NEWSFLASH: batteries don’t last forever. And by that, I don’t mean they get discharged when you watch too much Netflix, so then you charge them again. I mean they’ll die on you someday, and you’ll have to find a suitable replacement afterwards.
Batteries – at least the kind that Apple uses for its gizmos – have charge cycles that are depleted during everyday use. One charge cycle equals one full discharge and recharge, and after a few hundred cycles, your battery becomes worse for the wear and its performance and capacity gradually drop. There’s nothing you can do about this; your iPhone battery will someday go the way of all iPhone batteries.
Before you shed those tears, you ought to know that like your general life expectancy, your battery’s health could be extended with some good old TLC. But before you can give your battery some much-needed care, you need to know how to properly check your iPhone battery’s health. It won’t do you good to spend money on a replacement when you have a perfectly good battery that just needs a little bit of help, after all.
Test to See if It’s Really a Battery Issue
Sometimes quick drain and overheating have less to do with the battery’s performance than with how your iPhone uses up power. Some apps are graphics- and/or performance-intensive, and there is a big chance that your iPhone quickly losing juice is related to your own style of usage.
But there are also instances where bugs and glitches in your phone’s OS can deplete your battery quickly. This, however, can be easily resolved if you regularly update your iPhone’s OS. If all else fails, you can do a full restore to fix pesky bugs and errors, but do that only if you’re absolutely sure that will fix it.
As all iPhone users know, Apple is big on non-removable batteries. While this usually means a larger battery capacity and a robust, trim design, it also means you can’t check your battery regularly for physical deformities. But although you can’t observe directly, you can still observe how it performs on a daily basis.
Does it overheat too quickly? Does it drain quickly even when it’s on standby most of the time? It might mean your iPhone is a few hundred charge cycles in, and you might have to be more mindful about the way you use and charge your phone.
Use Diagnostic Apps
Another way you can test your iPhone battery’s health is by using diagnostic apps. If you didn’t know, your iPhone records the number of times you’ve charged your battery, as well as the capacity of its cell. You, however, cannot normally access this information, so you’ll have to rely on an App Store app called iBackupBot, a multi-purpose management tool for your Apple gadgets. Connect your iPhone to your computer with the app running, and it will let you see your phone’s detailed stats, your battery info included.
You only need to see three values to kno w how your battery is doing: Cycle Count, FullChargeCapacity, and DesignCapacity. Cycle Count tells you the current number of charge cycles your battery has gone through. If the figure is beyond 500, then you can reasonably expect some drop in capacity. The other two are values you compare. A big gap between FullChargeCapacity and DesignCapacity indicates more wear and tear on your battery. The larger this gap, the more you’re nearing the point of replacement.
Now that you know how your battery is doing, the next thing to do is knowing how to give it proper care. The following are a few sure fire ways that can keep your battery in good health.
Avoid Deep Discharges
If you’ve been keeping up so far, you know that frequent charge cycles are the enemy. To avoid expending your charge cycles quickly, avoid deep discharges as much as you can. A deep discharge means charging your phone from a full zero to 100%, which counts as one charge cycle. By keeping your phone’s charge at 40%-80%, you spread one charge cycle through multiple charge and discharge periods, and you won’t go through your charge cycles as fast.
Keep your iPhone from Extreme Temperatures
Extreme hot or cold is not good for your iPhone, but it can have an especially bad effect on the battery. Too much exposure to extreme temperatures can physically damage your iPhone battery. Normally, unless you live somewhere in the Sahara Desert of Antarctica, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. But if you play a performance-intensive app AND charge your phone at the same time, that might generate just enough heat to ruin your battery.
Avoid High-Impact Apps
Sorry gamers, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Games, especially 3D ones, will definitely make you lose more juice more quickly. The same goes for apps that make heavy use of the graphics chip or the GPS chip, like Waze. If you must play, pick games that aren’t graphics-heavy, or play sparingly.
Routinely Check for App Drain
Just because you’re not using an app, it doesn’t mean it’s not taking up resources in the background. Check Settings > General > Battery and see which apps have been putting a strain on your battery lately.
Tweak your Settings
Sure, that Parallax effect when your icons seem like they’re floating is neat to have. But that will also make you burn through your charge cycles fast. If you want to make good, long-term use of your iPhone battery, turn off any feature that you don’t need. Turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it. Do the same for Location, Wi-Fi or 3G. Tone down brightness. Don’t use Hey Siri (you don’t need her anyway, seriously).
So there. To recap, your battery’s definitely going to die on you someday, but you can care for it and extend its use for a few more years. So if you’re one of those people who won’t buy another phone unless his current one is stolen or burns to ashes, you better keep your iPhone battery healthy!