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 12, 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 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 12, try upgrading to the latest version of iOS 12.
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.
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 13.3 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing the iOS 13.3 update right away.
iOS 13.3 brings 12 new security patches to your iPhone. You can read about each one over on Apple's security page.
The iOS 13.3 update also adds support for NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO2-compliant security keys in the Safari browser.
If you skipped a previous version of iOS 13, you'll get security patches from the updates you missed in your iOS 13.3 update.
If you missed iOS 13.2, it had 16 new security patches on board. You can read about all of them on Apple's website right here.
iOS 13.1.1 brought a security patch for a third-party keyboard issue to your iPhone. If you're interested in the particulars, you can read about them over on Apple's website.
If you passed on installing iOS 13.1, you get an additional patch with your iOS 13.3 update. You can learn more right here.
If you're moving up from iOS 12, you'll get iOS 13.0's nine security patches with your upgrade to iOS 13.3. Read about those here.
If you skipped iOS 12.4.1 or any older versions of iOS 12, you'll get their security patches with your iOS 13.3 update.
iOS 12.4.1 only had one patch on board, but Apple's iOS 12.4 brought 19 security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the specifics, you can read about them on right here.
In addition to those patches, iOS 13 itself comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improved anti-tracking features in Safari and the ability to get rid of location metadata in your photos.
You also now have the ability to block apps from using Bluetooth and the ability to allow apps to access your location just once.
iOS 13 will also send you reminders about applications that track your data.
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