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11th September 2020
Welcome back from the summer break dear readers…
As the world now returns to the virtual office, I thought I would update you on a series of Bytes from a little while back to give you the complete picture on how it went.
Some of you with long memories may remember that I embarked on something called the Old Phone Challenge back in January 2019. Click the link for the full details, but in summary, I did this because Enterprises are often looking to sweat their iPhone assets for longer and I wanted to see what the pros and cons are in doing this.
So, to test it I took a used iPhone 6S that was 3 years old at the time and activated it as though it was my “new” device.
The last update I did on that was back in mid-January 2019 and you will see that I said I was keeping it…
So, why am I coming back to this now??
Simple really, the iPhone 6S has (as of last week) finally been replaced!!
Yes… I really did keep using that phone for a further 20 months. However, I finally caved in and took a deal on an iPhone 11 Pro.
How has it been then?
If we go back to the original posts, you’ll see that my comments were mainly about two areas:
- The iPhone 6S still does most things the latest phones do well enough for me
- The battery life was a concern
On the first point over the years this has generally been true. I’ve not had many situations where I’ve felt I’m missing out by having such an old device, but there was one scenario that clearly stressed the device to its limit. Wireless CarPlay, it would work fine, but the phone would get very very hot doing this and would need to be plugged into power (ironically as it’s wireless) to avoid the battery being wiped out in minutes. It would also on occasion stop working reliably when the phone overheated!
The old CPU in this device was clearly being stretched to its limits by the newer features that had been added to the OS since its launch, but this was the only time it was obvious to me.
Back in 2019, this was the most obvious challenge I faced. The 3-year-old device was already showing signs of battery distress and at the time I was hopeful that a few tips and tricks would extend its life.
And they did, for a short while, but by the middle of 2019, it was struggling again to be useable for a whole day. As a trial, I bought a replacement battery kit from Amazon. For £20, I got a kit that contained all the tools needed (just about) and a battery that was actually a higher capacity than the original one.
Given I was happy with the risk of potentially breaking it, I decided to try out this DIY route. I mean, how hard can it be?? The answer dear reader is very very hard! Getting the phone apart is fiddly, but getting the old battery out highlighted how these devices were not really designed with end-user servicing in mind. Amazingly after much pulling scraping, brute force and burning my finger (don’t ask), I finally managed to get the battery replaced and the phone back together.
And since then the battery has been amazing!
So, I just carried on using it for far longer than I ever thought I would if I’m honest.
It’s been a fascinating experiment. The 64GB iPhone 6S I’ve been using was not too far off its 5th birthday and yet:
- It still looks reasonably recent… the iPhone SE2 is still basically the same chassis
- It can still do everything I needed (minor CarPlay issues aside) and it is still getting updates
The ultimate limiting factor is the battery life. By getting batteries replaced after 2-3 years, the fully productive lifespan of an iPhone can be stretched out significantly.
I just wouldn’t recommend doing it yourself. Seriously… leave it to the experts. Lithium batteries are not something to mess around with.
And finally, this iPhone 6S is now going on to its delighted 3rd owner (mother-in-law wants a smartphone) and will likely continue to be used for some considerable time to come. It really is possible to make the most of the long update cycle Apple provide – note the 6S is getting iOS14 soon so it still got another year in it at least!
Be interesting now to see how its replacement does!