iPhone and iPad Battery Tips

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Tips for prolonging the life of iPhone and iPad batteries

Apple provides information for prolonging battery life, but there are other tips you should know. Lithium ion batteries, the type used in the iPhone and iPad, need some periodic maintenance in order to last. With proper know-how, you can even prolong battery life during long-term storage. If you do not actively protect battery life, you will find your iOS device running out of juice and in constant need of charging. With proper care, your iPad or iPhone’s battery can last a few years without the need for replacement.

First, do not leave your iPad or iPhone in an excessively warm environment. Take your iOS device with you, instead of leaving it in your car on a hot day. Even if it is not that hot outside, your car is like a greenhouse. Sunlight comes in through the windows and creates heat, which is trapped inside. Don’t risk damaging your battery. When in doubt, take it out. Some iPhone and iPad cases can trap heat in the device. If you notice that your iOS device gets warm while charging, make sure to take it out of its case. Again, too much heat will damage your battery.

You should drain your battery once a month, according to Apple. This holds true for any device with a lithium ion battery. If you do not use your iPhone or iPad batteries often, you must remember to do a full charge cycle every month. You need to keep power cycling through the battery in order to maintain the lifespan. Your iPhone is designed to hold 80% of its charge for 400 charging cycles. The iPad can complete 1000 charge cycles. I’ve had my iPhone for almost 20 months now, and the battery is as good as the day I bought it. I use it every day and charge it about once in 5 days. For more information on how to calibrate your iPhone’s battery, read this article.

I do a full charge cycle at least once a month, if not more often. I generally try to use the battery until it gets down to 5%, and then I will force it to die. This can be easily accomplished by turning the brightness all the way up and playing a video, preferably through a streaming service like YouTube, Netflix or Hulu. The wifi or 3g/4g connection will use more power than a stored video. This should drain your battery in 10-15 minutes. Remember to turn the brightness back down to the desired level. I find setting it half way with auto-brightness on works in most situations. If you are outside in the sun, you may need to increase it, even with auto-brightness on. (continue…)

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  1. If my iPad is at 93% capacity after two years this month Nov 2017 and my iPhone SE is at 92% capacity would you regard this as good or bad? I was a bit disappointed with the iPhone as it’s a just under 15 months old. Both are daily used with the iPad charged one a week as it lives mainly connected to a USB charge hub, the phone every few days charged.

  2. “Apple recommends discharging and recharging the battery once a month.”

    Unsurprisingly, no links or references could be conjured up to back this claim. The iPhone booklet? I looked in one for the iPhone 5 purchased 2012/2013. No mentions at all of battery care.

    What is easier to find however, is information on why li-ion doesn’t need to be conditioned like this.

    One page claims that Apple wrote “If you don’t use your device often, be sure to complete a charge cycle at least once a month”, which still in no way means you should fully discharge your device.

    1. Please read “How to Calibrate iPhone Battery”, especially the comments and linked articles. There are a lot of people who confirm that calibration works. I know it works. If you research it, you will find that Apple Geniuses tell customers to do this at the Apple Store. It was mentioned in the iPhone 4 manual. It still applies to other models, as the batteries are essentially the same. Apple Geniuses still recommend this. Just go to the Apple Store and ask them. Apple doesn’t provide a lot of information in their manuals and websites. They want you to go to the Apple Store. After all, you might walk out with another purchase.

      It looks like you wanted to find information that it doesn’t work, and you found it, and didn’t question it. You can find whatever you want to believe on the Internet. Your doubt has resulted in you believing false information. Instead, you should Google “calibrate iPhone battery”.

      I recommend what Apple, Battery University, my experience and many of my readers have found — calibrating the battery works. My iPhone 4 is over 6 years old and still holds a charge. My iPhone 6 is almost two and a half years old, and the battery lasts all day.

      It seems there are always a few people who approach this with skepticism. It’s almost like they have never owned a lithium-ion battery powered rechargeable device. The common problem is that the skeptics only look for information to confirm their belief. If you do an honest investigation, you’ll find that iPhone battery calibration works.

      Battery University, the foremost authority on lithium-ion batteries, also confirms that calibration works. They specifically mention the iPad, but it applies to any device with a smart battery. You may have missed this in your research.

      You also seem to have missed the link that you claim is “unsurprisingly” absent.

  3. Although my iPhone hasn’t had trouble charging yet, I’d attribute that to the fact that it is still fairly new. I was under the impression that you’re always supposed to let the charge go to less than 10% before charging it, but I’ll definitely be taking your advice to let the battery drain fully at least once a month. How much would it damage my iPhone if I charged it while doing something that isn’t hard on it, like listening to music or playing certain games? You say not to charge it when it’s hot, but sometimes I just need something to do. Thanks!

    1. I actually did a lot more research on lithium ion batteries and put together a great guide — “How to Extend iPhone Battery Lifespan“. It’s a bit lengthy, but worth reading. Actually, for routine charging, it’s better to charge it when it is over 80%, because it does a slower trickle charge. I started doing this more often. Of course, one should periodically calibrate the battery.

      Some of the information I found was pretty surprising. For example, it’s best to keep your iPhone undercharged. I have the precise range in the article. They do this on satellites because they can’t get up there to replace the batteries. I personally don’t do this. I charge to 100% and beyond, because I want my iPhone to last all day.

      I wouldn’t advise charging and using your iPhone at the same time, however, you can mitigate the heat by using a USB 2.0 outlet on a computer. USB 2.0 is only 0.5A and the iPhone charger is 1A. Also, if you charge it when it is over 80%, it will just do a slower trickle charge, which generates less heat.

      I understand your point. Sometimes you need to use your iPhone while it’s charging. It’s not the worst thing you can do, but it will diminish the lifespan of the battery. But most people will get enough battery life to last until they get a replacement iPhone. You can also just have the battery replaced. It doesn’t cost a fortune, but for most people, it’s not worth investing in an older iPhone. Most people will just get the next model.

  4. Hey,
    I just bought an iphone 5 and it hardly stays upto 7 of heavy use. I do not think the battery is defective though. What to do?

    1. Try calibrating the battery. This will fix most problems with shortened battery life.

      If this doesn’t work, it may be the apps you are using or some underlying issue with iOS 8. People with the iPhone 5S have reported shortened battery life with iOS 8. iOS 9 is coming in a few months, and it will provide much better battery life. Seven hours of heavy use is not bad, but I think with calibration, you could get more.

      Also, take a look at which apps are using the most battery power. You can do this by going to Settings > General > Usage. It could very well be an app that is draining the battery. Some apps are inefficient and will drain the battery faster than they should. If this is the case, see if you can use a substitute — maybe a web-based version of the app. The developer may update the app and fix battery problems. I had a problem with a social media app that was draining the battery. They fixed it, and my battery life is much better now.

  5. I just bought an iphone 4s and I charged it till it was 100% and my battery its draining to fast what do I do in this situation?

  6. Last week I drained my battery completely during use. After a full recharge, my ipad now reboots itself about every two to three minutes. the battery shows its charged. What happened??

    1. Try doing a reset. Hold down the home button and sleep/wake button until you see the Apple logo. Also, make sure that you are using the latest version of iOS and update all of your apps. Unfortunately, this can be tricky if your iPad is rebooting itself constantly.

      I have personally never experienced this issue, nor heard of anyone else with this problem. If all else fails, contact Apple or make an appointment with a Genius at the Apple store.

  7. I’m confused by something. If you calibrate once a month, why do you tend to let the battery run until it dies? Isn’t that nearly doing a calibration every time your battery gets close to 0%?

    1. That’s correct. There isn’t any harm in calibrating the battery more often than once a month. I make sure to use it down to 0% and then recharge it to 100% (and beyond) whenever possible. I do sometimes just top it off. I still keep around an iPhone 4 that is almost 4 years old and has the original battery. It still works great and holds a charge. It’s a great iPod touch now.

  8. I will never buy an iPhone again
    The most important part of it ie the battery
    Is absolute crap
    It’s functions compared to androids are only just
    So so

    1. Follow the tips in this battery article, and your battery life should improve. Heat is the enemy of lithium ion batteries. If possible, don’t use your iPhone when charging. Even better — turn off your iPhone when it’s charging. Also, make sure to calibrate your iPhone battery at least once a month.

      I know people who use their iPhone intensively when it’s charging — FaceTime chats and video games. They tend to have the worst battery life. Although the iPhone’s thermal design is better than most, there’s no way to fully escape the laws of physics. The device will get warm and the heat damages the battery.

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