From the moment we take a new iPhone out of the box, the war for its well-being begins. We cloak it in a shockproof case, swallow our pride and upgrade to AppleCare+, and religiously upload all our food selfies to iCloud to keep its storage as free and clear as possible. There is one battle, however, that we can never seem to win no matter how hard we try: the slow-but-steady decay of our iPhone’s battery. Eventually, the once-pristine 100% drops down to a depressing iPhone battery health of 85%, leaving you wondering whether it’s time for a replacement.
So, how to check your iPhone’s battery health? And when you do, how do you know if you need a new battery? Thankfully, there’s a tool for that.
Batteries, even rechargeable ones, are consumable. As soon as you use your iPhone, its battery begins to degrade, decreasing both its capacity and your phone’s performance. In fact, according to Apple, once your iPhone goes through roughly 500 charging cycles, your battery won’t be able to be charged more than 80%. This can result in some annoying things like your phone randomly shutting off even though the battery appears to be full and, of course, dying quicker than you’re used to.
In what has become the great iPhone battery controversy of 2017, Apple tried to solve the problem by secretly slowing down users’ older iPhones when their batteries became too degraded. iPhone fans, as you can imagine, were not impressed.
Enter Apple’s Battery Health tool. Introduced in iOS 11.3 in response to ‘Batterygate’, this easy-to-use feature lets you check your battery’s maximum capacity and performance capability, as well as allow you to turn off the performance management function that got Apple into trouble in the first place.
To check your iPhone’s battery health, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. Towards the top of the screen, you’ll notice the Maximum Capacity section. This tells you your battery’s charging capability in relation to when your iPhone was brand new. The higher the number, the longer you can go between charges.
Below that, you’ll see a message regarding your battery’s Peak Performance Capability. The message you see is dependent on the maximum capacity percentage you see above.
What Do Those Percentages and Messages Mean?
Is an iPhone battery health of 85% maximum capacity good or bad? What about 90%? What does it all mean? In short, the closer the percentage is to 100%, the better your iPhone will function. However, at 79% and below, your battery is officially considered degraded. But, what if the percentage is somewhere in the middle? In general, if your iPhone’s battery health is at 85% or 90%, your phone should still be operating at an optimum level for another six months to a year. Although, certain things could cause your battery and phone to malfunction, such as extreme heat or cold.
As noted above, the Peak Performance Capability message is a function of your iPhone battery’s Maximum Capacity percentage, as well as how your phone is reacting to your battery’s health. Depending on each of those things, you might see the following messages:
“Your battery is currently supporting normal peak performance.”
This is what this screen will look like if your iPhone and its battery are both brand new. No need to worry about anything here because your phone should be operating exactly as it should be.
“This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again. Disable…”
This message indicates that your iPhone has automatically turned on performance management. Simply put, it means that something bad happened to your battery to make it not work properly and, as a result, your iPhone is slowing itself down to make sure it keeps running.
If that sounds familiar, you’d be right. This is what got Apple in hot water back in 2017. Luckily, you have the option of turning it off to get your phone back up and running at normal speed again by simply clicking Disable… Just be aware that this could cause your battery to malfunction again; and once you turn it off, you can’t turn performance management back on again unless your battery has another issue.
“This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. You have manually disabled performance management protections.”
This is the message you will see once you have disabled your iPhone’s performance management programming.
“This iPhone is unable to determine battery health. An Apple Authorized Service Provider can service the battery. More about service options…”
Occasionally, you might see this message at the top of the screen with no maximum capacity percentage listed. This indicates that your battery might be installed incorrectly or experiencing some other issue.
“Your battery’s health is significantly degraded. An Apple Authorized Service Provider can replace the battery to restore full performance and capacity. More about service options…”
Once your phone hits 79% or below, this message should pop up at the top of your screen. That doesn’t mean that your battery will stop functioning altogether, but you do run the risk of experiencing deteriorated phone performance the longer you continue to use it.
The easiest way to know if it’s time for a battery replacement is when its maximum capacity hits 79% or below and you receive the “Your battery’s health is significantly degraded” message.
However, this comes with a big caveat. If you are planning to trade in your phone with a buyback company like GadgetGone, having a degraded battery can have a pretty big impact on your phone’s resale value. Even if your iPhone is fully functional with only some scratches and dings, you could receive between $30-$100 less purely because your battery’s max is less than 80%.
Our recommendation? Plan on upgrading your phone and selling your old iPhone to us at GadgetGone (or at the very least replace your battery) when your iPhone’s battery health reaches the low 80s to ensure optimal trade-in value and functioning.
Old, slow phone got you down?
Sell it to GadgetGone and treat yourself to an upgrade. You’ve earned it.