iPhone battery

Brown’s Bytes – The Old Phone Challenge: Week 2 Update… And Conclusion

Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes

18th January 2019

Regular readers will know that I’ve been trying out a challenge to start the New Year: to see how I get on if I use an old phone as if it was my new upgraded device.

Pop back to the first byte of the year to see more about why I’m doing this, but in summary, I am testing the theory that it may no longer be necessary to upgrade devices every 2 years.

So, I’m up and running, using an iPhone 6S that is just over 3 years old. It has now been in constant use for the last 2 weeks and the only major wrinkle has been:

Battery Life!

As hinted at last week this has been the obvious area for concern. Upon booting up my “new” phone for the first time, I made a point of charging it up to 100% before I started activating it. That activation, and the associated App installs chewed through my battery at an alarming rate. Within an hour I was down to 20% battery. I decided to plough on and work under the assumption that the device was simply doing quite a lot of intensive CPU work during that activation phase and that it would most likely settle down.

So, I popped it back on charge to top it up and tried again.

Next day it was still alarming how quickly the battery was running down and I started to wonder if this was going to be a deal breaker…

Simple reason for this is a rather obvious one… for any device to be considered suitable for use in the Enterprise it has to have a battery that can last a day of “normal” usage. I put normal in quotes as there is simply no such thing due to the different ways users interact with their phones.

Most of the time I’d class myself as a medium level user when it comes to battery life. I do use my phone quite a bit, but it tends to be for very business-level stuff (email, phone calls, navigating around, etc).

The problem was simply that there was no way I was going to make it through a day. The battery must have had it…

However, hopping over the iPhone Battery Health settings I was greeted with a less gloomy picture. According to my phone, the maximum capacity of my battery was still 84% and it therefore was still running at “Peak Performance Capability” (remember the hoo-ha last year about iPhones slowing down to preserve battery – well mine isn’t).

Despite this I was reaching the point of either:

  1. Binning the phone and the challenge
  2. Getting a new battery

Option 2 felt like a bit of a cheat, but I looked into it. I could obviously take it back to Apple for a new Battery. This would have been a no brainer last year as Apple were offering Battery replacements for £25, but that offer ended at the end of 2018. The price has now risen, and I wasn’t prepared to chuck more money than that at an old phone.

Looking on Amazon I found that for £25 I could get a kit that included the battery and tools to do the job myself. It would even be a higher capacity battery than originally fitted (which was particularly interesting as well).

I wasn’t too far off clicking the order button, but before I did there was one last thing to try… and it’s so simple you wonder if it could really do any good.

DRAIN THE BATTERY AND FULLY CHARGE IT!

Yup – that’s it! This is simple hack to help extend battery life. Simply let the phone go flat (completely dead) and then charge it back up to 100%… and repeat a few times.

And stone me if it didn’t work!! Suddenly the phone is back to normal – battery life is now acceptable for a day of use!

Conclusion

So, after all that, I now have a working iPhone 6S and do you know what… it works fine. I’m keeping it!

The phone does everything I need just fine. The screen is a little small, but I’m used to that now. It just works… and I also prefer Fingerprint ID to Face ID if I’m honest, so I’m not particularly upset at missing out on the x* range.

So, there you go… Old phones can actually be acceptable in the modern Enterprise world.

Just check the battery!