iOS 14 is Draining Batteries, Experts Say They Can Help

The latest upgrade giveth and taketh

Key Takeaways

  • The iPhone’s latest iOS update brings a bug that’s draining battery life.
  • The official Apple workaround fix involves erasing your iPhone and Apple Watch.
  • Experts have tips on how to reduce battery drain, including turning off some features.
Person holding smartphone in car with dead battery
Xuanyu Han / Getty Images

Apple has confirmed that its iOS 14 update is slashing battery life for some users, but experts say there are things you can do to help reduce the problem. 

Owners are reporting unusual battery drain recently after updating to iOS 14 and watchOS 7. The official workaround at the moment for this problem involves erasing your iPhone and Apple Watch, but some experts say you can also take other steps to reduce your battery consumption. 

"The first battery drain cause we identified was the addition of widgets to the iOS 14 Home screen," Colin Boyd, Outreach Coordinator for mobile phone comparison site UpPhone, said in an email interview. "Since widgets are such an active part of an iPhone's functions, they can take up a significant amount of power each day."

Widget Wipeout?

To find your iOS widgets, navigate to the Home screen and swipe left, Boyd says. You'll be brought to a page with several widgets that come stock with the iOS 14 update. If you find that you don't need any of these widgets, press and hold one that you don't need, then tap Edit Home Screen when given the option. 

From there, remove any widgets you don't need by tapping the minus (-) icon that appears in the top left corner of each widget.

Dial Down the Research

"Another new addition to iOS 14 that's using an unnecessary amount of battery is the Research Sensor & Usage Data setting," Boyd said. "This feature sends data about your iPhone usage to third parties to help them compile research about cell phone users' private information. You are under no obligation to allow this feature to share your data, so we recommend turning it off."

To stop this feature, open Settings, tap Privacy, and tap Research Sensor & Usage Data, Boyd said. When you're brought to a new page, toggle the switch labeled Sensor & Usage Data Collection to the off position.

Smartphone charging on table
Watchara Piriyaputtanapun / Getty Images

Another oldie but goodie battery-saving trick is to disable Push Mail. 

"When set to Push, your iPhone's Mail app constantly refreshes in anticipation of new emails to notify its user about," Boyd said. "Unless you work or live in a setting that requires you to get immediate notifications every time you receive a new email, you shouldn't need your Mail set to Push to have a successful user experience."

Fetch Your Own Mail

Boyd suggests setting your Mail to Fetch. Fetch allows you to determine how often your Mail app refreshes, so it's not constantly using the battery to stay up to date.

To adjust this feature, open Settings, tap Mail, then tap Accounts. Under Accounts, tap Fetch New Data. On the Fetch New Data page, toggle the Push switch off, then choose how often you would like your Mail app to refresh.

"When set to Push, your iPhone's Mail app constantly refreshes in anticipation of new emails to notify its user about."

The new battery drain issue is really bugging users. Dave Pearson, founder of Soundproofgeek, said in an email interview that this “may be the worst battery drain due to an iOS update yet.

"Now I have to charge more, be more conscious of how I use my phone, especially if I have to leave the house on errands. The freedom to use my phone without fear [of a low] battery isn’t there anymore and it takes away the fun from my phone."

Pearson is putting the classic battery-saving moves into action while he’s waiting for an update from Apple to fix the problem. 

"Activate battery saving mode at all times, not just when your battery is below 80%," he suggested. "Turn off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use as they drain the battery, too. Reduce your brightness manually and turn off the auto-brightness feature too."

iPhone owners have been complaining about battery drain during many iterations of iOS in recent years. The problem could be even worse as the iPhone 12 is rumored to soon launch with smaller batteries than previous models. 

Analysts expect Apple to soon roll out a more permanent fix to the battery drain problem. Until then, remembers your ABCs: Always Be Charging.