Some iPhone 12 users report unexpected battery drain issues

in iPhone
A number of iPhone 12 Pro owners have taken to Apple's Support Forums to report an issue that sees excessive power draw from the handset's battery while idle, a problem that has cropped up on various Apple products throughout the years.

Battery Drain

As noted in a thread started by forum user "Master26A," the problem was spotted on an iPhone 12 Pro that drained "when idle with almost no background activity at a rate of 4%." The discharge rate was more pronounced than the user's previous iPhone 11 Pro.

Master26A attempted to remedy the issue by disabling 5G connectivity, though the battery drain persisted at a relatively high rate. Further, the forum member noted their iPhone 12 Pro was connected to Wi-Fi for a majority of its lifetime.

"No matter what I try, it seems to be going down oddly quick. Not to an [unusable] level or anything world ending, but I guess [it's] sort of suspicious," Master26A writes. "I check the battery report, and it's not showing any real culprit, just a rapid decline for no clear reason."

More than 1,000 other forum members have reported similar problems on the original thread as of this writing. Some claim to have traced the overzealous drain back to iPhone's dual SIM capability, but the theory has not been confirmed.

User "ApplesPears88" shared screenshots of their battery discharge curve, which portrays a consistently steep decline in power with no associated background tasks or user activity. They said an Apple support representative ran a diagnostics test on the handset and found no inconsistencies, suggesting the issue lies in software.

Owners are reporting identical troubles with other iPhone 12 models on Reddit and social media outlets.

9to5Mac reported on the Apple Support Forum post earlier today.

Apple has faced battery drain issues in the past. For example, iOS 6.1 impacted battery life on iPhone 4S models in 2013, while Mac system software was to blame for a MacBook Air battery problem a year later.

More recently, a bug in Apple Music was identified as the culprit in an iPhone battery drain issue in July. In October, Apple pushed out an update to watchOS 7 targeting similar problems on Apple Watch.


  • Reply 1 of 9
    I am pretty sure this not just an iPhone 12 issue. Have a XR and a 7 Plus user in the house and they are seeing excess drain while in idle mode. 
    edited December 2020 macplusplusn2itivguy
  • Reply 2 of 9
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 708member
    As happens this isn’t universal, my 12 Pro Max is pretty much flatlined unless I’m using it. 

    I wonder if apps running in the background add up for some?
  • Reply 3 of 9
    Disable location-aware widgets in iOS 14.
    edited December 2020 muthuk_vanalingamcaladanianliketheskywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,508member
    Having just got a 12 mini to replace my 70% battery capacity iPhone 7, all I can say is I  love this new battery life! Even on wireless carplay.

    haven’t seen 5G yet.
    edited December 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Same issue on my 12 mini. Hopefully Apple pushes out a fix that’s not tantamount to CPU throttling.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,226member
    JFC_PA said:
    As happens this isn’t universal, my 12 Pro Max is pretty much flatlined unless I’m using it. 

    I wonder if apps running in the background add up for some?
    Same with my 12 Pro. When not in use, there is almost no drain. 
  • Reply 7 of 9
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,999member
    No issues with my 12Pro at all. Traded in an X with 87% life where I would get a good day and charge overnight.
    If I wanted, I could probably get two days from my 12 Pro.
    5G is available in my area so I figured I would enable all the 5G capability that I could to see if there is a hit to battery life.
    Considering what I stated earlier, it's not impacting me at all.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,313member
    I've noticed periodic battery drain issues on a number of my Apple devices, but none more so than devices that are running beta versions of iOS or iPadOS and when using the 5 GHz channels on my WiFi setup. Sometimes the rapid drain issue stops after an update, while other times it gets even worse. The battery usage metrics on the devices don't really provide a level of granularity for me to see exactly what's the source of the drainage issue. It would be interesting to see the drain associated with underlying drivers and services rather than simply the application level drainage. Safari is usually the biggest source of drain for me, followed by Mail, unless I'm using Apple News which will take over the #1 spot on the drainage sweepstakes if I start using it for any amount of time.

    I think that it's fair to say that anything that causes the WiFi or cellular radios to get into a situation where they start cranking up the power to try to stay connected to a weak signal will cause the battery to drain very quickly. I once had to work in a motor R&D facility that had heavy EMI shielding around the entire lab and if I didn't turn off my mobile phone (or at least the radios) ahead of going into the lab the battery on my device would drain to near zero over the course of 30 minutes or so. It didn't matter what brand of mobile phone either, it was simply a worst case scenario for battery drain. I'm surprised that smartphones don't popup a notification in these worst case scenarios to warn of the high-drain situation.

    I think it would be useful to have UPS-like power management settings on mobile devices to allow you to specify preemptive actions, like automatically switching over to low power mode, turning off Bluetooth and/or WiFi, etc., when the device detects that it is draining the battery exceptionally fast or at a rate that will lead to total depletion over a short period of time.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,399member
    There's also an apparent problem with the iPhone 12 and wireless chargers, which Apple acknowledges. The iPhone simply stops responding to them, no longer charging. The iPhone 11 isn't affected so it's something specific to the 12.

    Kind of a double whammy for some I suppose if the battery is draining a bit faster than expected. but Apple reportedly has a fix in the works for the wireless charging issue. 
    edited December 2020
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