Apple is quietly rolling out a feature in its next big software update meant to prevent your iPhone's battery life from declining as quickly over time

Hollis JohnsonThe goal of ‘optimised battery charging’ is to prevent your iPhone’s battery from staying at a 100% charge for too long.
  • A new feature in Apple’s coming iOS 13 iPhone operating system could help prevent the premature ageing in iPhone batteries, which causes shorter and shorter battery life over the ownership of an iPhone.
  • “Optimised battery charging” is meant to prevent the battery from being stressed and ageing faster by charging iPhone batteries only to 80%.
  • It’s designed to charge your iPhone with the last remaining 20% only when it predicts you’re about to unplug your iPhone.
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The coming version of Apple’s iPhone operating system – iOS 13 – comes with a new feature designed to prevent your iPhone’s battery life from getting shorter and shorter over time.

The feature is simply called “optimised battery charging,” and its goal is to prevent your iPhone’s battery from staying at a 100% charge for too long. Those who charge their iPhone overnight should take note!

Indeed, batteries age faster when they’re under stress, and staying at a 100% charge for long periods of time – like charging overnight every day – is stressful for batteries. Batteries retain less and less energy as they age, resulting in shorter battery lives as your iPhone gets older than when it first came out of the box.

I should note up front that iOS 13 is coming only to the iPhone 6S (including the iPhone SE) and newer iPhones.

Here’s how it works:


When you plug in your iPhone to charge, it will charge only up to 80%.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

This will prevent your iPhone from being at a 100% charge for long periods of time, such as during an overnight charge, which ages your iPhone’s battery faster.


It will finish charging the remaining 20% only in the time before you typically unplug your iPhone from the charger.

Apple says your iPhone will “learn from your daily charging routine” when to top off the last remaining 20% of battery charge.


Overnight charging — a common way to charge smartphones — offers a perfect example.

Avery Hartmans/Business Insider

You plug in your iPhone at night before going to bed, and your iPhone will charge only to 80%.

Your iPhone will eventually learn that you usually wake up and unplug your iPhone at, say, 8 a.m., and it will aim to finish charging the last 20% just before you typically unplug your iPhone.


For those who don’t have such predictable charging habits, Apple says the optimised battery charging feature in iOS 13 is only an option.

Apple

Your iPhone will have a hard time learning your routine if you don’t have a charging routine, so it might charge only to 80% every time you plug it in.

You can enable or disable the optimised-battery-charging feature in iOS 13 if you’d rather charge your iPhone normally.


To be sure, all batteries age over time, and there’s no avoiding it.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The one thing you have control over is how fast your battery ages. With its optimised battery-charging feature, Apple is simply making it easier for you to control how fast your iPhone’s battery ages. You don’t actually have to do anything differently, which is great.


The new feature won’t have much of an effect on iPhones that already have stale batteries.

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If your iPhone’s battery is already showing signs of ageing, in which it lasts only a few hours a day even if it started the day at 100%, you’re not really going to see the benefits of Apple’s optimised-battery-charging feature.

This is the kind of feature that will work under the hood over the long term, and it won’t really help a battery that has already aged.

The best way to use this feature is with a new – or at least recently bought – iPhone with a fresh battery.

That doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a new iPhone as soon as iOS 13 rolls out. Quite the contrary! Apple actually gave you four good reasons not to upgrade to a new iPhone when iOS 13 rolls out. And if your battery is a little stale, you can get it replaced for $US80 at an Apple Store instead of spending hundreds on a new one.

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