The iPhone. A revolutionary device that combines more than a century of innovation into a pocket-sized library of every tool and document you could ever dream up. It’s built from the highest grade materials, designed by some of the best engineers in the world, and is backed by a brand that is as reliable as it is pretentious.
But it can’t last longer than two years…
In this post, we’ll explain why the iPhone’s battery is its biggest weakness and how you can work to make it last as long as possible – which will, in turn, help your iPhone last as long as possible.
Let’s get started!
How long do iPhone batteries last?
As a general rule of thumb, iPhone batteries last two years from the date they were purchased. This may vary a bit depending on how many hours you spend on your iPhone each day, but you should expect your battery to noticeably suffer after two years of use.
Without going into a full breakdown on the science of batteries, the thing to understand is that iPhone batteries (which are lithium-ion) are destined to expire, and (at least as far as we know) there is no way around this. This is because batteries work by performing a chemical reaction that creates and stores energy, powering your device. After two years, that chemical reaction grows so weak that your battery becomes nearly useless.
“Nearly”, because your battery doesn’t technically “die” after two years – it just reaches 80% of its original capacity. While that may not sound too bad, that 20% that disappears over two years can cause your iPhone to lag, randomly shut down, and act erratically. If you’ve ever kept an iPhone for two years and felt like it was quickly falling apart, it is almost surely your battery, and not the iPhone itself, that is failing.
How to extend your iPhone battery life and avoid 80% battery capacity
Now, that’s not too tricky of a problem to solve. Paying Apple to replace your battery only takes about $50 and an hour at the Apple Store, so if you don’t mind making that trip every few years, you can go ahead and start reading another article.
If you’re like me, however, you want to get the most out of your iPhone’s battery. There are two reasons for this. First, it’s frugal; as much as we enjoy flaunting the latest iPhones, they’re certainly not cheap, and getting them to last a little longer is a pro-wallet move.
Second, it’s more environmentally sustainable. Unfortunately, batteries are one of the worst things you can dispose of. They’re only 5% recyclable and the chemicals inside them can damage the landscape. I don’t think anyone likes the mental image of millions of iPhone batteries hurting our good planet, so it’s a fairly compelling reason to go easy on your battery and make it last as long as possible.
Below, we’ve put together five ways you can increase your iPhone battery’s lifespan. There are more ways out there, but these are the simplest and most impactful ways that we’ve found.
1. Avoid extreme temperatures
If you live in a mild climate, you can probably skip to Tip #2. But if you happen to live in a humid, hot, sunny area, or a snowy, desolate, frostbitten land, then this tip is something that will be useful to you every year.
As mentioned before, iPhone batteries work via a chemical reaction. And if you remember from chemistry, temperature plays a big role in how chemical reactions play out. Your iPhone battery is no exception to this – when the weather is extreme, you will notice it affecting your iPhone.
iPhone even has a warning for this built into it that pops up whenever your iPhone is getting too hot. When your iPhone gets too cold, it just shuts down. It doesn’t take a chemist to realize that this is not super healthy for your battery.
The best way to avoid these temperatures is to leave your phone inside your house on summer and winter days and to avoid leaving your phone in the car for long periods (cars act like ovens and can do serious damage to your phone in a short amount of time).
2. Avoid 0% and 100%
Another common mistake that too many of us make (myself included) is letting your phone’s battery reach 0% or 100%. Both of these are bad for the overall lifespan of your iPhone’s battery, despite an old smartphone myth that says letting your phone die before charging it to 100% will help the battery retain its “memory” (this is no longer true as iPhone uses a different type of battery these days).
This hurts your battery in a few ways. First, it’s stressful. When you charge your iPhone to 100% and then leave it on the charger, you’re forcing the battery to work at max capacity. Think of it like a laundry machine that is so full you can just barely close the lid. Not a great idea.
Second, letting your iPhone reach 0% puts into a hibernation mode of sorts, which can cause your battery capacity to reach 80% much faster. This is why smartphones that sit in storage for a long time aren’t able to hold a charge when you retrieve them.
And third, charging warms up your smartphone. The longer you charge your phone, the hotter it gets, so charging it from 0% to 100% is less than ideal. Of course, there are situations where you need to charge your phone to 100%, but you should avoid this as much as possible. 80% is considered the sweet spot.
3. Charge your iPhone in short bursts
Building on Tip #2 is charging your iPhone in short bursts. This is a simple way to avoid letting your phone reach 0% or 100%, as you will leave your phone on the charger for shorter periods.
If you’re like most people, you probably charge your phone once or twice a day, leaving it on the charger before bed and charging it while at work. While this is convenient, it’s not too battery-friendly.
The best way to charge your iPhone and preserve its battery is to charge it in frequent, short bursts throughout the day. According to Battery University, you should try to only charge your iPhone 10% at a time, only placing it back on the charger after you’ve depleted another 10% of battery.
4. Adjust your iPhone settings
These next two tips focus on software instead of hardware. They’re a bit more complicated to set up at first but once done, you won’t have to mess with these settings anymore. It’s a one-time setup for big results.
In the Settings app on your iPhone, there is a Battery section where you can enable Optimized Battery Charging, which will use Siri to intelligently adjust your phone’s charging speed while it’s plugged in, preserving the battery’s lifespan.
This setting is super helpful, but it’s far from the only setting you can take advantage of. Other settings include enabling Reduce Motion, disabling Background App Refresh, disabling Raise To Wake, disconnecting Bluetooth devices you no longer use, and using WiFi instead of cellular data. You can find each of these options by using the search bar at the top of the Settings app.
And finally, keeping your iPhone updated to the latest version of iOS will also provide you with the most optimum battery lifespan.
5. Keep track of your battery usage statistics
This is another helpful way to track your battery’s lifespan and take steps to improve it. Start by revisiting the Battery section in the Settings app. On this screen you will see a chart showing the change in your battery level over time, allowing you to pinpoint what times of day you use up the most battery.
Additionally, you can view which apps consume the most amount of battery. Some of these will be expected, like games and social media, but you might find that some apps are using significant portions of battery even though you don’t use them for very much of the day.
By going through these apps and setting Screen Time limits for them (or just deleting them altogether) you can quickly reduce the speed at which you deplete your charge, which will lengthen the lifespan of your iPhone battery.
When should an iPhone battery be replaced?
If your iPhone is around two years old and you’ve started to notice lagging, skipping, random shutdowns, and other odd behavior, then it’s probably time to replace your battery. You can do this fairly easily and for not too high of a price by stopping at your local Apple Store.
To be sure that your iPhone needs a new battery, open the Settings app, tap the Battery section, tap Battery Health, and check your Maximum Capacity. If this number is near or below 80%, then it’s time to replace your battery.
Replacing an iPhone battery may seem like a hassle, but it’s nothing compared to replacing your iPhone. Most users don’t realize that they can easily get two or more years of use out of an iPhone by simply replacing the battery after the first two years. This solves most performance problems, allows your iPhone to accept updates without any issues, and saves you a ton of money over the years.
And that’s that! We hope these tips lengthen the lifespan of your iPhone battery and understand the inner workings of your smartphone a bit better. Thanks for reading!
How long do iPhone batteries last?
The average lifespan for an iPhone battery is two years, or 400 complete charges. This is the reason why we typically think of iPhones as needing to be replaced every two years when it is usually just the battery that needs replacing.
How much does it cost to replace an iPhone battery?
If your iPhone battery’s Maximum Capacity is below 80% and your iPhone is less than a year old, then Apple will replace your battery for free. If your iPhone battery is below 80% capacity and you’re covered by AppleCare+, Apple will also replace your battery for free. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for it out-of-pocket.
The out-of-pocket costs for replacing an iPhone battery are:
- iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11: $69 (includes Max and Pro variations)
- All other eligible models: $49
How to replace an iPhone battery
It is not recommended that you replace an iPhone battery at home unless you know what you’re doing. You can replace an iPhone battery with a professional by scheduling an appointment with your local Apple Store, mailing your iPhone to Apple to be repaired, or hiring a third-party repair service.
How to dispose of an iPhone battery
When you replace your iPhone battery through Apple, your old battery is recycled by Apple by default. Additionally, you can recycle your Apple devices with Apple for free, in which case your iPhone battery will also be properly disposed of. Otherwise, you can look for local electronics recycling services that will take batteries from you, usually for free. Many of these services also accept old and damaged charging cables, portable batteries, and other bits of hardware.
Do magnets hurt iPhone batteries?
Magnets do not hurt iPhone batteries as lithium-ion batteries (which are used in iPhone) are not made of magnetic materials. This is why you can charge your devices wirelessly without damaging them – wireless Qi charging uses magnetic fields to charge your smartphone.