Skip to main content

Battery percentage finally returns to iOS 16 and it’s hideous

Battery percentage finally returns to iOS 16 and it’s hideous

/

Not like this, Apple

Share this story

A close-up image of the iPhone. The battery icon is full and has an unattractive 49 in the center of it.
Thanks, I hate it.
Photo by Victoria Song / The Verge

Apple released the iOS 16 beta 5 today and with it comes the long-awaited return of battery percentage to the status bar. Unfortunately, it’s ugly as hell and unreadable to boot.

Previously, battery percentage appeared to the left of the battery icon. However, Apple removed it starting with the iPhone X because there wasn’t enough space to cram it in thanks to the notch. To find out battery percentage, you currently have to swipe down to Control Center. In iOS 16, Apple’s “solved” that issue by having the figure appear within the battery icon.

(If you’ve updated to the latest version of the beta and don’t see it, that’s because it’s not enabled by default. To turn it on, you have to go to the Battery menu in Settings and flip on the Battery Percentage toggle. The option also appears to be unavailable on the iPhone 11, iPhone 12 Mini, and iPhone 13 Mini. This might change with future beta releases, but them’s the breaks for now.)

It looks like an eyesore — something you’d see on a phone circa 2011. From a distance, it kind of looks like the number on a sports jersey — and not in a good way. However, I recognize that’s my personal aesthetic taste. My biggest issue is this new battery percentage figure also has functional problems as well.

Because the number appears within the battery icon, it has to appear fully charged at all times for readability. So, even if you’ve got a paltry 10 percent battery left on your phone, the icon itself still looks full. In the few hours I’ve had this feature on, it’s admittedly caused my brain to short-circuit. A full battery icon that reads 55? That just borks the visual cues we’ve all become accustomed to.

The whole purpose of the battery icon is to understand quickly, at a glance, how much juice you have left. Unfortunately, the “full” battery plus the teeny-tiny numbers aren’t easy on the eyes. That’s especially true if you already have poor vision. It doesn’t help that it’s always been hard to read the status bar if you happen to use a light background. Of course, not everyone will have this issue. If you have 20/20 vision, it likely won’t bother you much. I happen to have severe astigmatism and nearsightedness and a few Focus Mode lock screens with light backgrounds. I can’t tell you how many times I misread the 50 percent battery figure as 5G instead.

This is not fine. I can’t read this at all.
This is not fine. I can’t read this at all.

Compare all this to the depleting battery icon. While the numberless icon doesn’t tell you exactly how much battery you have left, it’s so easy to figure out a rough ballpark. It’s an intuitive design that hardly needs any explaining. It’s small consolation, but at least the battery icon still changes colors when you enable low-power mode or plug in your phone. The former turns the icon yellow, while the latter turns it green with a lightning symbol next to it. (Charging also happens to make the battery icon and numbers bigger and, thus, way more readable! Why not do this for the regular mode, too?!)

It almost feels like Apple subjected us to this on purpose. The company is known for its meticulous control over product design — regardless of whether the changes it makes are what the people want. (RIP, headphone jack.) Apple decided with the iPhone X that we didn’t need battery percentage in the status bar. It gave us what it deemed to be a satisfactory solution with Control Center. But we all clamored for Apple to restore battery percentage in the top-right corner of our phones, and this is what we got.

I’ll likely go back to turning the battery percentage off. The depleting battery icon, after all, works in the vast majority of situations. And the next time my battery gets dangerously close to zero, I’ll heave a heavy sigh as I swipe down for Control Center, mourning what could’ve been.

Photography by Victoria Song / The Verge

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 25 Not just you

E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


A
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.