iOS 16's battery update won’t come to smaller iPhones

iPhone 13 mini
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The latest Apple software is finally available for iPhone users, but the long-awaited return of battery percentage in the status bar won't be coming to those of you with smaller smartphones.

Following the announcement and release of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, Apple also released iOS 16 which brought with it numerous updates and features like customizable lock screens, an undo button in iMessage, and (most importantly) the return of battery percentages in the status bar.

Older iPhones used to always display the battery’s percentage next to the battery icon, but when the iPhone X was released the number was removed because the new notch style didn't leave enough room for it. 

Now, five years after the notch was introduced, Apple's brightest software developers have finally come up with a solution – the battery percentage will sit inside the battery icon. 

Unfortunately, according to Apple's official support page those of you with an iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, and iPhone 13 mini will be excluded from this part of the iOS 16 update, though Apple hasn’t said why these specific models are being left out.

iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 is missing out on one of iOS 16's most requested features (Image credit: Future)

The mini iPhones make the most sense: their 5.4-inch displays are pretty small, and even with the change to how battery percentage is displayed they may still not be large enough to display the details clearly.

But that doesn't explain the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 as both of these smartphones have larger 6.1-inch display – that's the same screen size as the iPhone 12 which isn't exempt from the update. Here we suspect it could be something to do with the screen's resolution – the lower res iPhone 11 and iPhone XR may not have enough pixels to clearly display the new battery icon – but we’re not 100% certain.

We've reached out to Apple to find out more about why these iPhones won’t be able to display battery percentage, and if we hear anything back we'll be sure to update this piece.

Thankfully if you're using an iPhone 8 or later you should still be able to enjoy most of the benefits that iOS 16 brings... though if you want to enjoy them all you may need to upgrade your smaller device to one of the biggest and best iPhones that Apple produces.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.