One of the biggest Apple ‘scandals’ of all time is the iPhone throttling issue back in 2017, where the tech giant revealed that they’ve been intentionally slowing down iPhones without notifying the users.

According to Apple, they do this because the lithium-ion battery inside all phones degrades as time goes by. That’s the reason why they limit older iPhones‘ performance, so it draws less power. This allegedly prevented unexpected shutdowns and other performance issues.

If you’re not aware, battery degradation is a thing on pretty much any kind of battery. And for smartphones, you should start to feel it creeping in after owning the device after 1 to 2 years. The time period varies depending on how each user uses and charges their device.

Now, you might be wondering, what causes battery degradation, and why is your iPhone battery health dropping fast? Read on to learn more about it.

Table of Contents

What are the parts of a smartphone battery?

A smartphone battery typically consists of layers of these materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Gel polymer electrolyte
  • Lithium metal-oxide (cathode)
  • Gel polymer electrolyte
  • Permeable separator
  • Graphite (anode)
  • Copper

These materials then create three different sections:

  • Negative side: Stores the potential energy
  • Positive side: Stores the used energy
  • Electrolyte polymer side: Serves as a path for ions to move from the negative and positive side

What happens inside the phone battery when charging?

The battery can provide power via the chemical reaction happening between the three sections of the device.

When your phone is turned on or used, the electrons in the anode are agitated because they are in a high-energy state. So, they move to the cathode to release energy. This movement of the electrons provides your device the power to stay on.

But now, the electrons have already left their lithium atoms behind. These atoms went back to their neutral state and are now positively charged ions. This is why they start looking for their lost electrons and travel back to the cathode through the electrolyte.

When they go back, there’s no electron left. This is where smartphone charging comes in. Once outside electricity comes in, the electrons looking for ions are forced to go back into the anode, thus reuniting with electrons and are prepared to release energy once more.


How does the chemical reaction result in battery degradation?

The process detailed below is considered a full charge cycle. But the thing is, everytime a full charge cycle happens, the material in the cathode wears down, lowering its capacity to hold the same amount of electrical charge as before.

How many charge cycles before my iPhone battery starts to degrade?

It is said that your iPhone’s battery will start lose 20% of its recharging capability after about 400 charge cycles. This is the reason why lithium-ion batteries only have a shelf life of about 2 to 3 years.

What makes iPhone battery degrade faster?

Battery degradation is inevitable. However, your iPhone’s battery will degrade much faster if you always wait for it to drop to 0% before recharging.

In addition, your battery life will degrade faster if it’s always exposed to extreme temperatures. So, if you’re gaming in hot areas, and your device starts to overheat, it’s best to give it a rest for a while.

Tips on slowing your iPhone battery degradation

As said earlier, there’s no way to prevent your battery from degrading over time. However, you can do a couple of measures to lessen it. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Don’t wait until your battery is at 0% to recharge. We suggest charging it at around 20% or more. This is also probably the reason why Apple chose to make the battery turn red when it hits this percentage.
  • On the flip side, it’s also best to not fully charge your device every time to keep its charge cycle low. You can try charging it until about 80% and pull it out.
  • Use Low Power Mode when you can.
  • Disable WiFi, mobile data and Bluetooth if you don’t need it.
  • Disable battery-intensive features like autoplay videos apps like Facebook and YouTube.
  • Rest the device when it starts to heat up or don’t expose it to extreme temperatures at all.
  • Don’t use extremely fast chargers, as this could also lead to overheating.

We hope we’ve answered your questions as to why your iPhone’s battery health is dropping fast. With the tips we’ve provided above, it will help you slow down your iPhone’s battery degradation.

But in our opinion, it’s better to just use your device as you wish. You can always have the battery replaced, anyway.

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