What is causing the iOS11 battery drain problems?

My iPhone has been using huge amounts of battery power for almost 2 weeks now – ever since I upgraded to iOS11.  It can drop 20% of it’s battery percentage in an hour and it’s using so much power that it takes 5 hours to charge! I’m keen to see who else is having this problem and whether it’s resolved itself for you.

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After some reading I am hoping that this increase in power usage on iOS11 is caused by Spotlight reindexing.  This would also make sense as to why all the power saving measures such as low power mode etc make no difference.  It also makes sense as to why the battery drain doesn’t seem to be tied to any particular application.  If this is the case, all we need to do is wait a few days and the iPhone should finish indexing and eventually return to its normal self. If however it’s some kind of a bug in iOS11, we may need to wait for a fix from Apple. If it is caused form Spotlight indexing, waiting should eventually fix it.  If you are camping or in a situation where you you need the phone and cannot put up with the battery drain you have 3 options:

UPDATE: It’s not caused by Spotlight indexing. I turned off all indexing and the problem is still there.

I’m contacting Apple Support and will keep you updated.


  1. Do not upgrade to iOS11 until you can plug your phone in to power for a few days
  2. Turn the iPhone off when you are not using it. (Power it right down by holding the power button for 5 seconds.)
  3. Go in to the Search preferences and turn off search for every app.

Either way, eventually you are going to have to leave you phone plugged in for a few days while Spotlight reindexes your phone.

In iOS11 ‘Spotlight’ does not appear in the settings under ‘Spotlight’ but it has been merged with Siri and is called ‘Search & Siri’.

In iOS11 Spotlight is merged with Siri in the settings.

I am guessing that this Spotlight indexing is what everyone is complaining about.  Wandera report OS 11 causing massive battery drain problems, taking the average life of your iPhone from 240 minutes to just 96 minutes.  Yesterday my iPhone was fully charged at 9am and by 1pm it was totally flat! In this time I made no phone calls and I only sent a 3 or 4 messages and emails. There is a flurry of articles that give advice on how to increase battery life including  9to5 mac,  Daily Telegtraoh,  OS X DaIly, Quartz.com, mashable.com.

They cover all sorts of things including:

  • turn off Settings > General > Background App Refresh
  • turn off Settings > Siri & Search > Listen for “Hey Siri”
  • turn off Settings > Privacy > Location Services
  • turn off Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Auto Brightness
  • turn off Settings > Display & Brightness > Raise to wake
  • turn off Settings >  Accounts & Passwords > Fetch New Data.
  • turn off Bluetooth and WiFi
  • make auto-lock time shorter – Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock
  • do a Hard Reboot
  • turn on Low Power mode
  • look for Power Hungry Apps
  • upgrade to the latest version of iOS!!

But if spotlight indexing is the problem, none of those measures will help. You simply need to wait for spotlight to finish doing it’s job. This took about 1 week on my iPhone SE.

In the meantime I suggest you carry your charger with you and plug your iPhone in whenever you can.

Graph from Wandera.com showing battery drain of iOS 11 vs iOS 10.


After Spotlight indexing is finished, here are some ways to squeeze even more life our of your iPhone.

1. Disable Location Services

Go to Settings –> Privacy –> Location Services and make sure there are no apps set to ‘Always’. If there are turn them to ‘While Using’ to make sure that no apps are accessing your location all the time.


2. Turn off background app refresh

Go to Settings –> General –> Background App Refresh and turn off ‘Background App Refresh’ which will stop Apps accessing wifi and mobile data when they are in the background. You can disable it for all apps (up the top) or you can turn each app off one at a time if there is an app you would like to keep active. For example I’ve decided to keep WhatApp active (so I can receive messages) and Google Photos active (so my photos are automatically uploaded to Google Drive.) I have turned off background App Refresh for all other apps! Note that Phone and Messages will continue to work in the background of course.


3. Turn on ‘Low power mode’

Go to Settings –> Battery and turn on ‘Low Power Mode.’  You can use Siri to turn on Low Power mode. Just say ‘Hey Siri, Turn on Low Power Mode’ and SIRI will turn on low power mode. This article explains what lower power mode is and what is disabled when you turn it on.


Read “Which Apps are draining my battery in iOS 11” to find out which apps are draining your battery.





2 responses to “What is causing the iOS11 battery drain problems?”

  1. Twisha

    Same problem here with my iPhone 6. After spending lot of time and effort with Apple Support – they finally suggested that I need to replace the battery. The Apple service center diagnosed my phone and confirmed that the battery is still in good condition and therefore replacing the battery is not going to solve the problem. The problem is bugged ios11. I have been waiting patiently and have been upgrading to every release since ios11. But nothing works.

    Apple has screwed up and is now refusing to take responsibility.

    So now I have lost faith in Apple. I have no other option but to trash this device and buy a new one. I am never going to buy Apple device ever again. And I would never recommend Apple to anyone.

    1. Is your Phone still under warranty – Apple replaced mine for free. You could try taking it to the Apple Genius bar in an Apple store in Sydney.

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