iOS 14.6 arrived last week with a handful of interesting new features for iPhone owners, but for some users, it is having an unfortunate side effect.
Claims of battery drain issues on iOS 14.6 have been popping up online including in the Apple Support Community (opens in new tab). MacRumors reports considerable chatter about the problem in its forums as well.
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It doesn't appear to be limited to a specific model of iPhone either, with iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro owners all indicating that they are seeing similar battery drain. This is clearly not affecting every user as the reported results are quite drastic in some cases.
One user in the Apple support forums claims his iPhone 11 Pro with an Apple Smart Cover (presumably they mean Smart Battery Case) discharged all the way down to 2% battery with just 15% left in the battery case in a single day. This is compared to never seeing battery drain on the phone itself and the case only dropping to around 20%.
Battery life issues are nothing new for iPhone 12 owners, but this is definitely a new wrinkle for them with an iPhone 12 mini owners in the MacRumors forums indicating that not only are they seeing excessive battery drain, but the back of the phone is also getting noticeably warm to the touch with minimal use right away in the morning.
It's not uncommon to see things like this happen immediately after a software update, but it is surprising that the reports are continuing for over a week since the update was made available. It's possible this is simply attributable to a continuous flow of new users installing the update; after all, MacRumors forum members are likely to be the first to jump on an update as soon as it's available.
It's been a bit of a bumpy road for Apple when it comes to iPhone battery life over the last year with the aforementioned endurance problems for the iPhone 12 and the battery health recalibration with iOS 14.5 that landed some users a free battery.
We haven't been able to reproduce this behavior ourselves across multiple iPhones, supporting the notion that the problem is limited in nature, but given the severity of the problem for some users, if you haven't updated yet you may want to consider holding off for now. We would expect to see a patch for iOS 14.6 if this is widespread or it will likely be addressed in iOS 14.7 if it is a more limited problem.