Nothing lasts forever – especially not the batteries of smartphones. These tiny lithium-ion powerhouses that power your iPhone or Android phone are all consumables, meaning they have a finite lifespan. The longer you hold on to your device, the more the battery will deteriorate and will eventually need to be replaced.
Smartphone batteries don’t usually run out of power. There are tell-tale clues over time, mostly related to your phone’s performance. You may find that the device is slow to respond to taps and prompts, or that apps take longer to start or respond to commands. Or your phone may discharge faster than it has done in the past, turn on more slowly, never turn on 1
Other slowdowns in performance can be caused by a battery-intensive app or operating system feature (like iOS 13 and its infamous battery drain) that can make it difficult to diagnose battery problems.
Current iPhone and Android operating systems can provide some pointers warning you of your battery leakage and potentially preparing you for the final decision. Unfortunately, changing smartphone batteries isn’t as easy as swapping out a flashlight or remote control. Replacing smartphone batteries can be expensive and time-consuming.
Apple offers a variety of tools in its newer operating systems that can help you determine the health of your battery and get informed information about whether or not it will need to be replaced soon. For Android phones, the OS is less helpful, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely in the dark about the health of your battery. Here you can find out whether your smartphone’s battery needs to be replaced.
How to tell if your iPhone’s battery needs to be replaced
In late 2017, Apple announced to an outraged customer base that some of its older phones were deliberately and secretly throttled to stabilize the performance caused by aging batteries. From iPhone 6 and iOS 11.3 you can go Settings> Battery> Battery Health, a tool that shows vital information about the current condition of your battery and even recommends whether a battery should be replaced. You can turn off the performance management feature. However, you would risk unexpected shutdowns if the battery ran out of power.
When you tap Battery conditionyou can easily see the relevant statistics. Maximum capacity is a percentage that measures current capacity versus 100% when your battery was new. A range of this percentage is normal, although a healthy battery should retain about 80% of its original capacity over 500 charge cycles. If the capacity drops below 80%, Apple recommends replacing the battery.
You can observe that the power management feature that manages the maximum performance of the iPhone and prevents shutdown is enabled, and you can turn it off on any iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7 and 7 Plus. This function is only activated after an unexpected shutdown of a device whose peak battery power is reduced. If you turn off performance management, you will not be able to turn it back on, but it will restart automatically if there is another unexpected shutdown. The function is included in iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X with iOS 12.1 and in iPhone XS, XS Max and XR with iOS 13.1.
The battery status function of the iPhone can transmit several messages that give you a good overview of the current status of your battery. Below are the messages verbatim. Message number four is the only one that states that your battery is badly damaged and should be replaced.
- Your battery currently supports normal peak performance.
- This iPhone shut down unexpectedly because the battery was unable to provide the peak power it needed. Performance management was applied to prevent this from happening again. Deactivate…
- This iPhone shut down unexpectedly because the battery was unable to provide the peak power it needed. You have manually turned off performance management protection.
- The health of your battery is seriously affected. An Apple-authorized service provider can replace the battery to restore full performance and capacity. More information about service options …
- This iPhone cannot be verified that it has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery. Learn more…
- This iPhone cannot determine the battery condition. An Apple-authorized service provider can service the battery. More information about service options …
Replacing your iPhone battery doesn’t come cheap: it costs $ 49 for older iPhones or $ 69 for the iPhone X and above if you buy direct from Apple. An Apple-authorized service provider like Best Buy could also do the job. If you’re brave and handy, you can order a battery swap from iFixit, which sells iPhone battery kits for models 4-8 Plus for $ 15-15.
Here’s how to tell if your Android phone’s battery needs replacing
Android phones offer some controls on how to conserve battery life and some information on how to control battery-intensive apps. However, you have fewer native resources to analyze and rescue the battery condition directly. On older phones and Android operating systems, you can check this by opening the Dialer app, dialing * # * # 4636 # * # * and tapping Battery information to view the battery status of your Android device. However, I was unable to access this information on a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge with Android 6 or an LG V40 ThinQ with Android 9.
Some third-party apps available on the Google Play Store can help.
This app is designed to measure actual battery usage based on data derived from the battery charge controller. Android calculates battery usage from device manufacturers, but this app goes even further to measure battery capacity. It uses the charge alarm to extend the lifespan, determines the wear and tear of the battery with each charge, calculates the discharge rate and battery usage per app, quantifies how long it takes to charge the battery, and much more.
This app gives you an overview of the general health and status of your battery with data that includes the percentage of battery power, temperature and capacity. A battery cooler feature keeps your phone cool by lowering the temperature of your battery and slowing down power consumption. You can also select personalized battery saving profiles to customize the settings for the use of your phone.
Battery Tools & Widget for Android
This app specializes in monitoring and optimizing your battery, recording information and controlling power consumption. It estimates the remaining charge time based on power consumption and displays battery status, temperature, health, voltage, power profile graph, customizable power saving mode, battery saving mode with optimization and more.
If you notice that your phone bulges in the middle or feels very hot on or off the charger, it is a sign of a bad battery that you will immediately stop using and servicing. The Samsung Note 7’s battery exploding episode, where the device’s batteries overheated and exploded, is unlikely to go away from memory anytime soon.
When starting out with a brand new smartphone, you should expect your battery to function optimally for at least two or three years under normal conditions of use. You can save the battery of your smartphone by not allowing it to overheat or misusing it and charging it carefully. However, if you keep your phone for a long time, battery problems shouldn’t be taken as a shock. At this point, given the price of batteries for out-of-warranty handsets, you may decide to replace the battery or even buy a new phone.