Every possible way to check battery life on your iPhone, iPad or Watch

19 November 2015, 10:00

Modern life isn’t compatible with traditional spoken blessings but I’d suggest the following as something to wish upon strangers:

May your gadgets always have sufficient charge.

Apple knows all about this, of course, and provides a couple of ways of checking a device’s charge other than having it in your hand and staring at it. There’s also a third-party app so useful that it’s a shoo-in for any Mac owner.

On the web
By visiting the iCloud.com website using a desktop browser (NOT Safari on your iPhone or iPad, alas) you can use Find my iPhone to discover the battery life of any iPads, iPhones or even MacBook laptops that are currently online – provided you’ve previously enrolled them with Find my iPhone, of course.

Click the Find iPhone icon at iCloud.com, then select your device from the Devices dropdown list (note: even though this is called Find iPhone, it finds other Apple hardware – Apple really should rename this tool!).

The device will then be located on the map but at the top right a box will appear showing details, and at the top right of that will be a battery icon showing the amount of charge. Hover the mouse cursor over this icon and a tooltip will appear showing the percentage charge.

You can check the battery life of your MacBook, iPhone or iPad. Sadly, you can’t (yet) check the battery life of your Apple Watch.

However, if you have Family Sharing setup you’ll also be able to check the battery level of family members’ devices too! Just select them from within the Devices list.

PRO TIP: It’s not quite true that you can’t visit iCloud.com using your iPhone or iPad. If you try to do so in Safari you’ll see nothing more than an info screen about setting up iCloud. However, if you use one of the “Flash” browsers, like Photon or Puffin, that use the cloud to render web pages, then you will be able to access the full iCloud – including the Find Phone feature.

Using the iPhone widget
iOS9 comes with a Notification Center widget that shows what the power level of the iPhone and associated Apple Watch are. Sadly, however, this widget isn’t available on the iPad. (EDIT: Apparently, the iPad Pro does feature the Battery widget.)

To make the widget appear, open the Notification Center by swiping down when the iPhone is unlocked, and then scroll to the bottom and tap the Edit button. Then tap the green plus button alongside the Batteries heading under the Do Not Include section of the widget listing.

Click Done at the top right when you’ve finished. The widget will then appear in the list whenever you bring down the Notification Center and tap the Today tab.

On your Mac
It’s not a built-in app but the superb and free iBetterCharge adds a menu bar icon to the Mac that lets you see at a glance what the battery levels of your iPhone and iPad are (but not, it seems, the Apple Watch – maybe this will arrive with a future update?).

If your devices don’t show-up on the menu when iBetterCharge starts then you may need to click Add New Device on the app menu, and attach your device via its USB cable.

You can set the app to show a notification message when the battery life drops down to a certain level. By default this is 20%, but you can adjust it by clicking Preferences > Notifications on the app’s menu. You can also configure an alert to appear or sound when the device is fully charged.

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