How to Fix Bad iPhone SE Battery Life
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.
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 15, but some iPhone SE users have noticed a decline in battery strength.
iOS updates aren’t supposed to kill your device’s battery life. 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 Device
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 15, try upgrading to the latest version.
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.
To do this, head to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and tap the green plus sign next to Low Power Mode to add it to Control Center.
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 & Text Size > 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 > Transfer or Reset iPhone > 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 that it does.
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.
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 > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings to get the process rolling.
Install iOS 16.4 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing Apple's iOS 16.4 update on your iPhone right away.
Apple's outlined the patches on board iOS 16.4 and the list is substantial. You can read about them in detail over on Apple's security site.
As for older software, the iOS 16.3.1 update had three security patches on board including one for an actively exploited vulnerability. For more on the security contents of iOS 16.3.1, check out Apple's security page.
iOS 16.3 brought 10+ new security patches with it and you can learn more about all of those right here.
In addition, the software came with support for physical security keys for Apple ID. These will beef up your account security by requiring a physical security key as part of the two factor authentication sign in process. Learn more about the change right here.
If you skipped iOS 16.2, you'll get its changes with iOS 16.4. iOS 16.2 brought a ton of important security patches with it and you can dig into the details on Apple's security site.
The update also brought end-to-end encryption to iCloud, iMessage, iPhone backups, Notes, Photos, and more. If you want to learn more about it, head over to Apple's guide.
If you decided to missed iOS 16.1.2, you'll get its solitary security patch with your upgrade. Learn more about it right here.
If you skipped iOS 16.1.1, you'll get its security patches when you upgrade. You can learn more about them right here.
If you missed the iOS 16.1 update, it brought 19 security patches to the iPhone and you can learn about the particulars of those over on Apple's website.
If you failed to download iOS 16.0.3, it had one security patch on board, a fix for a potential exploit within the Mail app. For more about the fix, check out Apple's security site.
If you're still running iOS 15 your iPhone, you'll get a bunch of other patches when you upgrade.
iOS 16.0 brought a ton of security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's security website.
In addition to those patches, iOS 16 brings some additional enhancements to privacy and security including Safety Check which, according to Apple, will help "people in domestic or intimate partner violence situations review and reset the access they’ve granted others."
The feature also resets system privacy permissions for apps and restricts Messages and FaceTime to the device on hand.
Apple's also made some improvements to Passkeys in Safari. iOS 16 brings a brand new sign-in method that's end-to-end encrypted and safe from phishing and data leaks.