Latest iOS 11.3 beta adds battery health settings

As promised by Apple, features to check battery health and disable battery performance throttling on iPhone are now available to developers for testing before a wide release.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

Apple on Tuesday released the second developer beta of iOS 11.3, including battery health monitoring features and recommendation if a battery needs to be replaced. The new update, promised by Apple, falls after criticism over its revelation it slows down older iPhones to prolong battery life without telling customers.

The iOS 11.3 beta 2 update is now available to registered developers, and it gives users ability to see if Apple's performance management feature that reduces performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns is enabled. If so, users can choose to turn it off. This can be found in can be found in Settings > Battery > Battery Health (Beta).

The performance management feature only enables after an unexpected shutdown occurs on a device with a diminishing battery, Apple said. It applies to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus.


iOS 11.3 beta 2 shows if an iPhone's battery isn't operating properly.

(Image: Apple)

After a user updates to iOS 11.3, Apple said it will initially have performance management disabled, and it will reenable if the iPhone experiences an unexpected shutdown. If users disable performance management, they can't turn it back on until another unexpected shutdown occurs.

Apple began its performance management practice when it released iOS 10.2.1 last year to stop the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE from shutting down from troubling power circumstances like cold weather, low battery charge, or battery aging. Until iOS 11.3, the battery information wasn't directly available to the user.

It's not clear when iOS 11.3 will be available to the public to download.

For newer iPhones, Apple wrote in a support document:

iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models use a more advanced hardware and software design that provides a more accurate estimation of both power needs and the battery's power capability to maximize overall system performance. This allows a different performance management system that more precisely allows iOS to anticipate and avoid an unexpected shutdown. As a result, the impacts of performance management may be less noticeable on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

In the update, Apple included maximum battery capacity measurement compared to when it was new, and peak performance capability to know if you're getting the most out of the battery. Apple said in normal conditions, a battery is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles.

To replace an out-of-warranty battery, Apple will charge $29 (down from $79) to anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January. The program will be available worldwide through December 2018, as Apple hopes to make up for the confusion.

On Tuesday, Apple responded to questions from a top-ranking Republican senator about the replacement program. In a letter dated Feb. 2, Apple said it had "strong demand" for replacement iPhone batteries, and it's considering issuing rebates to consumers who paid full price for replacement batteries before its discount program began.

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