YouTube’s battery drain problem on iOS devices is now fixed

Google confirms it has now addressed an issue that caused the YouTube app to drain the battery excessively when running on iOS devices, even when the app was idle in the background. In some cases, users reported the device would even become heated as a result of the problem, but not everyone experienced this issue.

It’s unclear to what extent the issue affected the combined iOS and YouTube user base, as reports varied. One user said that watching a 15-minute clip degraded usage by over 10 percent, noted one report. Another said that battery life on the iPhone X dropped by 20 percent in over 30 minutes, according to a different report. Many others complained more generally about the problem on Twitter and Reddit.

But TechCrunch editor Matthew Panzarino, who reviewed the iPhone X here in-depth, watches a lot of YouTube and didn’t experience the issue himself.

To what extent users were affected is likely related to app version, however. We understand the problem impacted users on YouTube versions 12.42 and 12.43, specifically, regardless of which version of iOS they were running, or what iOS device they ran the YouTube app on. In other words, it wasn’t just a problem for those who had upgraded to the newest iOS 11 mobile operating system, as some reports had said, nor did it only affect those with Apple’s flagship iPhone, the iPhone X.

YouTube addressed users’ complaints on Twitter earlier this month, promising a fix was on the way.


That fix actually rolled out in version 12.44 of the app, which launched on November 14th, Google tells us. But the company didn’t confirm the fix publicly until the release notes in version 12.45, which arrived today. (That’s why it’s only now being reported.)

Given that video watching is one of the most popular activities on mobile devices, the issue was a notable problem for those who were affected.

Google would not say what caused the problem in the first place, only that it was now resolved.