How to Check Battery Health on Your iPhone
There are few things more annoying than running out of battery on your phone. And if you’ve got an iPhone that’s more than a couple of years old then you might be finding that the battery runs out a little more often than you’d like. Battery life is a big issue for mobile users, and therefore battery health should be too. Not sure of the difference between the two? Not to worry, we’re here to help you out.
Battery Life and Battery Health: The Basics
Battery life lets you know how long your battery will last between charge cycles. Maybe you charge once in the morning and then your phone lasts all day, meaning you have pretty great battery life. Battery health is a different issue, it tells you how good your current battery is. Why is this important?
Batteries degrade over time. When your iPhone was brand new you could charge up that battery to 100% of its capacity. However, after a year or two, you won’t be able to do that anymore, your phone battery will likely only charge up to 90% or so of its original capacity (but that little charging icon on your notification bar will still say 100%, confusingly). The science behind this is complicated and not particularly important, it’s enough to know that after a while your existing battery won’t be as great as it was before.
Checking Things Out: The Basics
Checking out battery life is pretty easy. Apple helpfully provides you with a few options in the settings menu that let you see how long your battery lasts per charge and what kind of apps are using power and how much power they’re using. Battery health is a little more complicated.
There are two useful pieces of information when looking at battery health: how many times your phone has been charged, and what percentage of the total charge the battery can still hold. Apple say that their batteries are so good that even after a whopping 500 charges an iPhone battery should still be able to hold 80% of its total capacity. That sounds pretty good until you realise that 500 charges for most people is only around a year of use…
So how do you get all this information? There are a couple of things you can do…
Solution 1: Get the Pros to Do It
Apple tend to be pretty good with customer support, and battery health checks are no exception to this. Get hold of Apple Support (through their website, Twitter, email or phone) and tell them that you need a “battery health status check” and they’ll know exactly what you mean. The service is free and doesn’t take more than a few minutes. You’ll need to tell them your iPhone’s serial number and the version of iOS that you’re running, and then they’ll walk you through the rest (which basically involves giving them permission to run the test remotely).
Within a few minutes they should let you know how your battery’s doing. Simple. The disadvantage here is that you won’t get any specific numbers, they’ll simply let you know whether your battery is good, mediocre, or bad, but for most people that’s probably enough info.
Solution 2: Do it Yourself
If you want those specific numbers though (or if you just hate dealing with customer support) then you can run the diagnostic test yourself.
If you want a quick and dirty way of doing things, then simply download an app called “Battery Life Doctor” from the App Store and follow the directions. Battery Life Doctor is pretty easy to use and fairly reliable as well, and should give you the answers that you’re looking for. For more accuracy though, it’s best to use your computer to check battery health…
For those running a Mac, grab the free Mac programme called “CoconutBattery” and plug in your phone to your computer. Open up CoconutBattery, click the icon that says “iOS” device at the top right, and let the app do its thing. Done.
If you’re on Windows then the best option is going to be a programme called “iBackupBot.” This isn’t a free programme, but it does offer a free week trial (just remember to delete the programme when you’re done) so you shouldn’t have to pay. Then the process is more or less the same: plug in your iPhone, fire up the programme, click on your device on the menu on the left, and let the computer do the work.
Bad Battery: What Now?
So, you’ve gone through all of this and found that you don’t have a great battery, what should you be doing? Firstly, your battery might not be as bad as you think it is. If you’re just looking at the numbers then scores of around 85% or even 80% of capacity are perfectly fine and normal for a phone that’s more than a year old. Sure, battery life isn’t as great as it once was, but it should still be fine for everyday use. If numbers are much below this, or if your app/programme specifically said your battery is in bad shape, then you’ll need a replacement.
The obvious decision here is to buy a new phone, and with new iPhones coming out every year that’s probably what most people will do. However, a new phone is a pretty big investment, and you might not be quite ready to fork out for a whole mobile just yet. In this case, you’ll need a change of battery…
Apple phones are closed, meaning changing your battery isn’t as easy as slipping out an old one and plugging in a new one. It is NOT advised that you try to replace your own battery (it is technically possible, but it’s complicated and will void your Apple guarantee). However, Apple themselves do offer a battery replacement service, just check out the “service and recycling” section of their website to get more info. Battery replacement isn’t free, but it is cheaper than buying a new phone!