When you've had your cellphone for a long time, you can encounter battery problems that signal you have a worn out or defective battery. Signs of a bad cellphone battery range from a phone that won't turn on at all to problems with overheating and poor battery life. While you can often identify these problems through regular phone use and observation, you can use mobile apps and built-in tools that warn you about potential battery issues. Depending on the phone and your technical ability, you may be able to buy a battery and install it yourself, or you may need to take your phone to a repair center.
Understanding Battery Life Spans
While various factors can affect the life of your phone's battery, the charger company Charby advises you can usually expect up to 500 complete charge cycles – or between two and three years of use – before you notice a significant decline in battery life and performance. For example, Apple mentions that iPhone batteries retain about 80 percent of the normal capacity after the user has completed 500 charge cycles. Eventually, the capacity won't suffice for satisfactory phone use.
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Usually, you can find the specific number of charge cycles on your manufacturer's website. Keep in mind that the charge cycle number shown reflects typical operating conditions. For example, leaving your phone in a hot environment for a long time or letting your phone discharge completely before you recharge can shorten the battery's life and lead to earlier replacement.
Checking for Bad Battery Signs
If you're wondering whether you need to replace your battery, you've probably already noticed some common warning signs.
You may charge your phone to 100 percent only to have the battery quickly deplete within a few hours, or you may have no luck getting the battery to charge at all and need to keep it plugged up to use it. You might also experience problems where your phone is hot and shuts down from overheating. Your phone may also shut down or restart suddenly for no known reason at all.
In some of the worst cases, you might see the battery bulging out of the device to the point where the front or back of the phone lifts up. In this case, you should avoid using the phone entirely since a swollen battery could explode or leak and cause harm.
Using Battery Health Tools
Whether you want to check your battery's general health or follow up based on some of the ominous battery signs you noticed, you can use a battery health monitoring tool.
If you have an iPhone running at iOS 11.3 or later, you can find a "Battery" option in the Settings app and tap "Battery Health" to see your phone's maximum capacity and how its performance has degraded. Users with older iOS versions can install a third-party app called Battery Life that provides similar information as the built-in setting.
If you have an Android phone, download a third-party app like AccuBattery. This app provides the same remaining capacity information as the iOS options and informs you about how your phone habits have affected the battery.
Exploring Battery Replacement Options
If you've had your phone for a year or less, check your manufacturer's warranty because you could get a free battery replacement due to a defect. The same applies if you've paid for an extended warranty through the manufacturer, phone carrier or third-party company. You may be able to visit a local repair center or mail in your phone or battery for a free replacement.
Otherwise, explore paid battery replacement options based on your phone. For example, iPhones don't have batteries that the average user can remove and replace, so you need to take your phone to an Apple Store or another repair professional for the process. Some Android phones have replaceable batteries, so fixing the issue could require buying a battery online, popping off the back of the phone, and swapping out the old removable battery. Other Android phones need a professional to handle the process unless you have the expertise to do it safely.