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When Should You Change Your iPhone Battery?

UPDATED: December 17, 2018

If you’ve had your iPhone for awhile you may have noticed that it doesn’t last on one charge as long as it used to or that it’s slowed down considerably. Sound familiar? Well, it might be time to change your iPhone battery. Apple recently acknowledged that their lithium-ion batteries gradually lose their ability to maintain a full charge over time. After 500 charge cycles, the battery capacity can drop to 80% or even lower. At that point your iPhone may intentionally slow itself down in order to prevent your aged battery from failing.

How to know if your iPhone battery needs to be replaced

The best way to know if you need to replace your iPhone battery is by going to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. On this page, you will see a quick overview of your battery’s health via its “Maximum Capacity” and “Peak Performance Capability”.

“Maximum Capacity” is a measure of the battery’s capacity relative to when it was new. A brand new phone should read 100% and will reduce over time; the lower the percentage, the faster your battery will deplete on one charge.

The “Peak Performance Capability” measure is more of a ‘Good’, ‘Not-so-good’ or ‘Bad’ scenario. If your phone reads “Your battery is currently supporting normal peak performance”, you are in the clear – your battery is up to par and there is nothing you need to do. On the other hand, if you see “This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown… Performance management has been applied…” it’s a sign that your battery is experiencing some significant wear. That means, Apple has started to slow down or “throttle” your phone processing speed in an effort to reduce further battery strain. You can disable this throttling feature but if you do, the setting cannot be toggled on again until the device unexpectedly shuts down, so proceed with caution. Finally, there is “Your battery’s healthy is significantly degraded…” message which means that your battery severely depleted and you should strongly considering getting it replaced.

If your iPhone is pre-2014 or running iOS 11.2 or earlier, you will not see battery health in Settings. However, there are a few other ways to tell that your iPhone battery might need to be replaced:

  • If you’re having to recharge your battery every few hours, even when usage is low, it might be time for a new battery
  • If your phone unexpectedly dies when the battery is 10% or higher, this could be a sign of a battery worth replacing
  • If your iPhone only works plugged it, you guessed it – replace the battery
  • OR if you’re looking for more of a scientific approach, you can download an app like Battery Health which gives you a look into battery capacity, power usage, etc.

How much does it cost to replace your iPhone battery?

If you’ve decided that you could use a new battery, your next question might be “How much does it cost to get a new iPhone battery?” Well, Apple charges $29 to replace most iPhone batteries, but if you have the iPhone XS, XS Max or XR, the cost will be $69. Note: After December 31, 2018, Apple will charge $49 to replace the batteries for the iPhone 6 or later models, except for the iPhone X, XS Max and XR which will cost $69.

Where and how can you replace your iPhone battery?

There are a couple of ways you can go about replacing your battery:

  1. Through Apple, as mentioned above. You can either send in your phone for repair OR make an appointment to bring it to the Apple store. If you send your iPhone in, turnaround takes 3-5 business days, whereas if you bring it in, it will typically get repaired during your visit
  2. Through third-party services like uBreakiFix or a local phone repair shop. In some circumstances, the cost to replace a battery through a third-party is a little less expensive than what Apple charges
  3. Do it yourself (DIY). If you’re mostly interested in saving dough, your best option is to replace the battery yourself. Many of the kits available on Amazon and eBay are priced in the $15-$30 range, and some even come with a handy step-by-step guide. There are a number of helpful online video tutorials you can find by searching for “how to replace your iPhone battery.” Do so at your own risk

Is it worth it to just get a new phone altogether?

In most cases it’s better to replace the battery. There’s no reason to drop $1200 on a brand new iPhone just because your older iPhone charge doesn’t last for a full 2-3 days like it did when new. There are a number of ways to better manage your battery to extend its life. Also, if your phone is running a little slow, it could be an issue unrelated to the battery and there are some simple tricks to speed up your iPhone.

If, however, you’ve checked your battery and it’s fine, and your iPhone is still running inexplicably slow or dying frequently, then you should consider getting a new device – or at the very least making an appointment at an Apple store to further diagnose the issue.

You also should probably get a new iPhone if you’re still rocking a 5th-gen or older. Changing the battery of those devices could improve performance a bit, but at a certain point it doesn’t make much of a difference how new your battery is; an old iPhone is going to run slower regardless.

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