Near the end of 2017, Apple officially announced they were intentionally “throttling” battery performance on older phone models. Naturally, this resulted in a sudden hike in iPhone battery replacement numbers across many models.
This was done predominantly because of the lithium ion batteries that all iPhone’s came equipped with. And while these batteries are commonplace in most if not all smartphones on the market, age can slow them down markedly. Of course, when we say “age” we don’t mean in years but in charge cycles.
As users burned through these charge cycles, many noticed their iPhones began to unexpectedly shut down despite their battery readings stating they had plenty of juice left. In order to combat that, Apple delivered a patch that slowed down battery performance on their old models.
“the iPhone’s battery is designed to retain up to at least 80% of its original capacity through 500 complete charge cycles.”
Naturally, this worked to curb the slew of sudden shutdowns but not without, expectedly, battery life dropping across the board.
This was a necessary maneuver for the tech goliath but the problem comes from the fact that they didn’t tell their patrons this throttling was going on. As a result, many Apple users ended up buying new phones thinking their old ones were unsalvageable when all they really needed was an iPhone battery replacement. Fortunately, 11 million customers were able to swap the batteries on their old phones at a discounted price through Apple’s initiative to apologize for their misstep.
That’s all well and good (not really), but where does that leave those of us who need to know whether a replacement is really necessary now that the discount has run its course?
Knowing when to swap a phone’s battery and when to toss the whole thing in the bin is a must. Making that distinction can make the difference between paying 70$ for a new battery and throwing hundreds at your nearest Apple store for a new iPhone.
When Do You Need an iPhone Battery Replacement?
According to Apple, the iPhone’s battery is designed to retain up to at least 80% of its original capacity through 500 complete charge cycles. Keeping this in mind, there are two instances that should alert you to the fact that you need an iPhone battery replacement.
The first being your phone no longer being able to carry at least 80% of its capacity and the second being exceeding 500 charge cycles.
Unless you’ve got some seriously compulsive behavior, you probably aren’t counting the number of times you charge your phone back up to full. Fortunately for those with better things to do, iPhones now allow you to check your model’s maximum capacity by doing a little digging into your settings.
By opening up your settings and going into “battery” then “battery health”, you can get an exact readout of your phone’s maximum capacity. If it’s 80% or higher, you’re in the green. Anything lower and your battery has more than likely gone through 500 cycles and you’ll need a replacement.
If the battery health page also gives you a message reading “This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power.”, that’s a pretty cut and dry way of saying “get your battery replaced”.
Lastly, you’ll always want to keep an eye out for unexpected shutdowns. If your phone is ever suddenly blacking out, you’re more than likely experiencing poor battery performance.
When Do You Need to Replace Your iPhone?
If you’re a compulsive shopper, it can be hard to differentiate between wanting a new phone and needing a new phone. The distinction becomes even harder to make when models like the 6s make only small changes on the previous model only serious techies would care about.
Of course, knowing when to upgrade phones is mostly up to your discretion, so paying attention to your unique needs is never a bad idea. Those with butterfingers who don’t like using heavy duty cases, for example, might want to make the jump to newer models with stronger glass while they wait for self-healing glass to enter the mainstream.
Photographers, on the other hand, could end up appreciating the 7MP True Depth Camera with digital zoom the XR, Xs, and Xs Max provide.
Secondly, while replacing batteries can surely increase the lifespan of your phone, sticking with ol’ reliable becomes nigh impossible once its parts and components are no longer being manufactured. If the company’s moved on, so should you. You can still get some solid use from older models, but when an iPhone battery replacement program is no longer provided for your model, it might be time to accept that your phone is obsolete and needs to go the way of the flip phone.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to rectify Apple’s miscommunication nor can we take back spending money on a new phone we didn’t really need. All we can do is educate ourselves and save a little money in the future. Or switch to Android.