Ten easy steps to prevent excessive iOS 11 battery drain [tutorial]

If there’s one smartphone woe that transcends brands and models, it’s battery drain issue. The problem is present in Android and iOS devices so today’s post addresses this problem. Specifically, we want to educated iOS users who may be having problems with their devices after installing iOS 11. Frankly, most of the reasons why battery drain occurs in these devices have nothing to do with iOS 11 itself. In many cases, it’s either users being not-so-smart when it comes to using their devices, or misconfigured settings. We hope that this post will serve as a good reference for those looking for answers to their iOS 11 battery drain problem.

Before we proceed let us remind you that you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page. When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.

Step #1: Restart your iPhone

Any iphone troubleshooting should start with this step. It doesn’t really matter what issue you’re having. Restarting your phone is an easy, non-invasive way to fix a minor bug. Since there’s no definitive way to know what is causing battery drain issue in your iPhone, it’s a good first step in your blind troubleshooting. Technically, a restart may not be able to fully address the batteyr drain issue you’re having but it may be able to clear some developing or existing bugs at this time. Restarting your iPhone is basic and should be one of the first few things any user can do easily. Here’s how:

  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until Slide to Power Off appears on screen.
  2. Power off the iPhone.
  3. Once powered down, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button to power it back on.

Step #2: Check how you’re using your device differently

iPhone 8 and X came with iOS 11 right off the bat so their users will most probably not notice any severe battery drain issue at this time. Batteries of iPhone 8 and X devices are also relatively young at this time so they should be running at their peak performance right now.

However, if you’re using older iPhones, iPads, you’ll most certainly notice that your device seem to be losing battery faster than it used to. This can be expected as newer iOS versions, in general, tend to be more energy hungry if ran on older devices. Keep in mind that an older the device gets, the weaker the battery becomes. Also, newer iOS versions can be more taxing for older systems as they become more sophisticated.

The most likely reason why battery drain issue becomes more pronounced in your older device is the fact that the new iOS version may be tempting you to constantly check the features and any new “cool” stuff. We understand that you simply don’t install a new operating system and let it do its thing. Normally, users will be using their devices longer to see what’s new. Once the coolness of the new iOS version wears off though, battery drain may not be that much of an issue, hopefully. In other words, try to ask yourself what are the things that you’ve been doing differently lately to probably impact the performance of your battery. Remember, the more you use the phone, the faster the battery drains.

Step #3: Use Battery Life Suggestions under settings

iOS 11 comes with a handy feature called Battery Life Suggestions that allows users to manage their battery more effectively. Although this feature was originally introduced in iOS 10, it’s usefulness is clear that’s why it’s been carried over to iOS 11. Battery Life Suggestions is a straightforward feature so even new iOS users can use it. Battery Life Suggestions appears when the battery is not connected to power, or when you’re using Low Power Mode.

Battery Life Suggestions feature may suggest different things for different users. That’s because the suggestions vary depending on usage patterns. If you regularly turn your iPhone’s screen brightness to full, chances are Battery Life Suggestions will tell you dim the screen to save power. For those who use network mobile data most of the time, Battery Life Suggestions may tell them to tone down web surfing or to use wifi.

To see what your iPhone recommends to modify, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Battery.
  3. Under Battery Life Suggestions, your iPhone will present settings to change that will improve battery life. You can tap on each suggestion to jump to the setting that needs changing.

If you don’t want to make the change, at least you know it’s contributing to your battery drain.

If your phone does not show Battery Life Suggestions at all, that’s probably because the system does not see any significant contributing factor why the battery loses power fast. If you’re reading this post though, this is highly unlikely.

Step #4: Disable or remove battery draining apps

One of the most common reasons why an iOS device loses battery power fast is apps. Either there’s too many apps installed, or a lot of them are running services in the background that you don’t know of. iPhone users tend to install apps and forget about them. This can be detrimental to your device’s battery as the more apps are in the system, the higher the chance that any one of them is running services in the background. This means that your phone constantly bleed power even if you’re not actively using it, or even if you’re not using an app at all. For example, Facebook app is one of the main culprits in fast battery drain in most smartphones because it frequently connects to its remote servers to get new contents. Apps that take advantage of background refresh feature are high in the list of things that kills your battery.

To minimize battery drain issue, you should discipline yourself in installing apps that you only need. If you can’t live without Whatsapp, then consider leaving it in the system. However, for apps that you only need occasionally, you can either disable their background refresh feature, or remove them from the system entirely. This is especially important for those running older devices.

Step #5: Turn off Background App Refresh

As mentioned above, Background App Refresh feature can be the reason why apps tend to drain power faster than normal. Background App Refresh feature allows apps new content even when you’re not using them by fetching them from remote servers in the background. This is to make sure that new contents are ready when you open an app. This feature is not all bad obviously. It’s a handy feature if you regularly needs updated contents for a particular app. But just like any feature, it has its weakness as well so it’s up to you to manage what it brings. By allowing all your apps to refresh contents in the background, you ran the risk of taxing the battery all the time. We highly recommend that you only allow select apps to use Background App Refresh feature. To do that:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Background App Refresh.
  4. Toggle off Background App Refresh.

Make sure to check Background App Refresh regularly as updates may turn it back on by default. We noticed our iPhone 7 Plus turns this feature back on after installing iOS 11 last year.  

Also, with iOS 11, Background App Refresh can now be turned on only on wifi. If your phone is constantly connected to wifi, battery drain may still be an issue so again, review all the apps that use Background App Refresh on wifi settings only.

Step #6: Disable Location Services

Location Service is a useful feature for apps that need them. This feature is essentially a tracking mechanism that can leak power from your device if left unattended to. Location Service needs GPS to work so it’s a battery-intensive feature. Location Services uses GPS and Bluetooth (where they’re available), along with crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular towers to determine the approximate location of your device. If a lot of apps use it all the time, it can significantly consume a lot of power.

To turn Location Services on or off for specific apps, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services.
  2. Make sure that Location Services is on.
  3. Scroll down to find the app.
  4. Tap the app and select an option:
  • Never: Prevents access to Location Services information.
  • While Using the App: Allows access to Location Services only when the app or one of its features is visible on screen. If an app is set to While Using the App, you might see your status bar turn blue with a message that an app is actively using your location.
  • Always: Allows access to your location even when the app is in the background.

Once you’ve customized locations service feature, apps should tell why it may need the feature again. Keep in mind that some apps may need location service feature in order to work so you may only find two options.

Step #7: Turn On Reduce Motion

Your iPhone can provide lots of interesting cool stuff, one being the illusion of depth on the Home screen and in some apps. For example, Messages app can show animations or reactions effects. Such interesting effects does not come free. On the contrary, they are really asking too much from the battery. If you let motion effects a mainstay, then you’re significantly cutting your battery life shorter everyday. Other apps can show animations, including even when you switch back to the home screen. All these animations can reduce the overall capacity of your battery day in and day out. To turn off motion effects, you can do the following:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Accessibility.
  4. Tap Reduce Motion.
  5. Toggle on Reduce Motion.

When you turn on Reduce Motion, screen animations are disabled such as:

  1. Screen transitions and effects use the dissolve effect instead of zoom or slide effects.
  2. Parallax effect where your wallpaper, apps, and alerts that move or shift slightly as you tilt your device are disabled.
  3. Animation and effects in certain apps are disabled. For example, weather animations in the Weather app.

Step #8: Install app and iOS updates

Updates, whether for apps or iOS, not only bring under-the-hood improvements, but patches for known issues as well. Since battery drain is a fairly common concern not only for end users but also for Apple developers and everyone involved in iOS environment, there’s a perennial struggle for everyone to address it. We strongly advise that you install updates as they come because you don’t if it may include a fix or improvement to a certain aspect that causes battery drain.

Step #9: Minimize widgets on Lock screen

Widgets on lock screen are useful in providing contents you might need without actually opening the phone up. However, just like any handy feature in your iPhone, it comes at a price. It takes more computing power to provide updated contents so they can also cause battery drain if there are too many of them. To reduce the number of lock screen widgets in your iPhone, here’s what you need to do:

  1. At the bottom of the widgets page, select Edit.
  2. If you need to change something, unlock your phone.
  3. Once the phone has been unlocked, you can start adding or removing widgets.
  4. To remove widgets, tap the red circle next to a widget name.
  5. This will reveal a Delete button; tap Delete.
  6. Then tap Done.

Step #10: Do drastic workaround by using Low Power Mode

If you find yourself in a situation where the next charging session is hours away and you just need your iPhone to stay alive longer, turn on Low Power Mode! Low Power Mode works by restricting the performance of your phone’s processor (CPU) and graphics chip. This means that the system will be slowed a bit (though you’ll hardly notice the difference at all). Some tests have shown that Low Power Mode can slow down the system by about 40 percent.

Low Power Mode also disables some features. Affected features include the following:

  1. Email fetch
  2. “Hey Siri”
  3. Background app refresh
  4. Automatic downloads
  5. Some visual effects
  6. Auto-Lock (defaults to 30 seconds)
  7. iCloud Photo Library (temporarily paused)

Low Power Mode is indicated by a yellow battery icon in the status bar. Once you charge your phone to 80%, Low Power Mode will automatically turn off by itself.

To enable Low Power Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Battery.
  3. Toggle Low Power Mode on.


Engage with us

If you happen to have a problem with your own iPhone, let us know about it and we will do our best to post them and their solutions  in our upcoming articles. You can use this link to contact us for assistance. We can’t guarantee an answer to every question but rest assured that we will exhaust everything on our end to help you.

Be as detailed as possible when describing your problem to help us diagnose your issue easily. If you can include error messages, popups, attempted troubleshooting steps, and circumstances leading to the problem, that would be very helpful.