iPhone Battery Repair – Understanding Your Options
It can happen to anyone; after extensive use, you notice that your iPhone battery is no longer holding its charge. After some of your own investigation, you see that your suspicions were correct—your iPhone is telling you that your battery requires service.
Battery replacements are straightforward repairs but, depending on your skill level with electronic repairs, may be better left to professionals. However, you have numerous options to choose from if your iPhone battery has seen better days. Who and what you choose depends entirely on your budget and specific circumstances.
How Can I Check My Battery Health?
The battery inside of your iPhone is known as a lithium-ion battery. Every single electronic device on the market, assuming that its rechargeable, has lithium-ion technology inside of it. While there is research going on into other battery technologies, nothing compares to the lithium-ion’s mass-to-charge ratio as well as its rapid charging capabilities.
Via Wikipedia, which concisely explains the technology:
A lithium-ion battery is a lightweight, high-power battery used in computers and mobile phones. It comes in several shapes, although a flat rectangle is most common. It is lighter than the nickel-cadmium battery and the nickel-metal-hydride battery. That makes it useful for devices that should be lightweight. Lithium-ion batteries work by the movement of lithium ions through a membrane (the thin sheet that allows some substances to pass through).
However, lithium-ion come with caveats of their own. For one, every time your battery discharges (aka, you use your iPhone) it will use a charging cycle. Most healthy lithium-ion batteries inside of iPhones have anywhere from 500 to 1,500 charge cycles before they’ve run their course. Once that occurs, you’ll notice your iPhone will rapidly lose its charge, sometimes shutting off completely before it’s at 0%.
Not only is a fast-draining battery annoying, but it will also fail to keep up with “peak performance”, which is when your iPhone is in the middle of a demanding task. A bad battery will cause your iPhone to crash or shut off entirely, rendering your iPhone useless, sometimes when you need it most.
Luckily, iOS allows you to quickly check the health of your battery. It will show you the overall health of the battery as well as its maximum charge.
Checking Your iPhone Battery Health in iOS
To check your battery health is iOS, follow these instructions:
- Navigate to your “Settings” on your iPhone
- Scroll down and tap on “Battery”
- On the “Battery” screen, tap on “Battery Health”
The “Battery Health” screen will tell you your battery’s “Maximum Capacity”, which is essentially the percentage of remaining life. A brand new iPhone should have a maximum capacity of 100%. Beyond that, this screen will also offer insight into your battery’s performance during demanding tasks. “Peak Performance Capability” will let you know if your battery is too weak and potentially prone to crashes and restarts.
If either of these two options reports a poor prognosis, then it’s time to investigate battery repair options.
What Are My Battery Replacement Options?
Luckily, battery replacements are rudimentary repairs and you have some options should you need to explore this repair route. It’s best to choose the option that gives you the best peace of mind for your budget and time constraints.
Apple Retail Store or Apple Certified Service Provider
One of the fastest options for a battery repair is right at the source. The Genius Bar at your local Apple Store will professionally repair your iPhone battery either in-store (while you wait) or, if the repair is too complicated (battery replacements are not typically complicated) they may want to send it in for a “depot repair”, which can take 3-5 days. In most cases, you’ll be in and out of the Apple Store with a battery replacement on the same day.
If you’re a tried-and-true Apple user, then you should invest in their extended warranty program known as AppleCare+ right out of the gate. After purchasing your iPhone, you have up to 90 days until you buy AppleCare+. However, no matter when you buy it, it’s only good from the day you originally purchased the device—waiting to buy Apple’s warranty is not going to do you any favors.
AppleCare+ is a great investment for diehard iPhone users, as it will extend the life of your iPhone buy subsidizing your iPhone repair costs. In most cases, an iPhone with AppleCare+ can get a battery replaced for free! Out-of-warranty battery replacements come at a cost, depending on the iPhone in question. Here’s the repair chart via Apple.com:
As you can see, AppleCare+ is one of the few extended warranties on the market worth investing in, especially if you’re the kind of person to hold onto an iPhone for more than a year or two. If you’re always upgrading iPhones, then you may not need it.
Local Battery Repair Shop or Kiosk
A less expensive alternative to the Apple Store, for those of us who haven’t invested in AppleCare+, is the third party repair shop. You might have seen them at your local mall or shopping plaza—stores that specialize in handheld electronics repair. Most of their clientele have broken smartphones that need to be repaired, so they’re no strangers to replacing an iPhone battery.
The price of these services vary depending on the shop. There’s no standard pricing like at the Apple Store. However, most reputable shops will charge between $40 and $70 for a battery replacement. Another benefit of third party repair shops is that they’ll get down and dirty, repairing components of your iPhone that Apple won’t touch, such as the home button, microphone, or speaker. Even in the case of the battery, you’ll more than likely save $10 to $20 by going the local repair route and most credible shops carry their repair warranties should anything go wrong after you take it home.
Do-it-yourself Battery Repair
Last but not least, doing your own iPhone battery replacement can be a fun and rewarding achievement. If you’re in any way familiar with electronics, then you shouldn’t flinch at replacing an iPhone battery. As long as your current iPhone battery hasn’t been punctured and isn’t swollen in any way (swollen lithium-ion batteries can explode), then there’s no reason to be afraid to replace your battery.
The credible and popular repair website, ifixit.com, sells iPhone battery replacement kits at an average cost of $29.99 for a complete kit that includes everything you’d need, including the screwdriver. $30 for a new battery? Not even Apple can beat that price.
Replacing your iPhone battery is as simple as unscrewing the bottom, pulling off the back, unclasping the old battery from the logic board and affixing the new battery. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials to follow as you go along.
Aren’t There iPhone Battery Recalls?
Lithium-ion batteries bring with them a bit of notoriety due to their sometimes volatile nature. It’s not impossible for the phone in your pocket to explode due to an overstressed battery. And even if your iPhone battery isn’t going to explode in the palm of your hand, they can still suffer from quality control issues.
It’s true that in 2017 Apple announced a “recall” of sorts of its post-iPhone 6 batteries. They acknowledged battery longevity issues with certain iPhone made after the iPhone 6, blaming quality issues. While they didn’t get into specifics, nor did they tell consumers exactly which phones were to blame, they extended an unprecedented offer to replace iPhone batteries for a much-reduced out-of-warranty fee. However, this program ended in December 2018 and Apple hasn’t announced any similar plans for the future.
Further Battery Replacement Options
Even if your iPhone is out of warranty, it’s worth making a Genius Bar appointment at your nearest Apple Store regardless. When you arrive, explain to your technician that your iPhone battery is underperforming. If you’re polite and courteous then they may extend some courtesy back to you. It’s not unheard of for an Apple tech to do a complimentary repair as a one-time exception, assuming there is so gross negligence on your part. Be polite and firm about your battery foes—show the technician that the quickest solution to your problem is a new battery.
Pay Attention to Your iPhone Battery Health
If iOS is reporting that your battery requires service, then it’s time to bring your iPhone in for a replacement or investigate third party options or face the consequences of a severely underperforming iPhone.
And while a new iPhone battery can make your iPhone feel new again, it may have other issues due to its handling and/or age. Sometimes a component replacement isn’t the best option and you may want to consider upgrading your iPhone to a brand new one. Whatever you do, don’t throw away or forget about your old iPhone. If it’s in even passable cosmetic condition you can trade it into a buyback program for a little bit of extra cash. Whether you decide to replace your iPhone battery or replace your entire iPhone, just remember that, no matter what you do, investigate all of your options to ensure you’re making the most cost-effective and smartest choice for your specific circumstances.