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Using iOS 13 to diagnose (and easily repair) an iPhone battery problem


The other day I noticed something strange about my iPhone. I was taking screenshots of the Settings app for another piece I was writing, and I noticed something out of place.

If you want to play along at home, take a look at the screenshots in this post and see if you can spot something odd.

I’ll wait here for you.

Seen it? No, let me give you a clue, look at the off-screen battery usage figure.

OK, here’s what I noticed in the Settings > Battery screen:

Something unusual

Something unusual

That’s telling me that something is chewing at the battery off-screen for, well, most of the day. This means that something was running while I wasn’t using the phone. While background activity is normal, that much isn’t.

Since I first noticed this from a screenshot I’d taken, I decided to take a look to see if the problem was still on-going.

Problem is still there

Problem is still there

Yup, it was. So, what’s the problem?

It's the Photos app

It’s the Photos app

It’s the Photos app. It’s doing something in the background, and had been for 125 hours over the previous ten days.

Now, it might have been doing something legitimate, or it might have gone haywire. Since this problem just appeared and hadn’t happened following an iOS update, and it seems to have been sustained for days, I was leaning towards it being the app gone haywire.

Must read: Fixing up a 30-year-old Swiss Army Knife

So, another question. How would you fix an app gone haywire?

I decided to take the simplest course of action, and just reboot the handset. Would it work?

I rebooted, and waited a few hours, and saw that background usage — measured by the light blue bars in the chart — had fallen dramatically.

Fixed!

Fixed!

Fixed.

Now, what’s interesting is that when it came to battery life, I’d not really noticed that much of a hit. The iPhone 11 Max Pro has such a huge battery capacity that it absorbed this very well indeed.

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