iPhone Battery: a reader asks…
My 2+ year-old iPhone 6 is having real problems. The battery works ok till I get to around 60%, and then it drops down to the red almost instantly. If I don’t plug in it will shut off minutes later. When I plug it back in, the battery meter jumps back up into the green almost instantly. What’s going on?
This problem started appearing in iOS 9.x and became much more widespread in iOS 10.x So far, Apple has been dragging their feet on acknowledging a problem, and only admits that there’s a problem in a few iPhone 6s models. As each update to iOS comes out, we all hope that Apple will (at least) quietly fix the problem, but so far no joy.
Here’s my guess: What could be happening is that some cells in your aging battery are no longer working, but the operating system doesn’t recognize that fact and so incorrectly estimates the battery life available to you. Then when your battery usage gets to the point where it needs to tap into those bad cells, the phone ‘realizes’ that they aren’t any good and drops your meter accordingly. Of course, Apple is mum on this, they are famous for not ‘fessing up to problems until they have a solution, and sometimes not even then.
Your choices are to always remain near a charger, to get yourself a battery booster, to replace the iPhone. I vote for the booster option, and I like the Mophie JuicePack. This is like a case for your iPhone and does add some bulk to it. That bulk is primarily on the backside, which is where the Mophie’s battery is located.
There’s a button on the back to check the charge level of the battery, and a switch to turn on or off the supplemental charging that the JuicePack provides to your iPhone. The side buttons (sleep/wake, mute and volume controls) are there in their usual spots, and there’s a cutout for the camera and flash on the back.
One thing that’s mildly annoying, the JuicePack doesn’t use the Lightning connector to charge itself, it uses MicroUSB. Fortunately, Mophie includes one in the box. The JuicePack comes in two sizes, a slimmer size with less battery power, and a bulkier one that will let you go all-day even if your iPhone’s internal battery only lasts minutes by itself.
Another option is an external battery charger, you can find these just about everywhere. They also charge with MicroUSB and you use your Lightning cable to connect them to your iPhone. Much less convenient, but also much less expensive, so a good option for those on a budget. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
You can certainly contact Apple support (start at https://support.apple.com/), but I can almost guarantee they won’t acknowledge a problem with their products. What they will most likely do is guide you through changing your settings to reduce battery usage, and they might even guide you through re-installing iOS on your iPhone. The latter might help with your battery problem, but it more than likely won’t. And it might cause you more work, re-connecting your apps and other devices.
If you’re like me (I also have an iPhone 6), you’re holding out for the next iPhone version likely coming Sept. 2017. If none of the above options appeals to you, you could get a refurbished iPhone 6 to last you till then, or just live with the problem and hope that Apple fixes the software bug or whatever sometime soon. One thing: if you do contact Apple, please don’t take your frustrations out on that person, be nice and you’re going to have a much better chance of them actually helping you. Apple support folks get a lot of shade, and undeservedly so – they’re doing their best in a difficult situation.