How iOS 14.5 Could Make Your Battery Last Longer

Fixing errors that could cost you

Key Takeaways

  • iOS 14.5 will fix a calibration bug in the iPhone 11’s battery health system.
  • The battery calibration fix could lead to a higher Peak Performance Capability and better efficiency for your phone's battery.
  • While the changes might seem insignificant, experts say that incorrect information about your battery health could cost you more in the long run.
Closeup of a smartphone with the charger plugged into the device.

Priscila Zambotto / Getty Images

iOS 14.5’s upcoming battery health recalibration might not seem like a big deal, but experts say it could actually increase your phone’s battery performance.

One of the many changes touted with the upcoming release of iOS 14.5 is a fix to improperly calibrated battery health in iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max devices. With the latest beta for iOS 14.5 now publicly available, some users have reported improvements in their battery’s capacity percentage since installing the update.

While it might not seem like an important issue to correct, your battery’s health plays a large part in both your smartphone’s longevity and overall performance.

"The battery health percentage is pegged on two things;  the maximum capacity that your iPhone battery can hold and Peak Performance Capability—which shows whether or not the operating system will choke down your phone performance to prevent shutdowns," Radu Vrabie, the founder of Power Bank Expert, explained to Lifewire in an email. 

Measuring Potential

At its core, the problem with a lower max capacity is all about efficiency. As your battery ages and degrades, the amount of charge it can hold begins to drop. After that capacity drops a bit, it also can start to affect how well your device performs.

Because your battery isn’t capable of holding as much charge, your iPhone begins throttling things to save power.

Apps may be slower to load, or you might start to see freezes and other sluggishness issues appearing throughout your daily use, as your phone tries to make the most of the power available to it.

In practice, an iPhone with low battery health will throttle performance in order to avoid powering out. This means that phones will increasingly get slower as the battery health reduces,

Considering the iPhone 11 is only two years old, seeing those kinds of performance issues hitting users would be very problematic, especially for a company like Apple, which has built a lot of goodwill with how it supports older devices.

"The phone battery health often plays a huge role in performance too. In practice, an iPhone with low battery health will throttle performance in order to avoid powering out. This means that phones will increasingly get slower as the battery health reduces," Vrabie explained.

Because the health of your device’s battery can directly affect its performance and longevity, providing incorrect information to the systems that use that info can be very detrimental. With the recalibration being pushed in iOS 14.5, iPhone 11 users could see increased max capacity percentages, which will change their device’s overall Peak Performance Capability.

Apple says it isn’t something that most users will notice in their day-to-day activities, but that doesn’t mean the changes aren’t significant. Even if you don’t see an immediate effect, this bug fix will ensure you don’t receive incorrectly timed battery replacement messages or unneeded throttling to save power.

Breaking Down

While rechargeable batteries have come a long way, they still have a limited lifespan. The length of this lifespan can be dictated by many factors, like how often you charge your device and even how you use it at full charge.

Someone plugging a charger into a smartphone.

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Every charging cycle that your phone goes through degrades the battery’s overall capability. A full charging cycle is completed each time the battery uses the power equal to its actual capacity. So, if you charge your phone to 100%, then let it drop to 0% and die, you’ll have used a complete charging cycle.

Things get a little complex when you start to factor in the Depth of Discharge, or DoD. Essentially, DoD is the percentage of power that has been discharged, compared to the battery’s overall capacity. Because the DoD can drastically change how many cycles a battery has in its lifespan, many companies recommend “optimal” charging levels to ensure your battery lasts longer.

The iPhone does something similar, but with a built-in feature called Optimized Battery Charging. When enabled, this feature will slow down charging at 80%, completing a 100% charge closer to when you start using your phone each day. While this is useful, Vrabie recommends unplugging your phone once it hits that 80% mark.

"The constant ‘100% charge’ may often seem like a great idea; it actually chips away at the phone's battery health," Vrabie said.

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