Do you recognize this cycle? You purchase a new iPhone, fill it up with photos, videos and apps. Right around your two-year ownership anniversary, you notice it’s performing slower. Right around the two-year anniversary the battery-life suddenly declines. And right around the two-year anniversary the next version of the iPhone comes out.
Apple recently admitted to slowing down older iPhones that have decaying batteries to help maintain overall phone performance. While it’s possible their intentions were genuine, it’s not a good look for Apple. To make matters even worse, a new report has revealed that your new iPhone’s battery will start to degrade well before your two-year anniversary.
What the heck is going on?
Just 18 Months of Battery Life
According to Apple, an iPhone battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles.
When you think about it, 500 charges isn’t a lot at all. Most of us charge our iPhone once a day. The math is simple: you use around 365 of your 500 charges in your first year of iPhone ownership. This means that four and half months into the second year of ownership, your iPhone begins to dip below 80% of the original charge carry. Even those who try to conserve their charges and go more than a day without charging will still reach the 500th charge well before the end of year two. Until Apple changes their throttling procedures, your entire iPhone starts to function worse as early as 17 months into its lifespan.
Thanks to those who discovered Apple’s throttling, an update is coming that will let you prevent your iPhone from slowing down despite an aging battery, but your battery will still maintain its course towards death.
There is hope for a solution to this expensive, not-quite two-year iPhone replacement cycle Apple has us trapped in.
Upgrading to the newest iPhone used to be exciting: they were packed with new features, a new look and a new screen size. Today, each new iPhone version seems to be nearly the same as the one that’s come before it, save for a slightly better camera. So, what’s the main motivator for upgrading? The need for a phone that actually works.
Now that we understand that iPhones are seemingly dying thanks to Apple’s intentional throttling and a decaying battery, the simple solution to increasing your iPhone’s life is to replace the battery. Apple will typically do this for $79. This year only, though, owners of iPhone 6s or newer models can upgrade their battery for just $29 through December 2018. If your iPhone 6 hasn’t completely kicked the bucket yet, it’s worth upgrading your battery. You’ll likely see a large improvement in your phone’s functionality.
Unfortunately for those in dire need of a replacement battery, this offer has led to wait times that span multiple weeks for Genius Bar appointments and battery shortages for certain iPhone models. Still, the throttling news and subsequent battery discount are new and the scramble for replacements will likely die down. If you have a chance to swap your battery for $29 this year, it can’t hurt.
What about those who just got the newest iPhone? It might be worth replacing your iPhone’s battery, too. Wait until December 2018 (while Apple is still discounting replacements) and swap out your normally-functioning battery for a brand new one.
Who knows: maybe with a fresh new battery installed, your phone will last much longer than just two years.
Written by Nik Vargas