One of the smaller features of iOS 13 was still welcomed by many iPhone owners, since it could theoretically prolong the lifespan of their devices. We’re talking about Optimized Battery Charging.
- 9 key tips to getting more battery life in iOS 13
- Why you shouldn’t calibrate the battery in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod
- Fixing small-yet-annoying problems in iOS 13.2 and later updates
But many fans praised the idea of Optimized Battery Charging, it seems that the feature may not have turned out so well in practice. Here’s what you should know about Optimized Battery Charging not working — and what you can do about it.
What is Optimized Battery Charging?
If you need a quick refresher, Optimized Battery Charging is a new feature in iOS 13 that should help reduce wear and tear on your iPhone’s battery over time — essentially prolonging its lifespan and battery health.
It does so by analyzing your nightly (or daily) charging habits and adapting the charge cycle. The goal is to stop your battery from sitting at 100 percent charge for too long.
How does Optimized battery charging work on the iPhone?
It works sort like this:
- If you wake up a 7 a.m. each day, Optimized Battery Charging will note that wake-up time.
- When you plug in your iPhone to charge at night, it’ll charge normally until it hits 80 percent charge.
- At this point, the feature will cut off charging.
- It will resume charging when it knows it can fill up your iPhone’s battery without letting it sit a full charge for too long.
Apple added this feature in because of the way that lithium-ion batteries work. All smartphone batteries naturally degrade over time, but letting a lithium-ion battery sit at 0 or 100 percent charge for too long can place unnecessary strain on it.
Why isn’t Optimized Battery Charging working?
Optimized Battery Charging, in theory, is a great way for Apple to help reduce the number of times an iPhone user needs to replace their battery.
It may particularly come in handy for users who hold onto their iPhones for extended lengths of time. For those users, battery health is extremely important since no on wants to replace their battery every year.
With that being said, it appears that Optimized Battery Charging isn’t really working for a not-insignificant number of users.
According to those reports, the feature will not stop or start charging at the appropriate times. Other users claim that the feature doesn’t do anything at all on their devices.
So what’s going on? Let’s get to the bottom of it.
A few things to note
Part of the confusion about Optimized Battery Charging is that there isn’t a lot of official information about it from Apple. The Support Document for the feature, for example, explains what it does but doesn’t really go into detail about how it works. Apple does provide a detailed guidance around maximizing iPhone battery life on this article on their site.
But based on a number of user reports, we’ve been able to piece together the following tidbits of information.
Optimized battery charging requires a consistent schedule (for now)
At this point, it seems like Optimized Battery Charging is working perfectly fine for many users, but isn’t working at all for just as many.
The reason for that? It looks like the feature actually requires a consistent schedule to work. For example, if you wake up every day at 7 a.m., then Optimized Battery Charging will know to resume charging an appropriate amount of time before you get up.
But if you wake up at 6 a.m. on Monday, 7 a.m. on Tuesday, and 9 a.m. the rest of the week, the feature doesn’t know what to do and simply won’t work.
This is, obviously, inconvenient for users who don’t work on consistent schedules. And unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like there’s any sort of workaround to get it to work.
That being said, this is a pretty glaring oversight of the feature. So Apple may improve its algorithms and add support for inconsistent schedules down the road.
It takes five days for it to learn a new routine
So there are limits to the type of “routine” that Optimized Battery Charging can learn. But what happens if you have a consistent routine and you eventually need to change it?
There’s a contingency for that, apparently. In its support documentation, Apple doesn’t specify how long it takes for Optimized Battery Charging to learn a new routine. But we do have an idea, thanks to an Apple Support representative
One Reddit user asked Apple Support for help concerning the feature on their device. In response, the Apple Support technician sent this sent back to them.
While this hasn’t been officially confirmed by Apple, it’s the next best thing to a firm answer. Optimized Battery Charging takes five full days to learn a new routine.
You may need to use stock chargers
While we can’t independently confirm this, it seems that some users are having issues
with Optimized Battery Charging because of the charging brick that they’re using.
For example, one user said that the feature works fine with the standard 5W charging brick that was included in their iPhone. It won’t work for them, however, when they used the 10W iPad charger.
This is probably a bug with the feature itself (which we’ll get to below). But if Optimized Battery Charging isn’t working for you, you may want to experiment with your charging setup.
If you’re using wireless charging, try standard wired charging. If you’re using some type of third-party charging accessories, try out first-party Apple gear for a while. Just see if there’s something in the charge chain affecting it.
It may just be buggy
There’s also a good chance that Optimized Battery Charging is simply really buggy in iOS 13, which is itself a fairly buggy release compared to past versions of the operating system.
For example, we’ve seen plenty of reports of Optimized Battery Charging causing battery drainage, in addition to the aforementioned issues with it working in the first place.
It appears that many users who are asking Apple Support for assistance regarding the feature are getting a response back indicating that Apple wants to “collect information” about it.
In other words, it looks like something isn’t really working as intended with Optimized Battery Charging. Apple didn’t anticipate that — so now it’s working to change it.
Optimized Battery Charging won’t work miracles
Even if Optimized Battery Charging is working perfectly for you, don’t expect the feature to work miracles. When working as intended, it’ll help prolong your iPhone’s battery — but it won’t stop it from degrading entirely.
If you’re particularly concerned about keeping your iPhone’s battery in tip-top shape, there are some additional steps you can take, too.
- The best “charge level” for a battery to be at is 50 percent charge. If you can keep it at 50 percent charge, then try to do so.
- Don’t overheat your battery. Try to avoid charging it in hot environments or in direct sunlight. You may also want to keep any cases off when the device itself charging. Try not to play any games or use intensive apps while charging.
- Avoid wireless charging — especially with shoddy third-party chargers. Because of the way that charging coils require extremely precise alignment, wireless charging may be bad for your battery’s health.
Of course, at the need of the day, don’t stress about your battery’s health too much. Your iPhone’s battery is going to degrade eventually. The best you can hope for is to delay it for a bit.
Have you tried the optimized battery charging feature out yet since it was released with iOS 13? What has been your experience? What do you think Apple should do to make this feature better and more useful in future? Please sound your comments below.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.