Some people will try to tell you that the new Lock Screens are the best thing in iOS 16, or the Focus Filters, or the iCloud Shared Photo Library. But clearly the most important change is this: Apple has brought back the numerical battery indicator.
Ok, we’re being a bit flippant here – but this battery icon change is legitimately one of the most-requested iOS features of the past few years. Users have been crying out to know their exact battery percentage ever since the numbers were removed in 2017 along with the release of the iPhone X.
That’s because the introduction of ‘the notch’ meant a smaller status bar and thus less space to fit battery information. Apple’s solution was to show a battery icon permanently, with the exact percentage revealed with a swipe from the top-right of the screen. Not a big deal, perhaps, but plenty of people have missed having that info at a glance.
With iOS 16 comes an alternative: head to Settings > Battery and you can now toggle on Battery Percentage to change the status bar design. This overlays the numerical battery value on top of the existing icon for easy viewing.
Note that this is only available on certain iPhones, so if the option doesn’t appear in Settings, sadly it’s not possible on your device!
Some users aren’t keen on the implementation, as the icon remains full when you have the numbers visible – even when you’re not at 100%. You can see here exactly how Apple has chosen to display various percentages, including Low Power Mode (yellow) and low battery warnings (red).
It’s a little odd to see a full battery icon even when at 42%, for example, but it doesn’t take long to get used to reading the numbers again instead of scanning the bar itself.
For such a small change, there has been a lot written about it online, with some app developers even going so far as to design their own alternatives. But whatever you think of the new battery indicator, it’s definitely a sign of progress that Apple now lets users choose which style they prefer.