Debunking iPhone Battery Myths

Battery Charging and Battery Health Myths

There are numerous theories about iPhone battery and battery health floating around the internet. Almost every Tech YouTuber has a different take on what could harm the Lithium-Ion Battery inside the iPhone. Most of them have a lot of contexts that they miss out so I decided I will just debunk the common battery myths and give context to some answers already out there:

  • Myth #1: Killing iPhone to 0% is Okay

No. It’s not. When your iPhone goes below 20%, you might see a pop-up on the screen asking you if you want to activate the lower-power mode. This is just to give you some extra time until you find a charger for your iPhone. Also, when you finally drop down to 0% and the iPhone shuts down, your iPhone is just preventing you from using it further and asking you to find a charger ASAP. It’s not going to deteriorate the battery health unless you keep it uncharged at 0% for hours after the shutdown. However, even one such complete battery drain can reduce battery health by some significant amount. If you wish to keep your iPhone with you for a long time without a battery replacement then this is something to be aware of. It’s just a matter of time until the iPhone can recalibrate the battery’s health.

So: When the iPhone finally shuts down at 0%, people may or may not make a priority to charge it instantly, depending on your priorities, which is why the lower-power mode pop-ups appear. Hence, it is advisable to not kill the battery all the way to 0%.

  • Myth #2: Any adapter and lightning cable are fine for charging

Actually, no. When it comes to lightning cables and adapters, it’s better to be a little careful while buying them. Some adapters, while being cheap, could have some really bad engineering within that may not be good at regulating voltage. Now again, iPhones like many other smartphones have an amazing charging mechanism and know when the phone is getting too hot to stop the charge but it’s still better to not make the adapter itself hot in case you have the habit of leaving your phone to charge for a long time.

Now cables usually are less probably to charging accidents. However, a bad connector at the end may be bad for the charging port of your iPhone. A loose connector could break off easily inside the iPhone’s charging port. If the gold plating on the connector is not good enough, it may not help in resisting corrosion and thus corroding your device’s charging port. Lastly, the cable should be good enough to carry the current from the adapter — whether it’s 5W or 25W.

So: For adapters, prefer companies like Anker, Mi, Samsung, etc. For the cables, always prefer MFi-certified lightning cables. MFi stands for “Made For iPhone” and can be considered to be as safe as the original Apple cables. You might find some cheaper MFi cables on Amazon or Best Buy that are also much more durable than the Apple Lightning cables.

  • Myth #3: Charging Overnight is okay.

Yes. It is okay. So how is that a myth? Well, mostly because of the context it lacks everywhere. If you have Optimised Battery Charging turned on, then you need not worry about charging overnight. Just let your iPhone understand your usage pattern for a few days or weeks and then it would learn to keep your phone at 80% throughout the night and then slowly charge to 100% when you wake up.

Apple does not reveal how it works out these algorithms that determine when the iPhone should finish charging but for me, it always finishes charging an hour or two before I wake up. Now, this is not a bad thing compared to people who keep their phones at 100% for hours at night. I think this mechanism works best for people who are up for battery replacement every two years like the way Apple recommends (without being paranoid). Otherwise, you can charge it manually and see how your battery performs.

So: Charging overnight with Optimised Battery Charging turned on can be a good thing if you are okay replacing your battery every 2 years.

  • Myth 4: Bluetooth Accessories and Sharing System Notifications does not drain the battery that much

Yes, it does. And so does Cellular Data. If you have AirPods or AirTags connected 24x7 then this would certainly drain your battery (Read: Not Battery Health). AirTags keep pinging your iPhone when they are in the NFC range and AirPods are constantly connected to all your nearby Apple devices (especially after iOS 14 that allows seamless connectivity with multiple Apple Products). Third-party watches could drain more battery than the Apple Watch if you share system notifications on them along with their native app that may run in the background for syncing.

So: You could try turning off the multiple-device connectivity for AirPods if you wish to preserve the battery. For AirTags, try resetting them in case you see FindMy working in the background for a long time without any reason. For other third-party Bluetooth accessories, try switching off background activity for their native apps.

  • Myth #5: Using Extended Batteries on older iPhones is good

Yes. It can be good. Now, I have heard this “extended-battery” term only for older iPhones like the iPhone 6, 6s, and 7 so this might not be true for all iPhone models. Also, make sure you get the battery from a good company if you are going for a replacement from a third-party service.

So: Beware of the company you buy a third-part battery from. These batteries though having extra mAh might not have enough voltage to power the phone (in the future).

  • Myth #6: My iPhone is at 100% Battery Health for a long time now and all these myths were true for me. Why should I care?

Big Myth. So your phone might not be at 100% BH after months. So there is this video by Payette Forward that may help explain this better. Not all batteries are manufactured with the same stock specifications mentioned. Say, an iPhone 6s that is rated to have a 1715 mAh battery, could have 1690 mAh or maybe 1800 mAh. This mAh specs that your battery is manufactured and shipped with is called the MaximumFCC. So as long as your iPhone 6s does not drop down from 1800 to 1715, it will continue showing 100% Battery Health in settings. Hence, the longer duration. In a nutshell, you are just got lucky.

So: Your battery might have degraded but may not be visible because of this reason. Every time the software gets updated, battery recalibration is performed and hence, the change in battery health. So now, you can quit checking battery health every day for no reason.

~Aditya Darekar

Related Readings:

  1. 3 Tips for an iPhone user to help save time and be a Power User

2. Thoughts on WWDC’21 : A Fun-Take, a Serious-Take and What it means for future Apple products

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Aditya Darekar

Aditya Darekar

Since you have finally stumbled upon me, Hi There! Love to write about Tech, Productivity, Books, DIY Cooking and sharing some Life Stories you may like.