Apple changed the new iPhone battery icon in iOS 16.1 to what everyone wanted

This story is part of The focal point of the iPhone 2022A collection of CNET news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular product.

The iPhone is used to show the percentage of remaining battery directly on the status bar, visible from anywhere on the phone, which provided a convenient way to quickly look at the battery level – until Apple removed the feature with the release of the iPhone X. Reason? Apple then had to make room for various sensors in a minimized notch.

The battery icon has been overlooked by many, and Apple has reintroduced the battery percentage icon, albeit a redesigned, with the release iOS 16which you can download now. Many, including myself, are happy with the resurrected battery indicator, but others are upset – in part because they won’t get a battery icon on their phone, even if they update to iOS 16. Others were disappointed because they think Apple could have done more to make the icon useful.

read more: iOS 16 won’t work on every iPhone. Will it work on yours?

The new battery percentage feature isn’t supported on every iPhone – yet. Apple just released last week iOS 16.1which is currently only for developers and provides a battery percentage feature for every iPhone running iOS 16. Here’s what you need to know.


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What’s the deal with the iPhone battery meter?

iPhones featured the exact battery percentage right on the status bar. But after the premiere of the iPhone X that it introduced notch – a black bar at the top of the device where the speaker and camera are located – there wasn’t enough screen space to retain the battery percentage in the status bar, so Apple discarded the feature.

Sure, you can swipe down from the top right corner of yours iPhone to see the exact percentage in the Control Center, but that means you can’t look at the battery percentage from the inside everyone application or from the home screen. And it’s almost impossible to get an exact percentage from the battery icon alone, which isn’t good if your iPhone is near death.

iOS 16 re-enters the battery percentage back to the status bar, inside the existing battery icon.

Which iPhone models won’t recover the battery percentage feature?

Not all iPhone users with iOS 16 will see the new battery percentage feature in the status bar, which is frustrating for some. While there is no official statement as to why some models are disabled from this feature, it appears to be due to lower pixel density on some devices and lack of space for others.

According to this Apple support page, the following models do not support this feature:

The only way to see the battery percentage on iPhones that don’t support the new feature is to add the battery widget to the lock screen / home screen, or swipe down from the top-right corner of your iPhone to display the battery percentage next to the battery icon (instead of inside).

However, the new battery percentage feature is coming to the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, and iPhone Minis with iOS 16.1, which was released last week to developers. You can check how to download it herebut it should be released to the public soon.

Even some people who have this feature are frustrated by its design

Not everyone is happy with the design of the new battery percentage icon. While the same battery percentage is always visible in the status bar on supported devices, the battery icon itself always shows as full whether the phone is idle, charging, or in low power mode – only the color changes. So it can be a little confusing if you just look at it.

The only time the design really changes is when the battery reaches 20% or less – the battery icon then shows as empty or about a fifth full, and turns red.

On Twitter, Mikael Johansson created a mockup that shows the battery icon changing with the percentage. Thousands of people liked this tweet and many agreed that it was an improvement over the current project.

Apple listened to and redesigned the battery percentage icon in iOS 16.1

Apparently, Apple has heard criticism from iPhone users and has redesigned the battery percentage icon in iOS 16.1, which is currently in its second beta for developers. As the mockups that Mikael Johansson posted on the Internet have shown, many people preferred the battery icon that ran out, along with a percentage.

And that’s exactly what Apple changes the battery icon to, as seen in the tweet posted by below Federico Viticci. Instead of just a percentage decreasing, the battery icon is also depleting, making it easier to see how full (or empty) your battery life is.

However, iOS 16.1 is still far from making it available to the general public. If you really want it now here’s how to download the developer beta.

How to recover battery percentage from status bar in iOS 16?

Whatever you think of the design, you should at least risk the battery percentage function if your iPhone supports it.

To view the battery percentage in the iPhone status bar, just update to iOS 16. You can wait for your iPhone to notify you with a pop-up notification or force the update manually by going to Settings > General > Software update.

After updating, you should see a percentage on the battery icon at the top right corner of the screen – from anywhere on your iPhone. This way, you can keep a close eye on when your iPhone is charged or running low and when you should start charging it.

While the setting is on by default, you can go to Settings > Battery and turn it on Battery percentage option to make sure it works. While the device is charging, the battery icon will turn completely green showing the percentage, while in the low power mode, the battery icon will turn completely yellow, but again with a percentage inside.

Battery percentage feature in iOS 16

If you turn off Battery Percentage, you’ll remove the numbers from the status bar and revert to the old battery icon design.

Nelson Aguilar / CNET

Pre-orders for iPhone 14 are open and the phone itself will be available on Friday 16 September.

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