How to check the battery health on iPhone

Find out how to check the battery health on iPhone, what Optimized Battery Charging means, and how to why you should turn it on.

Apple allows you to check the battery health of your iPhone. This is useful if you want to find out your iPhone battery’s condition without installing any third-party apps. In this post, I’ll show you how to check battery health on your iPhone and briefly discuss what the iPhone battery’s Maximum Capacity means and how you can increase battery longevity by using Optimized Battery Charging.

Rechargeable batteries on phones are consumable components that age over time. As batteries are charged, and that charge is depleted over and over again, after a long period of time, they start to lose their capacity of how much charge they can hold. This is the simplified reason why your battery stops performing at 100% capacity after several months or years.

You can check the maximum capacity of your iPhone battery by navigating to the Battery Health page. You can get there in two ways:

  1. The faster way: Go to Home screen → Swipe down anywhere to open the search box → type “Battery” → tap on “Battery Health.”
  2. Conventional way: Go to Settings → Battery → Battery Health.

On the Battery Health page, you will notice a percentage showing up next to “Maximum capacity.” This is the maximum capacity of your iPhone battery as of now.

What does the maximum capacity mean on iPhone battery health?

As mentioned above, phone batteries age over time, which contributes to the battery losing the capacity of how much charge it can keep compared to when the battery was new. iPhone’s Maximum Capacity on the Battery Health page tells you how much charge it can hold right now in relation to the battery’s original capacity.

If the maximum capacity is at 100%, it means the battery can hold 100% of its charging capacity like when it was new. Here’s how Apple describes it: “Maximum Capacity is a measure of battery capacity relative to when it was new. Lower capacity may result in fewer hours of usage between charges.”

It’s important to understand that having your iPhone battery’s maximum capacity below 100% doesn’t mean that the battery is bad or ruined. If you see that your iPhone battery’s maximum capacity is below 100%, don’t feel frustrated, and certainly don’t blame it on the iPhone.

Naturally, all phone batteries lose capacity over time. iPhone is just the one that will show it to you on a dedicated system page. (On Android phones, you need a third-party app to check this.)

It’s important to understand that having your iPhone battery’s maximum capacity below 100% doesn’t mean that the battery is bad or ruined.

If you just bought the iPhone and it’s showing you the battery’s maximum health capacity is below 100%, you might want to take it back to the Apple store. But if it’s been several months since you bought it, and the battery maximum capacity is below 100%, it might be just natural.

That brings us to the next question.

Why is my iPhone battery’s maximum capacity is below 100%?

In addition to natural reasons (that batteries simply lose some capacity as they age), your charging habit hugely influences how the phone battery performs over time.

In fact, it’s true for all kinds of rechargeable batteries: Phones, laptops, smartwatches, the one in your UPS, etc.

Generally, you would want to avoid a few things to ensure that your iPhone battery’s maximum capacity isn’t decreasing faster than it should. Here are some tips for a long-lasting maximum battery capacity.

  • Don’t leave your phone connected to the charger at all times. If you have to, make sure Optimized Battery Charging is turned on. More on this later.
  • Don’t frequently drain your iPhone battery all the way down (like to 10%) and then charge it all the way to 100%. (Frequently is the keyword here. Doing this occasionally is fine.)
  • Avoid keeping your iPhone in too hot or too cold conditions for a long period of time.

Again, the maximum capacity of your iPhone battery will eventually go down, as does the battery for all other phones in the world, but by following those tips, and enabling Optimized Battery Charging, you can expect to slow down the depletion of your iPhone battery’s maximum capacity.

What is Optimized Battery Charging

iOS 13 and later versions ship with a feature called Optimized Battery Charging that helps preserve the battery for longevity.

From Apple, “Optimized Battery Charging is designed to reduce the wear on your battery and improve its lifespan by reducing the time your iPhone spends fully charged.”

Basically, it’s Apple’s way of ensuring your battery doesn’t stay connected to the charger longer than necessary (one of the points I mentioned above). Apple can’t physically disconnect the iPhone from the charger to prevent overcharging, but it can use its software magic (isn’t all software magic?) to prevent the iPhone from receiving power from the wall.

How does Optimized Battery Charging work on iPhone

Apple does this in the following way:

  • Using “on-device machine learning,” your iPhone learns when and how long you keep your iPhone connected to the charger even after it has finished charging.
  • iPhone then ‘stops’ charging after it reaches 80% charge, but it does so only in certain situations, not always.
  • When? This is where the aforementioned “on-device machine learning” comes into play. iPhone will eventually detect a pattern when you keep it connected to the charger longer than necessary, and that’s when it will stop charging after the battery reaches 80%.
  • iPhone will resume charging the battery in a way that will ensure the battery is at 100% when you disconnect it from the charger.

It’s a pretty sweet feature, with the caveat that it only works if there is a pattern in how often you charge your iPhone. If you randomly do it throughout the day and iPhone can’t find a pattern, it probably won’t work, but I’m convinced that most people have a charging pattern.

In my case, I usually charge the iPhone overnight, disconnecting it at around 6 in the morning. Several days of this, and one day, iPhone stopped charging it after 80% in the middle of the night, only to resume charging closer to 6 am. This way, the iPhone is always at 100% charge in the morning even though it stopped charging midway at night.

Should you disable Optimized Battery Charging?

You can also disable this feature altogether. But my recommendation is to keep it turned on to optimize the battery.

iPhone shows a message on the lockscreen when it ‘delays’ charging to 100%. If you want, you can ask it to start charging to 100% at any time, bypassing the Optimized Battery Charging. So there really isn’t any reason to disable Optimized Battery Charging on your iPhone.

After all, the feature is developed and enabled by default to ensure your battery lasts longer.

More about Battery Health on iPhone

If you want to dig down further into what everything means on the Battery Health page on iPhone, or if you are seeing messages like Important Battery Message, you should check out this page over at Apple which explains what they mean.

Up next, don’t forget to check out “How to improve iPhone battery life” to find some general and iPhone-specific tips that will help prolong the battery life on your iPhone.

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