Optimized Battery Charging In iOS 13…. What Is It?

One of the things that iOS 13 brought to the table for iPhone users is this:

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So what does this feature do? Before I get to that, let me explain why this feature exists.

As lithium-ion batteries are charged and discharged, the chemical structure in them breaks down. Over lots of charge-and-discharge cycles, they become unable to hold as much charge or deliver as much power all at once. This can cause issues like unexpected reboots or the iPhone may slow down. In short, you might see the sort of issues that became known as #BatteryGate which caused a huge PR and legal problem for Apple not too long ago.

You can check to see what state your battery is in via going to the same place that you find Optimized Battery Charge. Just look for the maximum capacity percentage. As a rule, a normal battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles when operating under normal conditions. A charge cycle being a complete discharge and recharge. If you battery is approaching 80%, you should consider getting a new battery.

So what Apple has done is figured out a way to lengthen the life of the lithium-ion batteries in iPhones by figuring out your usage patterns via the machine learning capabilities on your iPhone, and using that information to figure out how to charge the battery to give you a 100% charge right when you need it. Specifically, the iPhone is charged at full speed up to the 80% mark. Charging is then stopped at this point. Then based on the machine learning that it has done, the last 20% is charged just before you need to use the phone. That’s important because what really hurts the battery is the need to continuously top it up to stay at 100% as it is constantly being charged over several hours overnight. That’s why Optimized Battery Charging can make such a difference to iPhone users as it will increase the life of your battery, which means your iPhone will last longer.

In my case, this feature was off when I first looked at it. But my research indicates that after the install of iOS 13 it should be on by default. Thus I cannot explain why it was off in my case. But I suspect it might be a bug as various parts of this feature were broken in iOS 13. But they were fixed in iOS 13.1 according to the release notes. Thus if you want to really leverage this feature, you should ensure that you are running iOS 13.1. 

Now in the interest of showing you how this works, I am currently using this feature. And based on what I have researched, it may take me a few weeks to fully illustrate how it works as it takes about that long for the machine learning on your iPhone to learn your habits to predict when you will need to have your phone charged and ready to go. But I do have some early observations. After installing iOS 13.1 on Tuesday September 24th I charged my phone as normal. I kept an eye on what it was doing via this method:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Battery

When I did that on the morning of the 26th I was presented with this graph:

IMG_1280

This is what the phone did from a battery perspective over the last 24 hours on Wednesday from just before noon to Thursday just before noon. The relevant portion is the green graph from roughly 10PM when I went to sleep. The phone started to charge and then stopped when it hit 80% just around midnight. This apparently is “normal” for this feature. It then stayed there until 6AM. Which meant that I started off the day with an 80% charge. I then went about my day without charging and went to bed around 10PM where I had about 20% of a charge left. This repeated itself until September 28th when I saw this: 

IMG_1287

It’s started charging to 100% consistently. From here, I expect it to keep doing this until it gets to the point where it can predict when you need the phone. And at that point the phone will start charging in a different manner. I will do a follow up post on that.

Finally to either turn on Optimized Battery Charging or to check to see if it is on, you can do the following:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Battery
  3. Tap on Battery Health.
  4. You’ll see the option for Optimized Battery Charging.

One last thing. When optimized battery charging is active, as in it has learned enough about your behavior to predict when you will need your phone, you will see a notification on the Lock screen that gives you the time when your phone will be charged. If you need to have your iPhone fully charged sooner, you can touch and hold the notification and then tap “Charge Now.” That’s handy if you need to use the phone outside of the hours that the iPhone thinks that you will need it.

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One Response to “Optimized Battery Charging In iOS 13…. What Is It?”

  1. […] I last wrote about optimized battery charging in iOS 13, I explained how the feature works in theory and my observations about the feature. At […]

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