iPhone Battery Aging: A Closer Look

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Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15 line is generating buzz, with rumors suggesting that the "Dynamic Island" cutout from the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will make its way to the entire lineup. Another highly anticipated change is the switch from Lightning to USB-C for wired charging. But before deciding whether to upgrade, it’s important to check the health of your current iPhone’s battery. Apple has faced scrutiny in the past for slowing down the performance of iPhones with weaker battery health, leading to a $113 million settlement in 2020. A recent $500 million settlement from a class action lawsuit has also been cleared by a judge. Replacing a battery on recent iPhones can cost $89, but those with AppleCare Plus can get a free replacement if their battery’s maximum capacity falls below 80%. With trade-in deals and the option to replace batteries at home, there are various options for users to consider.

Apple’s Upcoming iPhone Models: What to Consider Before Upgrading

The Importance of Battery Health

One crucial factor to consider when deciding whether to upgrade to Apple’s latest iPhone models is the health of your current device’s battery. Apple has previously faced criticism for slowing down the performance of iPhones with weaker battery health in order to preserve battery life. This led to a $113 million settlement in 2020 and a recent $500 million settlement from a class-action lawsuit. Replacing a battery on recent iPhones, dating back to the iPhone X in 2017, costs $89 from Apple, excluding tax or shipping. However, those with AppleCare Plus can get a battery replacement for free if their battery falls below 80% of its maximum capacity.

Understanding Battery Health Metrics

Lithium-ion batteries, the type used in most modern electronics, naturally degrade over time. Apple states that a "charge cycle" occurs when you discharge an amount equivalent to 100% of your battery’s capacity. This does not mean going from 100% to empty in a single day. For example, if you use 75% of your battery’s capacity one day and then recharge it fully overnight, and then use 25% the next day, you will have completed one charge cycle. Apple’s design aims for the iPhone to retain up to 80% of its original capacity after 500 complete charge cycles under normal conditions. The "Maximum Capacity" section in your iPhone’s settings provides insight into your battery’s health.

Checking Your Battery Health

To check your iPhone’s battery health, navigate to Settings, then Battery, and finally Battery Health (or Battery Health & Charging). The "Maximum Capacity" section will indicate how much of your battery’s original capacity remains. If your battery is operating normally, it should show "peak performance capability" with a note stating that it’s "normal." If you have experienced an unexpected battery-related shutdown, you may still see peak performance but with an explanation that Apple is using "performance management" to prevent future shutdowns. If your battery is unhealthy, you will receive a message suggesting a replacement to restore full performance and battery life.

Real-World Battery Experiences

CNET conducted an informal survey of its staff members to gauge the battery health of their iPhones. The results varied, with the maximum battery capacity of older iPhone 12 models still ranging from 85% to 100%. iPhone 13 Pro users experienced different outcomes, with some devices showing a maximum capacity of 95% after almost 20 months, while others dropped as low as 73% after nearly two years. Similar mixed results were observed among early iPhone 14 adopters. Some iPhone 14 Pro Max users still had a maximum capacity of 100% after 11 months, while others, including a Wall Street Journal reporter, reported capacities around 88%. These findings illustrate the varying battery health experiences among iPhone users.


When considering an upgrade to Apple’s latest iPhone models, it is essential to assess the health of your current device’s battery. Battery health is crucial for optimal performance and battery life. Apple provides a battery health metric called "Maximum Capacity" that indicates the remaining capacity compared to when the battery was new. Checking your battery health is simple through the Settings app on your iPhone. The real-world experiences of iPhone users show that battery health can vary significantly even among devices of the same model and age. This underscores the importance of monitoring and maintaining battery health, as well as considering replacement options if necessary.

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