This is why your iPhone battery life isn’t all that great

Aug 19, 2023, 5:00 AM

iPhone on top of a laptop...

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

Q: Why do I have occasional days where my iPhone battery is suddenly low on power by mid-day when I’m not doing anything unusual?

A: The single biggest issue for every smartphone user is battery life and no matter what type of device you have, it’s going to diminish over time.

How Old Is It?
Whenever I’m asked this question, I always start by focusing on the age of the device. If it’s relatively new, it’s probably related to app usage; if it’s older, it’s probably suffering from diminished battery capacity.

Start by checking the battery’s maximum capacity, which is a measure relative to when it was new or at 100%.

Tap Settings, then Battery, then Battery Health to get your current status. If it’s under 80%, it may be time to replace the battery. If it’s well above 80%, your issues are probably app usage related.

Chemical Age
All rechargeable batteries are considered consumables, meaning there’s a finite limit to their usefulness. As time goes on, the physical age isn’t as important as the ‘chemical age’ of the battery which is primarily determined by charge cycles and how it’s been cared for.

Charge Cycles
Apple’s guideline for battery lifespan is based on 500 complete charge cycles. A charge cycle is when you’ve discharged 100% of the battery’s capacity, but not necessarily in one day. For instance, if your battery level is at 50% when you recharge on two consecutive days, that would represent one charge cycle. If you are down to 25% every day when you charge, you’re using just over 5 charge cycles a week.

After 500 charge cycles, your battery will likely be at or near 80% capacity. For most users, that’s 2- 3 years of regular usage.

Temperature’s Impact
One of the easiest ways to quickly increase the chemical age of your battery is through exposure to high ambient temperatures.

Temperatures above 95 degrees can permanently damage the battery’s capacity, which can be a constant challenge if you live in a warm climate.

Another big thing to avoid is charging your phone when it’s hot, which can further damage the battery.

Your App Usage
Which apps you use and how you use them can have a big impact on daily battery life. Apple makes it easy to see this by going to Settings, then Battery, and scrolling down to the list of apps by battery usage.

The default is ‘Last 24 Hours’ but you’ll better understand your regular usage patterns by tapping ‘Last 10 Days’.

The app that uses the most battery power will be at the top of the list along with the percentage of battery consumption. This should reflect the apps you use the most, but there’s more helpful information available if you tap the ‘SHOW ACTIVITY’ option.

This will give you more details, including how many hours/minutes you’ve used the app and how much of that time was in the background.

If the background usage is very high, you should start manually shutting down those apps when you aren’t using them.

Battery Replacement
If your capacity is below 80%, Apple provides a relatively affordable replacement option for most current iPhone models ranging between $89 to $99. To get an estimate on your exact device, go here.


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This is why your iPhone battery life isn’t all that great