If you own a compatible iPhone then the iOS 15.4 update should now be available to you, complete with new emojis, the ability to use Face ID with a mask, and a host of bug fixes. However, there might be a problem with the latest software upgrade too: battery drain.
As reported by Phone Arena and others, a certain subsection of users on Twitter and Reddit are saying that their handsets have been losing battery life much more quickly since the iOS 15.4 update was applied.
One Reddit thread seems to be split more or less half and half with users reporting better or worse battery life, while another describes “horrible battery drain” in recent days. In a separate thread on Reddit a user reports the battery “draining more than usual”.
There are similar messages cropping up on Twitter too, with one tweet reporting “absolutely ridiculous” battery drain, another suggesting it's “really bad” and a third tweet saying iOS 15.4 is “killing the battery” of an iPhone 13 Pro Max model.
At the moment there's no clear pattern in terms of which particular iPhones are affected: though we have seen quite a few posts mentioning the latest iPhone 13 models, others refer to older editions of Apple's flagship smartphone.
This is by no means a universal problem, with other Reddit threads and Twitter posts reporting better battery life since the iOS 15.4 patch was applied. It seems fair to say that there's a mixed bag of responses to the latest iOS update so far.
Analysis: don't panic just yet
There are a few certainties in life, including death, taxes, and reports of excessive battery drain after a new iOS update. At this stage we would have been more surprised if there hadn't been complaints about iOS 15.4 and battery life in the first few days.
So far the only official response from Apple has been to tell users to sit tight, and to assure them that variations in battery life are normal for up to 48 hours after a new version of the operating system is installed. A lot of the time, these issues will then settle down.
Not only does an iOS update need time to evaluate what it's working with on a particular iPhone – and how to optimize the battery accordingly – third-party developers also need time to make sure their apps are working with rather than against the latest iOS.
With that in mind, we'd expect most of these issues to clear up within the next few days. It's not clear just how widespread the issue is, but if you are affected then keep a close eye on battery usage in the coming week.