Phone batteries can last many years, but with age comes the inevitable: the battery will start to lose capacity. Sometimes, you can even experience battery issues in a brand new device. In this post, we discuss how to fix a phone battery that won't hold a charge. We cover tips for charging, storage, and maintenance, as well as how to identify and replace a faulty battery, if possible.
Causes of Battery Issues
Age of the Battery
One of the most common causes of phone battery issues is simply the age of the device. The lithium ion batteries that our phones use are amazing inventions that make our modern electronics possible, but they naturally degrade over time. If your phone won’t last as long as it used to and is getting on in years, the old battery is often to blame.
Li-Ion batteries fare the best in normal temperatures. Basically, if you’re comfortable with the temperature, your phone will be too. Overheating can be the cause of many phone issues, not the least of which is diminished battery life. Avoid prolonged extended sun exposure on your phone, especially on a summer day. Just like you wouldn’t enjoy laying on baking hot cement on a roasting summer day, neither does your phone. Your phone’s battery, screen, and other sensitive internal components will thank you.
Too Many Background Apps
Phones are great multitasking machines, but all that computing power has to come from somewhere. As the processor, RAM, and other internals chug away on all the apps a phone runs and checks in on daily, the battery takes a toll. Social notifications, weather updates, and dozens more actions often run in the background without you realizing it. Some apps run in the background for seemingly no reason at all. This is the case for all phones, no matter the age. In fact, new phones that come preloaded with apps you don’t necessarily want or need can be the worst culprits.
Solutions to Fix Phone Battery Issues
Optimize Your App Usage
One of the easiest things to do to increase your battery life is to uninstall unused apps and restrict app background usage. A bonus: getting rid of those cobweb-collecting apps that haven’t been opened in a year can have a cathartic effect apart from the battery-saving benefit. Likewise, adjusting your remaining apps’ background usage (often in your phone’s app and privacy settings) is an excellent way to make sure that only the essentials are running at any given time. This will take stress off your phone’s CPU and pass those savings onto your battery.
Turn Off Unnecessary Features
If you’re still in low-battery city, there are a few other easy tweaks you can make to increase power savings. Many of these actions are ones your phone makes when it goes into “low battery mode”, but making those changes yourself can have positive effects on battery performance. Turning off features like location services, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi when not in use can have major positive benefits, but a huge battery-hog is arguably the most important feature of any phone: the screen. If you look at your battery usage in your phone’s settings, invariably the number one power user will be the screen. All those nits of ultra-HD brightness come at a cost. Reducing the brightness of your display is an easy way to prolong battery life, as long as you can still see what you’re doing.
Calibrating the Battery
If your battery is draining rapidly and won’t hold a charge for more than a few hours, don’t rush out to to buy a new phone just yet. Sometimes, the charge of a battery and the software that reads that charge can become misaligned. That results in early shutoffs because your phone thinks the battery is depleted. However, performing a calibration may be just the thing that realigns these two factors and gets your phone back to top performance. Check the details for your specific phone, but a battery recalibration usually consists of fully charging your phone, keeping it charged for at least two hours, then letting the battery fully deplete. Fully charging your phone after a full depletion will reset the “markers” that your phone uses to determine when exactly your phone truly is charged and depleted. Mileage may vary, but this method is worth a shot.
Replacing the Battery
If the above tips haven’t resolved your battery issue, don’t despair. Replacing an old battery is a great way to give your phone a facelift for far less than the cost of a new device. If you’re lucky enough to have a phone with a removable back, replacing the battery is as easy as ordering a replacement and popping it in. However, many phones are sealed and not easily accessible. There’s still hope in these cases. Apple provides battery replacement services for iPhones, even for free if you have AppleCare. Results may vary, but phone repair shops in your area may also be able to replace a battery in an otherwise well-performing device. You may have even experienced the infamous “swollen battery” problem where an aged or unstable Li-Ion battery balloons in size, sometimes completely ruining the device it’s housed in. These batteries hazardous and should be disposed of properly. No, not in the garbage can -- they should be taken to a proper e-waste disposal facility. Sites like this one are helpful to find an electronics recycler in your area.
The happy result of battery replacement? A lower-cost revitalization of your phone that keeps e-waste out of landfills everywhere.
A phone battery issue is a surefire way to ruin your day. Luckily, there are a few simple tricks to try before throwing in the towel and replacing your phone altogether. By taking action to fix the issue, you can save yourself money and aggravation. From software fixes like removing unwanted apps and killing needless background processes, to trying out a battery recalibration, there are many methods to battery improvement that are well worth the effort. Even replacing the battery altogether is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way of instilling new life into your cherished device. And remember, once you get that issue fixed, have a look at our ultra-premium, highly-protective cases and tempered glass to keep that phone looking sharp for more years to come.