected.
Location services menu highlighting the Facebook app.
  1. Location services settings that are available for the selected app will be displayed.
Facebook app location services options.

  1. There are up to three options that can be selected for location services:
  2. Never: Prevents access to Location Services information.
  3. While Using the App: Allows access to Location Services only when the app or one of its features is visible on screen. If an app is set to While Using the App, you might see your status bar turn blue with a message that an app is actively using your location.
  4. Always: Allows access to your location even when the app is in the background.

Some apps might offer only two options. Limiting when an app can utilize location services can impact battery life on your device.

14. Disable Lock Screen Notifications

  1. Open Settings on your phone or tablet.
iOS Settings.
  1. Tap on Notifications.
Settings menu with Notifications highlighted. Screenshot
  1. Scroll down and select the app you want to disable the lock screen notifications for.
Notifications menu with an app highlighted. Screenshot
  1. Swipe Show on Lock Screen to OFF.
Notifications for an app menu with Show on Lock Screen highlighted. Screenshot
  1. Repeat to disable for other apps

15. Enable Airplane Mode

If you are in a poor cell coverage area and your iOS device is searching for a better signal, or if you’ve used your device in low signal conditions, this can negatively affect battery life. You can optimize your battery life by turning on Airplane mode.

  1. Open the Control Center.

For iPhone X

  1. To access the Control Center on an iPhone X, swipe down from the upper right corner of the screen.
iPhone X with highlights indicating swiping from the upper-right corner.

For All Other iOS Devices

  1. To access the Control Center on an iOS device, Swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.
iPhone with highlights indicating swiping upward. Illustration.
  1. With Control Center open, tap the Airplane mode icon. This will turn Airplane mode on.
iPhone control center highlighting the airplane mode icon.
  1. The Airplane mode icon will light up and all other communication buttons will dim to demonstrate that they have been disabled because Airplane mode is now on.
iPhone control center highlighting the airplane mode icon being engaged.
  1. To turn Airplane mode back off, tap the Airplane mode icon again. The button will dim once again, and other communication buttons will light back up to show that they are back on.
iPhone control center highlighting the airplane mode icon being disengaged.

You cannot make or receive calls while in Airplane mode.