If you start noticing severe battery drain on your iPhone SE after an update or out of nowhere, there are a few steps to take before taking the phone into your local store.
As we push into 2018 we continue to see, and receive, complaints about bad iPhone SE battery life. We aren’t noticing any major issues on the current version of iOS 11, but some iPhone SE users have noticed a decline in battery strength.
iOS updates aren’t supposed to kill your device’s battery. You might see a gradual decline in battery life over the years, but you shouldn’t see a sharp drop out of nowhere. That’s abnormal.
While some of you might be dealing with a hardware issue (bloated battery, etc), there’s a good chance it’s a software problem. Maybe an app has gone rogue, maybe you need to adjust your settings or the way you use your iPhone SE.
In this guide we’re going to take you through some steps to fix your iPhone SE battery life problems from your couch or computer chair. Some of these steps will take a matter of seconds, others are a little more involved. All of them have a chance to alleviate whatever you’re seeing on your phone.
Restart Your iPhone SE
If you start noticing weird battery drain on your iPhone SE the first thing to do is power the device off and on. Hold down the power button, slide to turn it off, wait 30 seconds to a minute, and then hold the power button to power it back on.
Download the Latest iOS Update
If you’re having issues on an older version of iOS 11, try upgrading to the latest version of iOS 11. The iOS 11.1.2 update’s change log doesn’t come with any specific battery fixes, but there’s a chance you’ll see an improvement.
Use the iPhone SE’s Low Power Mode
Your iPhone SE comes with a handy Low Power Mode that automatically turns off features like AirDrop and iCloud Sync to save battery life.
It’s useful when you’re in a pinch, you’ll get a prompt to enable it when you hit the 20% battery mark, though we tend to enable the feature constantly throughout the day.
To enable Low Power Mode on the iPhone SE, head into your Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode > and toggle it to On whenever you need to conserve battery life.
For easy access, add it to Control Center. Control Center is the menu that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
If you’re running iOS 11, head to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and tap the green plus sign next to Low Power Mode to add it to Control Center.
Always Use Wi-Fi
Using cellular data like LTE can cause your battery to drain faster. Using Wi-Fi can help conserve battery life so make sure you use it whenever you can.
Use Airplane Mode
If you’re using your iPhone SE in a bad service area, your device might be working extremely hard to get a signal. When your phone is working hard, your battery is draining.
If you’re in a horrible service area, you might want to flip on Airplane Mode until you’re able to get better coverage. You should also flip on Airplane Mode if you start noticing severe battery drain because it kills all of your phones connections to help conserve battery.
Airplane Mode can be accessed via the Settings app (it’s near the top) or from within Control Center.
Look Into Your Apps
There’s a very good chance it’s one of your iPhone SE’s apps causing the battery issues. Apps like Facebook and YouTube have been known to suck up a ton of power.
It’s important to know what’s sucking up your juice so go into your Settings > Battery and take a look at the Battery Usage tool. It will show you the apps doing the most damage to your iPhone SE’s battery.
If you notice an app draining a ton of battery, and you haven’t been using it a whole lot on your phone, try deleting it to see if your battery life evens out. You can always download it from the App Store if you determine it’s not the culprit.
If you prefer to keep the app installed, check the App Store for bug fixes and install the latest update.
Stop Killing Your Apps
You might be tempted to kill off your apps via the Multitasking menu whenever you notice an increase in battery drain. This does nothing. In fact, Apple says closing apps in your multitasking screen won’t help your battery life.
Your iPhone SE will vibrate whenever you receive a phone call or a new text in Messages. These vibrations can be useful, but they can also suck up precious power.
If you don’t rely on vibrations for phone calls, texts and other notifications, turn them off. Head into Settings > Sounds and toggle Vibrate on Ring and Vibrate on Silent off.
Make sure you also 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
The iPhone SE’s Retina Display is awesome, but it can suck up battery life if you aren’t careful.
If your screen turns on when you don’t need it or if it’s bright when it doesn’t need to be, you’re going to lose battery percentage points.
Auto Brightness is useful, but it can also misread your environment. This is why we recommend manually adjusting your display to suit your lighting conditions. To do this, you need to turn Auto Brightness off.
If you’re up for it, go into Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Auto-Brightness > Off. Once it’s off, you’ll need to manually adjust your screen brightness. This is easy.
Pull up Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of your iPhone SE and adjust the screen brightness as needed. You can also adjust it within your Settings under Display & Brightness.
Turn Off Raise to Wake
If you don’t need it we also recommend turning off your iPhone SE’s Raise to Wake feature.
If you don’t need your iPhone SE’s screen to automatically turn on whenever you pickup it up, go into the Settings app > Display & Brightness and toggle the Raise to Wake function off.
Turn Off Background Refresh
Your iPhone SE might be refreshing apps in the background to show you the latest data whenever you open them. It’s a nifty features, but it can wipe out your battery if you don’t have it under control.
If you don’t need your apps to constantly refresh in the background, head into Settings > General > Background App Refresh > and turn it off for apps you don’t use on a frequent basis.
You can do it on a case-by-case basis or you can turn Background App Refresh off completely if you don’t want to go through one-by-one.
Stop Using Dynamic Backgrounds
You might love using animated backgrounds on the iPhone SE, but they too can kill your battery. If you want to save a few percentage points, stick to static backgrounds.
Reset All Settings
If you’ve gone through all of those fixes, and none of them have worked, it’s time to take some additional steps.
The first thing we recommend is a quick reset to your Settings. To do this, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings and then enter your passcode if you have one enabled on your iPhone SE.
This process could take a few minutes and it will restore your iPhone SE’s settings to the factory defaults. Make sure you write down your Wi-Fi passwords, if you need to, before you do this. This will cause your device to forget known connections.
You can also try downgrading your iPhone SE to an older version of iOS (if one is available) in an effort to improve battery life. There’s no guarantee it will work, but if you were having a good experience on a previous version of iOS, there’s a chance.
If you aren’t sure how to downgrade your iPhone SE, we’ve put together a downgrade guide that will take you through the steps necessary to drop down to an older version of iOS.
Buy a Battery Case or Battery Bank
If you’re willing to spend money to improve your iPhone SE’s battery life consider buying a battery case or a battery bank.
There are a ton of battery case options out there and our list of the best iPhone cases will help you get started.
If you don’t want to lug around a bulky case, and most battery cases add a ton of bulk to the iPhone, you might want to buy a battery bank instead.
If you aren’t familiar, battery banks are small and lightweight gadgets that give you multiple iPhone charges. One such device, the RAVPower battery pack can give you six full iPhone charges.
Start From Scratch
If you can’t figure out the issue yourself and you don’t want to deal with taking it into a store, you can wipe your iPhone SE and start from scratch.
Factory resetting your device will wipe everything on the iPhone SE and return it to the way it was when you first opened the box so make sure you backup your file before starting this process.
Once you’ve backed up your iPhone SE via iTunes or iCloud, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to get the process rolling.
Install iOS 11.3.1 for Better Security
Apple's iOS 11.3.1 update comes with four known security patches for all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models capable of running iOS 11.
If you skipped iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.3.1 update comes with 27 additional patches for potential exploits. Those of you lingering on iOS 11.2.6 would be wise to make the move sooner rather than later.
If you missed iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.3.1 update also includes a new privacy feature. When an Apple feature wants to use your personal information, an icon now appears with a link to access detailed information about how your data will be used and protected.
If you're running iOS 11.2.5 or older, you're exposed to an issue that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iOS-powered device and block access to the Messages app. It can also block apps like Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Outlook, and WhatsApp.
The iOS 11.2.6 update's main purpose was to patch up this issue. If you skipped iOS 11.2.6, you'll get these enhancements with iOS 11.3.1.
If you're running iOS 11.2.2 or below and receive a certain GitHub link through your Messages app, your iPhone or iPad can lockup or respring. The Messages app will also become unusable.
If you're on iOS 11.2.1, your iOS 11.3.1 update includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre. If you're running an older version of iOS, your iOS 11.3.1 update will come with a lot more.
Apple's iOS 11.2 update fixed several problems, but it also brought problems of its own including a potentially nasty zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability.
The vulnerability, discovered by Tian Zhang, allowed for unauthorized control of HomeKit accessories including garage door openers and smart locks.
Apple quickly rolled out a server-side fix, but the company restored full functionality with the release of iOS 11.2.1. If you skipped iOS 11.2.1 and use HomeKit, you should download iOS 11.3.
If you skipped iOS 11.2, you'll get a few more patches with your iOS 11.3.1 update. Apple's iOS 11.2 update delivered 11 patches including one for Mail and one for Wi-Fi.
The iOS 11.2 and iOS 11.2.1 updates also patched up a widespread security issue called "Meltdown." Apple says its analysis suggests it "has the most potential to be exploited."
Meltdown affects all iOS 11 powered devices so we highly recommend downloading iOS 11.3.1 if you skipped iOS 11.2.
If you skipped iOS 11.1.2, iOS 11.1.1, and iOS 11.1, you'll get additional patches with your iOS 11.3.1 update.
The iOS 11.1 update delivered eight security patches including a fix for a serious Wi-Fi vulnerability called KRACK or Key Reinstallation Attack. KRACK is an exploit that targets the common WPA2 encryption protocol.
If you're just now making to move from iOS 10 (or whatever you're on) to iOS 11, your iOS 11.3.1 update will come with even more security features.
In iOS 11 you can't establish trust with a PC using fingerprints alone. You'll also need to put in a full passcode in order to gain that trust.
If you skipped older versions of iOS, your iOS 11.3.1 update will come with an even longer list of security patches.
Apple's iOS 10.3.3 update delivered 24 security patches addressing potential issues with Contacts, Messages, Notifications, and Safari. It also included a patch for a potentially dangerous Wi-Fi exploit called "Broadpwn."
If you skipped iOS 10.3.2 you'll get 23 additional patches with iOS 11.3.1. And if for some reason you missed iOS 10.3, you'll get 60 security patches with your iOS 11.3.1 update.
If you want to protect the data you store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you should make your move to iOS 11 and iOS 11.3.1 soon.
This is particularly important for those of you running older versions of iOS.