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iOS 11 update: We have good news and bad news about iPhone battery life

Published Sep 20th, 2017 8:51AM EDT
iOS 11 Features iPhone
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple on Tuesday finally released iOS 11 to the public after months of beta testing. Here’s a fun little tidbit: Within about a minute of Apple’s iOS 11 release, it was already installed on more devices than the latest version of Android. But that’s neither here nor there. iOS 11 is packed full of new features, refinements of existing features, bug fixes, and plenty more for iPhone and iPad users to enjoy. It’s not all good news, however.

Each and every software update on any platform causes issues for some people, and such is the case with iOS 11. Many people have found that their iPhones have slowed down following the update, and we already told you how to speed your phone back up. But speed isn’t the only aggravating problem people are running into.

First things first: when you first install any iOS update on your iPhone, iOS 11 included, your phone may slow down and you may experience faster battery drain at first. It’s just the nature of the beast. Part of it has to do with Spotlight re-indexing and other shuffling that takes place in behind the scenes, and part of it has to do with the simple fact that you use the phone more while you’re exploring all the new features.

So the good news is that for most people, battery life will improve. The problem with iOS 11 is that for some people, the battery life on their iPhones doesn’t seems to be getting any better.

A simple search on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook yields thousands of posts from people complaining about iPhone battery life after updating to iOS 11. Many of the complaints come from people who had just installed the new update, so they can be discounted for the time being. But there are also posts from people who have been using the final iOS 11 build since Apple released iOS 11 GM last week. The Gold Master version of each iOS build, for those unaware, is exactly the same as the version released to the public.

Most of the complaints seem to be coming from people with older iPhone models like the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. There are plenty of iPhone 7 users chiming in as well, however. Personally, I can confirm that my own iPhone 7 Plus has taken a substantial hit since I updated to iOS 11 last week.

If you experience faster battery drain after updating to iOS 11, there are a few things you can do to potentially extend your battery life. The two big ones are limiting the number of apps that can refresh in the background (Settings > General > Background App Refresh) and limiting the number of apps that can access your location in the background (Settings > Privacy > Location Services). If that doesn’t have much of an impact, Low Power Mode may become your best friend until Apple pushes out new updates in the coming months that will hopefully address excessive battery drain.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.