iOS 18 ensures you’ll always know the time, even when your iPhone 15 is out of battery

iPhone 15 lock screen moon
The iPhone 15 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Many of us rely on our smartphones to know the time, rather than a watch, but with phones running out of battery relatively fast there's always a risk that we'll be unable to see the time when it might be important, and with iOS 18, Apple has a partial solution to this problem.

As spotted by Reddit users (via MacRumors), with iOS 18 your phone can show you the time in small text at the top-left corner of the screen, even when it has essentially run out of battery.

We say ‘essentially’ because of course this wouldn’t work if the battery was completely flat, but the iPhone’s Power Reserve feature holds back the last trickle of life to ensure that your iPhone is still findable, and to let you make contactless payments and access digital keys, even when there’s not enough battery left to use the other functions.

An image of the Power Reserve feature on iOS 18

(Image credit: Reddit / ant_t99)

Only on iPhone 15, for some reason

This Power Reserve feature isn’t new, but the addition of a clock to it is. Oddly, though, this appears to only work on the iPhone 15 line – so if you have an iPhone 14 or older, then even with iOS 18 you’ll have to do without access to a clock on your phone when it runs out of juice.

This is a strange limitation, as we can’t imagine what technical reason there would be for it. So it could just be a case of Apple holding back the feature for arbitrary reasons, or perhaps – this being a beta – the clock will be more widely available in Power Reserve once iOS 18 is finished.

In any case, it’s worth noting that adding the clock to Power Reserve probably increases the battery drain, albeit negligibly, which might mean your iPhone will truly run out of battery faster with this feature, though the difference there will probably be minor.

If you want to try out this feature for yourself – and you have a compatible phone – you can download the iOS 18 developer beta now, but for most people we’d suggest waiting at least until the public beta, or better yet until the finished release, which will probably land in September.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.