Old iPhone Battery

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iPhone Battery: a reader asks…

My ongoing saga with my iPhone 6 has been bumming me out for awhile. Back in October 2016 it started showing problems, draining very quickly. Like instantly from 62% to 2% and then shutting off. Plug it in before it shuts off and it jumps back up to 55%, again instantly. I contacted the genius bar online and they had me reset my iPhone back to factory and then restore my latest iCloud backup. That seemed to help, but only for a few days. I read online about widespread iPhone battery problems, and hoped Apple would issue an iOS update to fix it. Fast forward to today and I now have iOS 10.2.1 – that seems to have fixed the precipitous drop-without-warning, but I’m still having lousy battery life. I get perhaps an hour or so of use before it’s time to plug in. What should I do?

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I previously wrote about this in my article iPhone Battery, but let me add some revised thinking. The first thing you should know is that batteries are a ‘consumable’ item. As you use them and as time goes by they lose their ability to last as long. This is the same with all types of rechargeable batteries. The Lithium Ion battery in your iPhone is good for hundreds of charge/discharge cycles, and doesn’t need periodic conditioning like the old Ni-CD batteries. They also degrade depending on how many full cycles occur. For example, if you drain your battery to 50% and then charge it up, that’s a half-cycle. I’m guessing your iPhone 6 is over 2  years old, and if you recharge it every night, you’re likely approaching 500 charge/discharge cycles. My expectation is that your battery has about exhausted its useful life.
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If, like me you’re holding out for the next iPhone release, then you might want to think about having Apple replace the battery for you – the cost is more reasonable than you might expect. I don’t recommend 3rd party service techs for battery replacement any more than for replacing cracked screens – the quality control is too iffy.

apple-genius-bar-website-screenshotIf you purchased AppleCare for your iPhone (as I recommend for iPhones, iPads and Macbooks), then the cost would be free. I’m guessing your AppleCare policy has expired, so Apple will charge you $79 to replace the battery. Even though you’ve only got perhaps 7-8 months to the next iPhone release, I still think this is a good investment, and a reasonable alternative to a Mophie Juice Pack or external charger (my previous article’s recommendations). The good news is that your local Apple Store can probably do this for you in an hour or so, provided you first make a Genius Bar appointment.

You can make your appointment online at http://www.apple.com/retail/geniusbar/ (scroll down to the section “Get hands-on hardware support”). Be sure to check with the local Apple Store to make sure they can do it there. Some stores have no in-house repair capability and have to send your iPhone out for battery replacement. If the local Apple store doesn’t do onsite repairs or you don’t have an Apple Store close by, then you’re going to have to send the iPhone to them to have the battery replaced – which could take up to 5 days. That’s a long time to be without your iPhone! If you have an older iPhone, you could pop the SIM card out of the iPhone 6 and use it in the older iPhone to get you by for a few days.

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If the thought of being without your iPhone for days drives you to tears, then you may have to consider one of those 3rd party battery replacers. While I can’t recommend them, you should be looking for someone who’s likely to be around in a month or so if you have problems, since they usually warranty their work.

There are currently 674 reader comments on my articles, care to join in? Use the Leave a Comment form below/at the bottom of any existing comments. This is a good place to ask follow-on questions on this subject.

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