Since iOS 16, certain iPhones can again show the battery status as a percentage. However, this was not implemented elegantly – Apple reacted.
Anyone who has activated the new percentage display for the battery level on their iPhone with iOS 16 – which only works on certain models – will know how confusing Apple has implemented the feature. Although a numerical value is finally appearing here again, the battery icon behind it always looks as if it is still completely full. With this, Apple achieves something that is not so easy for designers: The company makes a UI element clearer and more confusing at the same time. Apparently that should change now: With iOS 16.1 the time has come.
criticism for months
The criticism of the new look of the actually simple function has been known for months and already existed during the beta times of iOS 16. Nevertheless, Apple implemented it that way. While the battery icon previously changed depending on the level, it now always remains filled and the freshly integrated numerical value changes. There is no space for a percent sign. In practice, this means that you can no longer see how much battery is left out of the corner of your eye when you activate the percentage display – instead you have to focus your eyes on the mini number.
As the latest beta versions of iOS 16.1 show, Apple has apparently heard the criticism. There is still no percent sign. However, the battery icon behind it has finally been made dynamic: Depending on the status, a part is grayed out. It is not designed to be extremely visible – there was one on Twitter some definitely better suggestions from interested designers – but you take what you can get.
Never ending Story
The topic of the battery percentage display sounds harmless, but it has been busy and annoying users since the iPhone X appeared in 2017. At that time, there was no more space for the display due to the display notch. Since then, you have to go to the control center with an extra swipe if you really want to know exactly what the battery level is. This has now been improved with iOS 16 – in addition to the iPhone 14 models, Apple has also implemented it on the iPhone 12 (including Pro and Pro Max), iPhone 13 (including Pro and Pro Max) and iPhone X and XS. However, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini are excluded (because of the smaller display), strangely enough, but also iPhone 11 and iPhone XR.
Apple took the iOS 16.1 beta as an opportunity to move the battery indicator back to another area: the lock screen. There it disappeared for a short time after the release of IOS 16 and the configurable lock screen it contained. Now it appears briefly every time the device starts charging and wakes up, as is correct. However, the always-on display of the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max still does not dominate the display.