All rechargeable batteries lose their effectiveness over time and sadly the battery for your iPhone is no exception. As the battery gets older it may start to require charging more frequently, hold charge less well, or even start to shut down your phone unexpectedly.
Once your iPhone’s battery passes the 500 complete charges point it’s suggested that it should be replaced. Unfortunately iOS doesn’t indicate how many times your current battery has been charged, but there are some other ways to check up on your battery’s health.
In early 2018 Apple issued an iOS software update with new features that "give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance".
Following the release of iOS 11.3 it is now easy to see how well your battery is performing and whether it needs replacing. This feature was also enhanced in iOS 12.
Wondering why Apple felt it necessary to reveal this battery information? Earlier in 2018 Apple was criticised when it was discovered that the company was slowing down older iPhones in an attempt to stop shutdowns caused by failing batteries. In reaction to the PR crisis, Apple reduced the price of replacing an older iPhone battery, and volunteered to make it easier to stop this throttling behaviour in a future update to iOS. You can read about the accusations that Apple has been slowing down iPhones and the UK and US Apple iPhone battery replacement pricing details here.
The deadline for applying for Apple's scheme whereby you can get the battery changed for £25/$29 is looming. You have until 1 December 2018 to get your battery changed or you may have to pay more.
How to check if your iPhone battery may need replacing
- Go to Settings > Battery
- Tap on Battery Health
- You will see what the ‘maximum capacity’ of you battery is - this is a measure of your battery capacity relative to when the battery was new. The older your iPhone, the lower this number is likely to be. Apple advices that “Lower capacity may result in fewer hours of usage between charges.”
- Below that is an indication of the battery’s ‘Peak Performance Capacity’. If your iPhone battery is running well you will see a message that “Your battery is currently supporting normal peak performance”.
- However, if your iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver peak power, Performance Management may have been applied - and if that is the case you will see a message that: “This iPhone has experiences an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again.
- Next to the above statement you will see Disable… If you tap on the option you can stop the performance of your iPhone from being throttled, although you may experience an unexpected shutdown next time the battery is under pressure.
- You may see an additional warning that “Your battery’s health is significantly degraded. An Apple Authorized Service Provider can replace the battery to restore full performance and capacity.” And a link to More about service options…
It is possible that your battery may have a low capacity but that the Performance Management hasn't been applied. This may indicate simply that you haven't been in a situation where an unexpected shutdown could have taken place. However, if you were to play a graphically intensive game, while the battery was below 20 percent, the setting could be triggered.
If you see a message that your battery health is degraded, you can continue to use your phone, but you may experience reduced charge capacity and some slight stability issues while your battery is on lower charge. Having your battery seen to by an official service technician is the best way to proceed, which may result in getting a new battery or having your current one fixed if there are any issues.
Here are some indicators that your iPhone might require a new battery: dimmer backlight than normal; lower speaker volume; stuttering screen when scrolling; frame-rate reduction in some game apps; and longer app-launch times.
If you’re covered by AppleCare then you can actully have your battery replaced at no additional cost, assuming it currently only holds 80% or less of its original charge.
If you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, you qualify for Apple's battery replacement program, whereby the company will change your battery for £25 during 2018. However, wait times are currently long, so we suggest that you wait until later in 2018 before getting your battery changed - but don't miss the deadline. Read more here: How to get Apple to replace your old iPhone battery.
How to maximise battery life on an iPhone
If you want to make sure your battery lasts as long as possible until you have a chance to get it replaced, then try the following suggestions:
- Turn off Location Services.
- Disable Background App Refresh.
- Make sure Auto-Brightness is enabled.
- Use Airplane Mode when you don’t need to be connected to the internet.
We have lots more tips about saving battery life on your iPhone here.
If you’re really desperate to get some more mileage out of your iPhone, then perhaps consider a Smart Battery case. These protect your phone like a regular case, but can also recharge your phone when you need it. We have a collection of the best iPhone battery cases here.
Apple notes that the number of times a battery has been charged is "not the only factors in this chemical ageing process" - "device use" and "leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment" can cause a battery to age faster.