iPhone and Apple Watch suddenly experiencing battery drain? Here's the WatchOS 7 and iOS 14 fix

iPhone and Apple Watch suddenly experiencing battery drain? Here's the WatchOS 7 and iOS 14 fix
(Image credit: Future)

If you’ve been experiencing poor battery life or issues with the fitness apps on your iPhone or Apple Watch, then it could be due to a fault in the iOS 14 and WatchOS7 operating systems which were introduced last month. Fortunately, there is a fix. Apple has posted a new support document on its website that outlines the issues you could be having, and how you go about fixing them.

iOS 14 launched last month, bringing a host of improvements to the Apple ecosystem, but it has also been causing a ton of issues for some Apple device owners. The main issue that seems to be plaguing Apple users is increased battery drain on both the iPhone and Apple Watch, but there are a list of other problems. 

  • Workout route maps disappearing from the Fitness app
  • Health related apps like Heart Rate and Activity failing to open on Apple Watch.
  • Health and/or Fitness apps not opening on iPhone.
  • Missing environmental sound levels and headphone audio level data on Health app of Apple Watch.
  • Increased battery drain on iPhone and Apple Watch.

These issues are typically only affecting users who have both an newer Apple Watch, like the Apple Watch Series 5, and paired iOS device, such as an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro, and most of the symptoms are linked to data loss and inaccurate reporting of data from the watch to your phone.

So what should you do if your WatchOS 7 and iOS 14 is broken on your device?

How to fix iOS 14 and WatchOS 7

This is a rather involved set of instructions but luckily Apple has broken it down into easy to follow on its website, but we’ll list them here too. First you need to unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone. You can do this by: 

  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Select My Watch, then All Watches.
  • Now select the Info button next to the watch that is having issues.
  • Now select the Unpair Apple Watch option.

iPhone SE

(Image credit: Apple)

Don’t worry about losing your data and settings - your iPhone creates a backup of your Apple Watch before it unpairs. Now you need to verify your iCloud settings and make a backup. 

  • Open the settings app on your iPhone
  • Select your name, then select iCloud
  • Make sure that the Health option is turned on (if it’s off, turn it on)
  • Now click iCloud Backup
  • Again, check that iCloud Backup is turned on.
  • Now click Back Up Now and wait for it to create a back up.

Now for the scary part - it’s time to erase all content and settings from your iPhone. Don’t worry, we just made a backup on the iCloud, so you won’t lose anything. We just need to wipe the data and then reinstall it. It’s like that bit in Jurassic Park, only hopefully you don’t get eaten by a raptor like Sam Jackson did. 

  • Open the settings app
  • Select general, then hit Reset.
  • Now select Erase All Content and Settings.

Assuming all went as planned and you didn’t have a run in with a prehistoric lizard, you’re now ready to restore your iPhone and Apple Watch from the backup we just created. 

  • Your phone may have turned itself off or restarted itself during the procedure. Either turn it on or restart your iPhone and then select restore from the iCloud Backup option.
  • Once the restore is complete, open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Select start pairing, and pair your Watch back up to your iPhone.
  • Now select Restore from Backup and choose the backup we made earlier.

(Image credit: Apple)

And that’s it, you’re done. This should repair the issues you have been having with your iPhone and Apple Watch. If you’re having further problems, this may be caused by a different issue and we’d recommend contacting Apple or visiting an Apple store to get the problem diagnosed. 

Which Apple devices use iOS 14 and WatchOS 7? 

Almost all Apple smart devices work with iOS 14, so it’s very likely that if you’re using an Apple device, you’re on iOS 14 unless you’re still rocking the original iPhone (in which case, seriously, treat yourself to one of the best smartphones, you’ve made it last long enough). The following devices use iOS 14:

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

WatchOS 7 is a bit less ubiquitous, so there’s a reasonable chance that if you have one of the early Apple Watches then you’re safe from this bug (but only because your device doesn’t support the features that caused the issue - again, we’d recommend upgrading to one of the best smartwatches if you’re still using a Series 1 or Series 2 Apple Watch. The following devices use WatchOS 7: 

  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 6
Ian Stokes

Ian Stokes is the Tech Editor here at Top Ten Reviews. He has extensive experience in tech and games journalism, with work published on IGN, Kotaku UK, Waypoint, GamesRadar, Trusted Reviews, and many more. You'll find him covering everything from smartphones and home computers to 3D printers and headphones. He's also our resident cocktail expert.