2 iPhone Features You Can Use Even If the Phone Is Off and the Battery’s Dead

Even if you’re out of juice, clever engineers have ensured you can still use these two essential features.
Features You Can Still Use With a Dead Battery Credit: boyhey / Shutterstock
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The battery life of the iPhone has always been a subject of debate. Some people believe that a bigger battery would help the device so much, while others think Apple’s made its software and hardware so power-efficient; the iPhone works well with the current battery it has. 

One thing’s for sure, Apple makes the most of the battery, no matter how big or small it is. Even if your iPhone dies because it doesn’t have enough battery, there are still a couple of things you can do with it. 

That’s right; your iPhone is still semi-functional even if the battery runs out. Of course, you can’t do much with it, but there are a couple of features you can still use even if the iPhone’s battery is completely dry.

You Can Still Use Find My to Locate Your iPhone

The Find My app has become an incredibly powerful tool to locate your iPhone, AirPods, and even your keys with the help of the AirTag. 

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And believe it or not, the Find My app is so powerful that you can use it to locate your iPhone even if it is turned off or doesn’t have any battery left. 

That’s right, even if someone steals your iPhone and turns it off, you can still track it with the Find My app. What’s more, Apple confirms that even if your iPhone has no battery left, you’ll still have the chance to find it with Find My for several more hours. 

Another cool thing that’s worth mentioning is that if Activation Lock is enabled, you can still use Find My even if someone factory resets your iPhone settings. 

Express Card Transactions

Even if the battery is dead, you can still use your iPhone to do a few card transactions when something called Express Mode is turned on.

This means that, even if you run out of battery at the end of the day, you can still use your iPhone to access your car keys, home keys, a payment, or a transit card. Supported iPhone devices can use this feature with:

  • A payment or transit card designated as the Express Transit card
  • Student ID cards with Express Mode turned on
  • Car keys with Express Mode turned on
  • Home keys with Express Mode turned on
  • Hospitality or Corporate access cards with Express Mode turned on

How does it work? Apple uses wireless technology to perform card transactions on supported iPhones. You can press the side button (or the Home button on the iPhone SE 2nd generation), and you should see a text indicating that Express Cards are available to use. 

iPhones That Support Express Mode

As we mentioned, this feature is only available on supported iPhones, but what iPhones are they? Here’s the list of devices that can use Express Mode:

  • iPhone SE (2nd generation and later)
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max

As you can see, there are a lot of them, so chances are you’ll be able to use this feature. Express Mode should be enabled by default on your device, but if it isn’t, you can turn it on like this:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Wallet app.
  2. Tap the pass or key you want to use.
  3. Tap the More button.
  4. Turn Express Mode on or off if you see the option. 
  5. If you don’t see this option, tap on Express Mode.
  6. From the menu, you can tap a pass or key to turn Express Mode on or tap None to turn Express Mode off.
  7. Use your Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode to authenticate your device.

How Can Your iPhone Still Work With No Battery?

Using these features when you’re iPhone’s battery is completely drained might seem like magic, but it’s actually a clever tactic from Apple to keep your iPhone “available” for these situations.

Turns out, your iPhone doesn’t completely turn off when it runs out of battery. Now it enters a state called power reserve. 

This means that your iPhone still has a battery, but not enough to be completely turned on and functional. Instead, it works for the situations we listed before.

However, one thing to note is that your iPhone needs to have at least iOS 15 installed for both of these features to work. Find My will work on any iPhone with iOS 15, meaning you can still use it to find your older iPhone 6S. 

On the other hand, if you want to use Express Mode, you’ll need to have a supported iPhone with iOS 15. So older iPhone models like the iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, or iPhone 8 won’t be able to use this feature even if iOS 15 is available. 

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