iOS 13 battery life bad? Top tips to fix battery drain issues

Are you experiencing bad battery like after installing iOS 13? Here's how to diagnose and fix the problem. (Updated for iOS 13.1.2)

The best new features in iOS 13

Finding that your iPhone's battery life isn't good after installing iOS 13? Is it not making it to the end of the day without having to recharge? Fear not. It's unlikely that your battery has gone bad overnight and you need to replace it (or your iPhone), and it's much more likely to be down to the update.

Here's what you can do to diagnose and fix the problem.

Be patient!

Following any iOS update -- or any operating system update for that matter -- a lot has to happen in the background to bring things back to how they were. Everything from indexing photos and files, to recalibrating battery life. This means that not only is there more demand on the battery, but the battery meter might not be reading right.

So be patient! Let the iPhone go through a few recharge/discharge cycles before becoming fixated on there being a problem.

Check for updates

If you've installed iOS 13 and are having battery problems, then I have some great news for you. Shortly after this release, Apple released iOS 13.1, iOS 13.1.1, and iOS 13.1.2. Even better news is that iOS 13.1.1 contained fixes specifically related to battery life.

Bottom line, if you've not downloaded and installed the latest updates, it's time to do so! Head over to Settings > General > Software Update and download the newest iOS 13 update.

Run app updates

The problem might not be an iOS issue but more a problem with an app, especially when new versions of iOS have been released. That means it's a good idea to make sure all your apps are updated before you go spending a lot of time trying to diagnose what's going on.

Fire up the App Store app and click your profile icon in the corner then scroll down to Available Updates to look for updates (I like to pull down this screen to refresh it so I see all the latest updates).

Reboot your iPhone

I know, this seems like a simple fix, but you'd be surprised how often it works!

  • iPhone 8 and later: Click and release the volume up button followed by the volume down button, then press and hold down the power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  • iPhone 7 and earlier: Hold the power button and volume down until the Apple logo appears on screen

Check your iPhone's battery

Still experiencing problems? It might be a good time to carry out a quick battery check. Go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. If this screen shows Maximum Capacity over 80% and Peak Performance Capability is showing "Your battery is currently supporting normal peak performance" then you are OK. Anything else then you may have isolated your battery issue and you may be looking at replacing the battery.

What's eating your battery?

OK, so updating iOS and your apps hasn't solved the issue, and your battery is showing as fine. What else could it be? It could be a rogue app that's draining the battery. And fortunately, iOS offers you the tools you need to track down misbehaving apps.

Head over to Setting > Battery, and here you will see a lot of data, including Battery Usage By App. Tapping in this area also allows you to switch Activity By App, which shows a breakdown of how much power the app is using while on the screen and how much it is using when in the background.

iOS 13 battery drain

You can use this information to diagnose battery drain issues. Here are some other things you can use this information for:

  • An app going berserk in the background will show lots of activity in the background compared to screen activity (try disabling background activity for that app and see if that helps… more on this shortly).
  • It can spot charging problems (was the battery actually charging when you thought it was?).
  • It can be used to spot poor battery performance (look for battery charge falling rapidly).

Disabling background apps

Background App Refresh allows apps to update and refresh themselves even when they aren't on the screen. If you discovered an app in step #5 that is doing a lot in the background then this could be the root cause of the battery issue.

Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and either turn off the setting completely (not recommended but can help) or disable this for individual apps.

Wipe your iPhone and start again

This is the nuclear option, but it can help you ascertain if the issue is a hardware issue or software. I only recommend this as a last resort because it is very time-consuming.

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