Apple brings back battery percentage display in iOS 16 release, with disappointing results

Apple dropped the percentage battery level display a while ago, banking on simplifying the iOS interface. Only the decision was not well received by users, and the company was forced to return to the previous display format.

It’s just that bringing back a feature considered commonplace to competing products isn’t as simple as it sounds, with Apple finding it necessary to reinvent the feature. That’s why on Apple phones updated to at least the iOS 16 beta 5, the numerical battery indicator appears out of sync with the visual one.

Specifically, the battery charge level is permanently illustrated as full, regardless of the actual percentage illustrated numerically. Thus, you have a choice between graphical illustration of the charge level (the default setting) and a percentage display superimposed over an indicator that appears to permanently illustrate full charge. Assuming you’re used to either display, the alternative setting will seem completely foreign to you, the two seeming completely unrelated.

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Granted, we’re still dealing with an iOS beta, with Apple having some breathing room to find a solution that doesn’t generate quite so much frustration. Apparently, Apple’s engineers think so too, with the percentage battery display coming as an optional setting, leaving users to decide which display mode they can best live with.

The whole purpose of the numeric display battery icon is to make it easy to “read” from a glance at the remaining charge level. However, under Apple’s new formula, the battery always looks “full” while the numeric display is rather hard to read. And since the size of the battery symbol is already miniature, it doesn’t help much to double the battery indicator with a percentage that contradicts the visual indicator.

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For now, it’s not certain that Apple will move forward with this presentation formula, and there’s a good chance that the percentage-display battery indicator will appear in a revised format, meeting user expectations much better.

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