How to Fix Bad iOS 12 Battery Life
Some iOS 12 users are reporting excessive battery drain after installing Apple’s latest firmware. Fortunately, most battery issues can be solved in a matter of minutes.
iOS 12 users are complaining about an issue where their device appears to be losing power faster than normal. While some people are dealing with bad hardware, most problems are due to bad habits or rogue apps.
If you’re dealing with horrendous battery life your instincts might compel you make an appointment to see an Apple Genius at your local Apple Store. This is certainly an option, but you’ll want to try and fix your issues before you go that far.
This guide to bad iOS 12 battery life on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch will provide you fixes we and many others have discovered and used over the years. It also contains some strategies you should use to prevent battery life issues from happening again.
Some of these steps can be done in seconds, others might take you a lot longer. All of them have the potential to fix your issues.
Restart Your Device
If you start noticing bad battery life after installing iOS 12 the first thing you’ll want to do is restart the device. Power it down, wait 20-30 seconds, and then power it back on and check to see if performance has improved.
Update Your Phone
If you’re struggling, think about upgrading your device to the latest version of iOS 12.
Apple almost never touts battery life improvements in iOS change logs, but there’s always a chance new software straightens your performance out.
Make sure you read reviews and dig into feedback before you install a new version of iOS 12.
If you’re using an iPhone 6s or newer, and you’re still running iOS 12, you should consider upgrading to iOS 14. iOS 14 comes with a number of performance enhancements and could do wonders for your phone’s performance.
For a limited time Apple will allow you to downgrade your device to the previous version of iOS. If your phone or tablet was getting good mileage out of the previous update, downgrading is worth a shot.
For more on the downgrade process, please take a look at our guide.
Use Screen Time
iOS 12 comes with a Screen Time feature that could help you conserve battery while eliminating bad habits.
Screen Time provides you with a new set of controls that can help keep your smartphone addictive behavior in check. If you aren’t on your phone as much you won’t be chewing up your battery.
The feature lets you set limits on how long you can use a particular app on a given day. If you approach that threshold, it’ll give you a warning.
You can also set these alerts for kids and link this to a ScreenTime Allowance. This allows you to set limits on games, but keep important apps for schoolwork available.
Use Low Power Mode
iOS 12’s Low Power Mode can help you conserve battery life by shutting off services that could drain your battery. These include Hey Siri, automatic downloads, and mail fetch.
You can turn Low Power Mode on and off any time, but your device will prompt you to turn it on whenever your phone reaches 20% battery.
We highly recommend adding Low Power Mode to your device’s Control Center. Control Center is the menu that pops up when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
In order to do that you need to:
- Head to Settings.
- Tap Control Center.
- Tap Customize Controls.
- Tap the green plus sign next to Low Power Mode.
The next time you open Control Center you’ll see a battery icon. Tap that on and off to enable or disable Low Power Mode.
You can also turn Low Power Mode on via your Settings. To do this:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap Battery.
- Tap Low Power Mode.
- Toggle it On.
Use Wi-Fi Instead of LTE
Using your device while it’s connected to a cellular network (LTE, 4G) can chew through battery. That’s why you’ll want to connect your device to Wi-Fi whenever you can. Using Wi-FI uses less power which means more battery.
Check & Monitor Your Apps
Apps like Facebook are known resource hogs. Apps also can go berserk after Apple releases a new version of iOS so there’s a chance one or more of your apps is the culprit behind your sudden battery drain.
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to head into your Settings to check out the apps draining your battery life the most. This could help you single out the app, or apps, causing your issues.
Head into your Settings, tap Battery, and take a look at the Battery Usage tool. It will show you the apps doing the most damage to your device’s battery.
If you notice an app draining a ton of battery in the background, try deleting the app to see if your battery life improves. You can always re-install the app if you determine it’s not the source of the problem.
If you’d prefer to keep the app, try installing the latest bug fix update to see if that helps. Developers are rolling out iOS 12 support updates so a quick update could take care of your issues.
If your device vibrates every time you receive a phone call or a message you should try turning vibrations off. These alerts can be useful, but they make the hardware inside your phone work and this type of work requires power.
To shut off vibrations:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap Sounds.
- Toggle Vibrate on Ring and Vibrate on Silent off.
You’ll also need to go into each individual Sound and Vibration and make sure Vibration (located at the top of the screen) is set to none.
Manage Your Display
Your device’s display can be a battery killer if it’s not managed correctly.
The sensors inside your iPhone or iPad will adjust the screen automatically in certain lighting environments. Sometimes these sensors work as intended. Sometimes they don’t. If your screen is bright for no reason, your phone could be draining power at a faster rate.
Try manually adjusting your display to suit your lighting conditions. To do this, you’ll need to turn Auto Brightness off in your device’s Settings:
- Go into Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap Accessibility.
- Tap Display Accommodations.
- Tap Auto-Brightness.
- Toggle it Off.
Once you’ve shut it off, you’ll need to manually adjust your screen brightness. You can do that from Control Center or via the Settings app.
Disable Raise to Wake
Raise to Wake is handy, but turning it off could help you save a few battery percentage points.
If you don’t need your screen to automatically turn on whenever you pickup your device, go into the Settings app > Display & Brightness and turn the Raise to Wake function off.
Kill Background Refresh
Apple’s Background App Refresh feature does exactly what its name implies: It refreshes apps in the background in order to show you the latest data when you open them up.
A lot of people love the feature, but it can be a resource hog. If you don’t know think you need it, try turning it off. It could help you save battery.
To disable it, you’ll need to:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap Background App Refresh.
- Turn it off for any applications you don’t use.
You can also turn Background App Refresh off completely if you don’t want to go through your list of apps one by one.
Turn Off Fitness Tracking
Your iPhone features a motion co-processor that can track your steps and other activities. If you’re using your phone to help stay in shape you’ll want to keep this feature on because it can be useful. If you don’t use your phone to track your fitness you should try turning the feature off.
Head into your Settings app and tap on Privacy. From there, select Motion & Fitness and toggle the Fitness Tracking function off. You might also want to toggle off any apps listed below Fitness Tracking in the menu.
Use Airplane Mode
If you start noticing rapid battery drain, you should turn on Airplane Mode.
Airplane Mode, which can be accessed via the Settings app or Control Center, kills all of your connections including Wi-Fi, Cellular Data, and Bluetooth.
If you’re in an area with bad service, your phone is probably working hard to get a signal. When your phone is working hard, your battery is probably draining.
In cases like this, turn on Airplane Mode until you’re back in an area with good service.
Turn Off Assistive Touch
If you’re using Assistive Touch on your device there’s a chance it’s the reason your battery is draining abnormally.
If you don’t need Assistive Touch active on your device, try turning it off. Here’s how to do this:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap Accessibility.
- Tap AssistiveTouch.
- Toggle it off.
Reset All Settings
Resetting your device’s settings could have a positive impact on your battery life.
In order to reset your settings you need to:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap General.
- Tap Reset.
- Tap Reset All Settings.
- Enter your passcode if you have one enabled.
This process could take a few seconds to complete and it will restore your settings to their factory defaults so make sure you have your Wi-Fi passwords handy. It will cause your device to forget known connections.
Restore as New
If you’ve owned your device for awhile, you might try restoring the device from a backup. Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can try restoring the device as new. You can do this via Finder, iTunes, or iCloud.
Install iOS 12.5.6 for Better Security
If you're on the fence, here's one of the best reasons to install iOS 12.5.6 right away.
iOS 12.5.6 has a vital security patch on board and it will protect your device(s) from harm. If you want the details, head over to Apple's website.
If you missed the iOS 12.5.5 update, it brought three security patches to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. You can learn more about the trio on Apple's security site.
If you missed iOS 12.5.4, you'll get that update's important security upgrades with your iOS 12.5.6 update. If you're interested in the particulars, head on over to Apple's website for more.
If you skipped iOS 12.5.3, you'll get its security patches with your upgrade. Both of its patches were related to WebKit. If you want to learn more about them, head on over to Apple's security site.
If you skipped iOS 12.5.2, you'll also get its security patch with your upgrade. You can read more about it over on Apple's website.
If you also skipped iOS 12.5, you'll also get its patch with your upgrade. Apple's outlined the update's patch in detail on its security site.
If you missed iOS 12.4.9, you'll also get its four security patches with your upgrade. You can read more about those right here.
If you skipped iOS 12.4.7, you also get the update's three security patches (two for the Mail app and one for Wi-Fi) with your upgrade to iOS 12.5.6.
If you're running software that's older than Apple's iOS 12.4.4 update, you'll want to download iOS 12.5.6 in the near future because it brings iOS 12.4.4's security patch to your device. You can read about it right here.
If you're running software older than iOS 12.4.2, you'll get an its patch with your upgrade. You can read about the security contents of iOS 12.4.2 right here.
If you're on software that's older than iOS 12.4.1, you'll get iOS 12.4.1's security patch with your iOS 12.5.6 update. You can read about that patch right here.
If you're on software that's older than iOS 12.4, you get iOS 12.4's patches with your iOS 12.5.6 update.
iOS 12.4 brought 19 security patches to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. If you're interested in the specifics, you can read about them on Apple's security site.
If you're running software older than iOS 12.3, your iOS 12.5.6 update carries iOS 12.3's security patches on board. The iOS 12.3 update brought 23 patches and you can read about all of them right here on Apple's site.
If you're on software that's older than iOS 12.2, you'll get iOS 12.2's security patches with your version of iOS 12.5.6.
iOS 12.2 brought a whopping 41 security patches to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. You can read more about the iOS 12.2's patches over on the company's website.
It's important to note that Apple's iOS 12.2 update patched up an exploit that allowed websites to use motion sensors to "fingerprint" devices.
Fortunately, Apple's patched up the issue. If you skipped it, you'll probably want to move to iOS 12.5.6 soon.
If you're on software older than iOS 12.1.4, you get four important security patches including fixes for a widespread FaceTime eavesdropping bug that lets you call someone via FaceTime and hear the audio coming from their phone before they pick up the phone.
If you're on software older than iOS 12.1.3, you get some additional patches with your version of iOS 12.5.6. Again, they're baked into your upgrade.
Apple lists a grand total of 23 patches on board iOS 12.1.3 and you can read about all of them over on Apple's website.
If you're on software older than iOS 12.1.1, you should install the iOS 12.5.6 update on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch today.
The iOS 12.1.1 update brought 17 patches for potential security exploits. They'll will help protect your phone. You can read about them here.
If you're running software older than iOS 12.1, you'll get 24 patches from that update with your version of iOS 12.5.5.
If you're on software that's older than iOS 12.0.1, your iOS 12.5.6 update brings two additional patches. Both patches are for potential lock screen exploits.
Long story long, if you store sensitive data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you have some really good reasons to upgrade to iOS 12.5.6 today.
Last update on 2023-03-24. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API
02/14/2019 at 6:40 pm
Bad habits!? BAD HABITS?! My phone was FINE before 12.1.4. Now my battery is draining about three times faster that it was before the update. Don’t use Cellular data?! The iPhone is designed to be used with cellular data!!! Don’t blame the consumer for expecting the product to perform consistently over any and all updates! It isn’t on us! Apple needs to do a better job of anticipating the negative impact of their updates and responding quickly to these negative impacts. Not Apple’s strong suit up til now.
03/28/2019 at 5:50 pm
My problem with 12.2 isn’t the phone it’s my Apple Watch – the battery on my watch is draining much quicker than before the update to 12.2
Phone X, Watch A1554 on 4.3.2
04/18/2019 at 6:32 am
iOS12.2 is a disaster. I can lose more than 50% of battery life on my iPad in under an hour. Don’t download it! Apple should be ashamed. It is experimenting on its loyal customers the way Microsoft does. NOT ACCEPTABLE!
06/22/2019 at 10:38 am
After an automatic upgrade to iOS 12.3.1 the battery is rapidly draining at about 2% per minute. The phone will crank down to zero and shut off. The battery also recharges very rapidly which leads me to believe it’s not really dead. The battery screen in Settings says that Siri is one of the biggest users of the battery — I don’t find Siri useful and never use it.
Since the “upgrade”, the peak performance flag has appeared, the the maximum batter capacity has dropped to 85% — the batter was replaced 6 months ago.
Apple needs to issue a fix ASAP!