Your iPhone’s aging lithium-ion batteries will eventually start to lose their ability to retain a charge — and that can be highly frustrating, especially if you’re out and about all day. And that’s not to mention reports that some iPhone batteries — specifically those belonging to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro — may be experiencing more battery degradation than their users expected.
If this is happening to you, there are several solutions available. You can switch over to the latest iPhone, start carrying a battery charger around with you, or simply replace the battery.
To first identify whether your battery is ready for a change, you can check the current health of your battery by going to Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging. This is where you can find out your battery’s current maximum capacity. A small notice at the very top may appear if your iPhone’s battery is ready for a swap.
If you’ve decided to replace the battery, you have two choices: do it yourself or hire someone else — like Apple — to do it for you. Doing it yourself poses several risks — namely, you risk breaking your phone. But if you’d rather do it yourself, there are plenty of guides online, and the process is fairly easy.
Apple has realized that at least some of its customers are ready, willing, and able to replace their iPhone batteries themselves. Its Self Service Repair program offers detailed repair manuals, links to an online service where you can purchase Apple-approved parts, and directions on how to return the old parts for recycling.
A more traditional place to start is iFixit, which offers in-depth explainers of how to proceed. (For example, here is one to use if you own an iPhone 14 Pro.) The process involves unscrewing the back of the phone, mildly heating the lower edge of the phone, using suction cups to remove the display, and following several steps to remove and replace the battery.
Before you start, you’ll need smartphone repair tools, which can cost around $14. (iFixit strongly recommends its own tool called the Anti-Clamp.) Some vendors on Amazon even sell iPhone battery replacement kits for this very purpose, which, depending on the phone, can run upward of $70.
Be aware that if you do choose to do it yourself and have a water-resistant phone, your phone may no longer be water resistant after you’ve opened it up. In addition, if you don’t use one of Apple’s batteries, there’s a good chance that your OS will recognize that there is no longer an Apple-manufactured battery in your phone, which means you may get an occasional warning notice and the Battery Health app won’t work.
Get Apple to do it
If you’d rather get someone else to replace the battery and not risk tampering with your device, Apple offers replacements under several conditions. You have three choices: ship your phone in for repairs; have a provider drive over to your home or office (if one is available); or head to an Apple Store. A physical store repair could be completed in one visit or, in more complex cases, take up to three to five days. Shipping it in will take five to nine days, as you need to wait for Apple to send you a box to collect your iPhone.
As for other costs — it depends. If your iPhone is under warranty or you have AppleCare Plus and Apple deems the battery defective (in other words, it holds less than 80 percent of its original capacity), repairs are free. But if the problem is due to some other factor that isn’t covered by AppleCare Plus — or if you’re not covered by that or a warranty — you’ll have to pay a service fee, depending on the provider. For example, the service fee to switch batteries in an Apple 11 is around $89 (and could vary, depending on the provider); to have someone drive over to your location costs another $30, and mailing it in adds a shipping fee.
If Apple replaces your battery for you, the iPhone should continue to be water resistant.
Finally, if none of this works for you, your timeline, or your budget, there may also be third-party vendors that offer repair services for iPhones in your local neighborhood. But their quality — and whether they use sealing adhesive to maintain water resistance — varies by vendor, so always check reviews and ask questions.
Update August 15th, 2023, 12:48PM ET: This article was originally published on December 21st, 2017, and has been updated to account for service, device, and OS changes.