iPhone battery not working to your satisfaction? Here's how to replace an iPhone battery, including your consumer rights, warranty and support options, cost and more.
Lithium-ion batteries, which are used in all mobile computing devices, inevitably become less efficient at storing charge as they age. After a few years, the battery life of any smartphone, tablet or laptop will drain faster than when it was brand new. A rough estimate would be that a battery’s maximum capacity drains by 10 percent each year.
The iPhone is no exception. But unlike many phones, the iPhone was designed by Apple as a sealed unit, so you can’t open it easily and replace the battery with a new one.
There are reasons for this restriction. It’s why there are no ugly gaps in the iPhone’s chassis, and it reduces the chance of dirt or moisture getting inside. It also allows Apple more freedom to lay out internal components, to make the iPhone as thin and light as possible.
Although this means you can’t simply buy a new one and install it yourself, your iPhone’s battery can still be replaced if it’s not lasting as long as it used to.
How to get your iPhone battery replaced
Apple offers a battery-replacement service, which can be performed in an Apple store, arranged through your network provider if your iPhone is on contract, or by sending your iPhone to them directly. The service is free if your phone is within its one-year warranty, or if you have an Applecare protection plan.
If your phone isn’t covered by any form of warranty, Apple will still replace the battery, at a cost of £55, with a £7 fee for shipping. You can read more about this service on Apple's relevant support page.
And if you’re concerned you’ll be without a phone after you send it off, for £29, Apple will swap your old iPhone with a new (or like-new) handset while your battery is replaced, using its Express Replacement Service, which you can read about at the same support page linked above.
The major benefit of going to Apple for a replacement battery is 100 percent certainty that it will be compatible with the iPhone, and installed by a certified engineer.
How to replace an iPhone battery yourself
But with the right tools, you can open your iPhone and install a new battery yourself, which are available from many sources, such as ebay. Be warned, you have to be absolutely certain the battery you order is the right one for your particular iPhone, and once you’ve opened the phone’s casing, you’ll certainly void any warranty, and Apple states it will not replace batteries in phones that have been tampered with.
For detailed instructions, have a look at PC Advisor’s guide to replacing an iPhone battery.
How to get your iPhone battery replaced by a third-party repair firm
Another option is to speak to a third-party iPhone repair specialist, who often charge a lot less than Apple for the replacement service.
Some repair specialists are better than others, so we strongly recommend reading comments and feedback from other customers first. But a quote we got from Animacs, a highly reputable Peterborough-based repair centre, was just £10 to replace an iPhone 4S battery, which includes labour costs.
In addition to the battery-replacement service, Apple offers some tips on its website to maximise the lifespan of your iPhone’s battery.
In particular, it mentions that temperatures above 35 degrees can permanently shorten an iPhone’s battery life, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning a holiday to a country with a warm climate. It’s also recommended that at regular (monthly) intervals, you allow the battery to fully discharge, before charging it to maximum again.