Hidden Apple Watch bug could have been draining your iPhone’s battery

Apple Watch Series 9
(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 17.0.3 update has just been released, and most of the attention has been on how it’s designed to stop the iPhone 15 Pro from overheating. But Apple has just confirmed that the update helped fix another bug that was causing iPhone batteries to drain far too quickly. A bug that is all the watchOS 10.1 beta’s fault.

According to Apple, users may have noticed “increased power consumption” if an Apple Watch running the beta was paired with an iPhone running the final version of iOS 17 — rather than the iOS 17 beta. Apparently the problem could also occur with an iPhone running the iOS 17.1 beta and the final version of watchOS 10.

It’s an odd combination of factors, especially since there’s no word on whether a pairing of two betas or two stable versions of both pieces of software caused a similar battery problem. Or even why this bug happened in the first place. But at least this means anyone that’s suffered a recent decline in iPhone battery life now knows what was behind it.

Needless to say if you have an iPhone and an Apple Watch, you should ensure that both devices are updated to the latest software version — regardless of whether it’s the stable version or the beta. Otherwise you’re going to end up with some more mystery battery problems for the foreseeable future.

Judging from the iOS 17.1 beta, there are plenty of other more exciting features on the way, too. So it pays to keep your phone up to date, and not just for the serious bug fixes. Upcoming features include a new favorite button and customizable artwork for Apple Music, a new toggle to turn off a display in StandBy mode, and a toggle for using cellular data for AirDrop transfers.

Apple’s also tweaking the Action button on iPhone 15 Pro, with the aim of trying to avoid unwanted triggers when the phone is in your pocket. Obviously there are no settings for that, but it means you won’t accidentally switch on the flashlight or switch the phone out of silent mode without realizing it.

iOS 17.1 beta has only just started rolling out to developers, though, so it may be a little while before the rest of us actually get to experience what it has to offer. In the meantime, just make sure your devices are up to date so you’re ready and to keep those batteries alive for longer.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.