iPhone battery bad? Here are three of the biggest iOS 14.2 battery hogs, along with some solutions

Getting poor battery life since installing iOS 14? You're not alone. But I've discovered three tweaks that have helped me get more out of each charge.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

iOS 14 was released in September, and here we are in December and users continue to complain about poor battery life. Now iOS 14.2 is out (or iOS 14.2.1 if you are running an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro) and I'm still hearing from people who feel that their battery life has taken a big hit since installing the update.

But I've found three things that have helped me get more out of each recharge, and help me make it through the day.

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Using iOS 14 to diagnose battery drain

#1: Make careful use of widgets

I've noticed that the more widgets I use, the more battery life takes a hit. I don't find the built-in widgets that come with iOS to be too bad for battery life (although even they can be buggy), but third-party apps can be problematic.

Identifying a rogue widget is easy -- delete it and see if the problem goes away (or gets a little better).

If battery life has gotten worse since installing iOS 14, widgets would be the first thing that I'd be looking at.

#2: Google Chrome is a big battery hog

Switching to Safari makes a massive difference if you browse a lot. For me, switching -- temporarily -- from Chrome to Safari added about an hour of battery life.

Safari has always been better in terms of battery life, but the gulf between the two has grown significantly in iOS 14.

Same goes, to a lesser extent, for Mail versus Gmail, or Calendar versus Google Calendar. It might seem like I'm picking on Google apps, but these are the apps I use the most, and they're the ones where I can see the difference.

For better battery life, go with the stock apps.

#3: No cell coverage can really drain better

Ever since Apple introduced the Battery pane in Settings that allows users to see what is draining the battery the most, I've known that no cell coverage eats at the battery. If there's poor cell coverage, the iPhone works harder to try to establish a cell connection. It's that simple, and there's no free lunch.

The more work your smartphone has to do, the more battery is used.

But something's changed.

Under iOS 13, no cell coverage would account for about 2 percent of battery usage over the course of a normal day. Now there are days when I see this taking as much as 10 percent, with 8 percent now being normal.

No Cell Coverage battery drain under iOS 14 appears much higher than before.

No Cell Coverage battery drain under iOS 14 appears much higher than before.

Nothing else has changed, and it's pretty consistent that I have to conclude that this is an issue with iOS 14.

So, what's the solution? Well, I've found that turning off cellular when I'm in a dark spot helps a bit, as does leaving my phone in areas of my home and office where the strongest cell signal can be found.

These help, but they have their limitations.

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