Recently we ran an analysis to compare the battery decay rate of iOS 11 vs iOS 10. The results showed a significant difference. Now that Apple has pushed out improvements with 11.0.1 and iOS 11.0.2 and devices have had time to settle, this new analysis suggests improvements in iOS 11 battery life are on the horizon.

Have Apple’s recent updates improved iOS 11 battery life?

Only a week after releasing the much-anticipated iOS 11 update, Apple pushed out an emergency update (iOS 11.0.1) last week followed by 11.0.2 today. As a bug fix and performance improvements update, there aren’t any notable features to highlight with the latest versions. These subversions typically just make everything run smoother and address lingering bugs and improve battery life.
We thought it was worth looking again at iOS 11 battery life to see if there has been an improvement since our last analysis. Even with the wealth of data we have at Wandera we can quickly recreate the same analysis and see how the data may have changed.

We wanted to look at this analysis again because we expected to see a positive change for a couple of reasons. We know from previous experience that Apple offers sub-version updates just after big releases to offer bug fixes for such issues. We also know humans love to play with new things so the excitement of new features may have worn off.David Pryce, PhD, Head of data Science, Wandera.

What we found was a positive story for iOS 11 battery life

After running the analysis again a week later on the same subset of 50,000 moderate to heavy iPhone and iPad users in our network, it became clear there was a positive change in iOS 11 battery life after the release of 11.0.1.
Note: The updated iOS 11 decay rate also includes those devices running 11.0.1. It does not include devices running 11.0.2 as this information was not available at the time of analysis.  
iOS 11 time to decay from 100% to 0% is now 159 mins. That’s a 63 minute (or 65%) improvement compared to the iOS 11 time to decay in the first analysis which was 96 minutes.
In other words, new decay rate for iOS 11 = 0.010458 percent per second.
It’s important to note also that while this analysis is on the same subset of devices, there are now four times more devices running iOS 11 and 11.0.1 than there was in the initial analysis.

We think the improvement might be attributed to a few things: a larger percentage of devices in our subset running iOS 11 giving us greater visibility, device activity returning to a regular state as users grow accustomed to new features, device shuffling and reindexing settling down, upgrades to iPhone 8 and X devices which are optimised for the given software and the recent Apple release of 11.0.1 improving the battery life.David Pryce, PhD, Head of data Science, Wandera.

What can we expect from new iOS updates?

Over the years Apple has done a fantastic job to automatically collect statistics and crash data from all of its millions of devices to identify and fix such battery-draining problems in iOS releases throughout the year. Matt Vlasach, our Director of Product explains iOS 10.3.3 as a product of this feedback loop: it represents almost a year of improvements and bug fixes to issues that were probably just as impactful to battery performance when iOS 10.0 was released last year.

It is a simple reality of software: there will always be bugs in new major OS releases, which are constantly pushing the limits of the devices they are running on.  This, in turn, burns battery and always causes a new uproar about battery performance. However, it is inevitable that these problems will be addressed and improved as time goes on, until the next major update.Matt Vlasach, Director of Product, Wandera

We constantly keep a close eye on the state of devices in our network and this includes battery performance. Changes in typical battery behaviour can be an indication of a threat affecting the device. As usual, we advise against delaying software updates due to the vulnerability of outdated software.
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