Does Apple's iOS 14 'nuclear' battery fix work?

For some, yes. But it's a lot of hassle, might not work, and opens you up to losing data.

A few days ago, Apple published a support document outlining some drastic steps that people affected by a significant iPhone battery drain following the installation of iOS 14 can carry out to try to remedy the situation. It's significant because any time you need to wipe a device, there's a risk that you lose data.

But does the proposed fix work?

The answer is yes, but…

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Three people got in contact with me following the publication of the support document. They were all affected by the battery drain issue, and all had two or more of the symptoms highlighted by Apple in the support document.

Let me remind you of these symptoms:

  • Your workout route maps are missing in the Fitness app on iPhone for previous GPS-enabled workouts from your Apple Watch.
  • The Activity, Heart Rate, or other health-related apps fail to launch or load data on your Apple Watch.
  • The Fitness app or Health app fail to launch or load data on your iPhone.
  • The Health app or Fitness app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your iPhone.
  • The Activity app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your Apple Watch.
  • Your environmental sound levels data or headphone audio levels data from Apple Watch is missing in the Health app on iPhone.
  • Increased battery drain on your iPhone or Apple Watch.

The reason I need to remind you of this will become clear later.

The three who contacted me decided to go through the steps outlined in the support document -- which essentially boils down to making sure you have a backup on iCloud, unpairing the Apple Watch, factory resetting the iPhone, and then reloading everything back on (a process that takes a few hours) -- and, fortunately, all three saw significant battery improvement within a couple of days.

So, the fix works. 

But…

Another reader who got in touch also decided to go for it, but they were only experiencing battery drain issues, and none of the other issues. Also, they didn't own an Apple Watch.

But they thought it was worth a shot.

They wiped their iPhone, reloaded everything, and were a little disappointed to note that the battery drain was just as bad.

At least they didn't lose any data.

What this means is that if you are suffering two or more of the above -- just as Apple said -- this procedure is definitely worth giving a shot (make darn sure you've backed up your data). If the only symptom you have is battery drain, then this effort could be time wasted.

Personally, unless the battery drain was utterly abysmal, I think I'd wait for Apple to roll out iOS 14.1 and hope that solves the issue without all the hassle of wiping and restoring, setting up Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, and all that jazz.