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New model iPhone batteries could have shorter life spans
February 4, 2018, 10:36 pm

In an apparent bad news for owners of the latest iPhone models, tests have revealed that batteries in the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X may have shorter life spans than prior models. A recharge cycle on Lithium-ion batteries occurs when a phone is charged from zero power to 100 percent. Typically, phone batteries begin losing their effectiveness after 500 recharges. Up to that point, they can hold up to 80 percent of their charge. After that, it is usually downhill for the battery. Until we come up with a feasible alternative to the Lithium-ion battery, we are stuck with this inherent technological drawback.

Tests conducted on the new iPhone models show that these models hit over 100 recharge cycles in less than four months. This was a much faster rate than that of previous models and implies that batteries could begin to lose their charge capacities in just 20 months. Batteries in previous models could last at least three years before hitting the 500 recycle mark.

Wireless and fast-charging features of the new iPhones make charging more convenient, so people could tend to charge their phones more often, resulting in an accelerated recycle count. However, technicians say that wireless charging technology does not specifically have an impact on battery life span, as how fast you reach the 80 percent capacity depends on how heavily you use the phone and the number of recharges it would consequently need. For example, if you are streaming video continuously, that will reduce the capacity of the phone much more quickly than if you are using it for light web browsing.

The life span problem is not restricted to the latest iPhones, even on existing iPhones many people complain they need to replace their battery every 18 months or so. It is just that this latest battery flap comes on the heels of Apple’s controversial decision to throttle the processors in older iPhone models with low-capacity batteries.

Apple has attempted to quell the uproar over that move by offering battery replacements for older models at the discounted price of US$29. Apple handled the performance-throttling issue as it has handled past technical problems, by slowly working its way from denial to actively creating a fix. However, the real problem here is that Apple has been pretending that you do not really need to replace batteries frequently, and it is clear now that the batteries need to be replaced more often than the phones do, said one tech analyst.

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