iPhone 12 has a bizarre problem — what you need to know

iPhone 12 problem battery life
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Every gadget has bugs when it first launches, and the iPhone 12 is no exception. There have already been a fair few issues with Apple's latest smartphone, but this new one affects the battery. 

Some users are reporting problems with the iPhone 12's power consumption, saying that the battery is draining far too quickly — even when the phone is in standby mode.

Historically, iPhones have not been the strongest performers on battery life; only two iPhones have made it into our best phone battery life list. 

And since our testing showed the iPhone 12 doesn’t perform as well as the iPhone 11 (10 hours and 23 minutes vs 11 hours and 16 minutes on 4G) that means it’s still a concern in 2020. But that shouldn’t lead to a 20-40% power drain overnight when the phone isn’t even in use.

Apple Communities forum member Master26A brought this issue up in October, reporting a battery drain of 4% per hour on the iPhone 12 Pro. Since then others have reported similar things, with heavy battery loss even when the phone isn't being used. Some even turned off known power-hogs like 5G and background app activity but to no avail. 

According to ApplePears88, Apple Support ran diagnostics on their iPhone 12 but found no problems: “I spoke to Apple support today & they ran diagnostics saying that everything checks out. I imagine what this means is that there is a software issue causing the battery to drain – hopefully they sort it soon. It 100% isn’t normal for all apps to be closed, background app refresh off, Bluetooth off & lose 40% charge overnight. To illustrate here’s my battery view overnight.”

iphone 12 battery

(Image credit: ApplePears88/Apple Support)

Their graph shows the declining levels of battery, showing a very even loss of power regardless of what the phone is doing – be it in active use, standby or even low power mode. Odiebla, who claims to be a non-Apple mobile engineer, also had graphs showing a similar rate of power loss.

iphone 12 battery

(Image credit: Odiebla/Apple Support)

It’s not particularly great to get a new phone and find the battery has a tendency to deplete for no discernible reason. Given the number of people that are reporting it — there are several hundred people confirming they’re affected in at least one other Apple Support thread and another on Reddit — it should motivate Apple to get to the bottom of it. 

But as mentioned earlier, this isn't the first problem the iPhone 12 has run in to. We’ve already heard about issues with cell service, touchscreen sensitivity, flickering displays and side effects of using MagSafe.

Like all the other iPhone 12 problems that have surfaced, let’s hope this unusual battery drain is a software issue that can be fixed pretty soon.

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.