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A dead iPhone battery is a calamity, right? You lose access to all your apps, all notifications, all features, and connections with your Apple Watch – hell, you can’t even use the flashlight anymore.
But that red battery of death logo doesn’t block all iPhone capabilities: Newer iPhones automatically keep a sliver of battery life for emergencies, which enables a couple of extra-important capabilities that can help you out in a battery crisis. Here’s what you can rely on.
Note: Apple has improved or added these capabilities over time. They work best if you have updated to at least iOS 15 and have one of the recent iPhones from the past few years. Otherwise, we can’t guarantee that these tricks will work.
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You Can Locate Your iPhone with Find My
Find My can help you locate all kinds of Apple devices (and friends, for that matter), and it even syncs across your devices. But there’s one extra feature that Find My has which can help even if your iPhone battery is completely dead: It’s called Send Last Location.
Why your iPhone completely shuts down from a dead battery, it sends one last notification to Find My first to note where the iPhone currently is.
This way, you can log into Find My from another Apple device and see the last location of your iPhone. It’s a good solution if you lost your iPhone yesterday on low battery life and still need to find it, even though there’s a really good chance that the battery is dead by now.
If you don’t have any other Apple devices, that’s okay: You can log into your account at iCloud.com and find the same capabilities there.
The key to this capability is that you have to enable all the right settings. Your iPhone has to be turned on in Find My, and the Find My Network feature has to be enabled, then the Send Last Location feature has to be enabled. Add all those together and you can track down your iPhone for around 24 hours after it shuts down (even emergency reserves of power have their limits).
Use Apple Digital Keys and Other NFC Features
The emergency reserve of power in the iPhone has another important use for those who rely on their iPhones to interact with other devices and complete everyday tasks. Part of this power goes to the NFC chip in the iPhone, so it can still send important data.
This helps in several ways. First, even with a dead battery, you can still use Digital Keys that can unlock compatible cars, smart door locks, hotels that have partnered with Apple, and more. That allows you to get inside places you really need to be, even if the battery was dead.
Second, this also works with passes and ID or payment cards that you may have in your Apple Wallet. The NFC chip can allow you to commute, unlock your dorm, and pay important fees.
The catch is that this ability is also limited in just how long it can work. You have only several hours to make these connections before the iPhone won’t be able to do it anymore.