How to Know if Your iPhone Battery is on Death Row

The ugly truth about your iPhone battery? It's got a lifespan of less than two years, but may not even last that long if you're careless. Here are expert tips to help you take better care of it - and then know when to send it to that recycling bin in the sky.

Wed, March 17, 2010

CIO — Apple posted details of its iPad battery replacement service earlier this week. Mind you,the iPad isn't even expected to hit the stores until April 3rd. Perhaps Apple has learned something from the battery life backlash that continues to plague its iconic iPhone.

"The iPad's typical use scenario is sans power cord, whereas the power cord travels with the laptop," says Aaron Vronko, CEO of Raid Repair, which services broken iPods and iPhones and replaces worn-out batteries. "It's the biggest device to be used off the power cord most of the time. That makes the battery a huge factor in the success of this device and how it's received by its audience."

Apple's iPad $99 battery replacement service is a bit of a misnomer; Apple will replace the entire iPad, not the battery.

Already, the iPad battery has come under fire. The iPad's 10-inch LCD display requires a battery that's more than five times the capacity and size of the iPhone 3GS battery. The screen alone consumes roughly 2 watts per hour, Vronko says, and will drain the large battery in 12 hours by itself.

Apple, which claims the iPad has a 10-hour battery life, doesn't want the iPad to face the kind of vitriolic complaints regarding battery life that the iPhone has endured since its debut.

Bad News: Your iPhone Battery Is Dying

Every time you go through a charge cycle on your iPhone, you'll permanently lose anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute of battery capacity. Typically, you'll get 250 to 500 charge cycles before a lithium ion battery has outlived its usefulness, Vronko says.

(A charge cycle covers the entire capacity of the battery. For instance, if you drained a third of the battery and recharged it, and then used two-thirds of the battery the next day and recharged it, this would still be considered a single charge cycle.)

Using your iPhone in extreme temperatures—below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or above 95 degrees—will degrade the battery capacity faster, he says. Also, you shouldn't regularly run your iPhone battery completely down before recharging it. Doing these things will shave maybe a minute and half off the total battery capacity per charge cycle, Vronko says.

However, it's a good practice to run the battery dead before fully recharging it once a month to keep the chip on the battery and the chip on the device that measure the current flowing back and forth in sync . This is one of Vronko's six tips for cleaning and caring for your iPhone.

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