You use your smartphone all the time, and you notice that the battery drains faster as it gets older. This might come with a slew of other issues — slow app loading, trouble connecting to the internet or mobile data, or other problems associated with age. At this point, many people feel that it is time to get a new phone, but this can be very expensive.
Instead, more people are replacing the batteries in their phones. As newer smartphone models change, it is harder to get to the battery without potentially damaging the case, the screen, and the inner workings of the phone.
If you want to change the battery on your smartphone, whether it is an iPhone, Samsung, or Android, it is important to know how to do this right the first time.
What Is the Best Way to Replace My Phone's Battery?
There are dozens of smartphone models these days, with a few common frontrunners that most people own. Apple products, Samsung phones, and Android-compatible phones like Google Pixel or HTC devices are all just a few examples of the range of phones available on the market.
One of the first parts of the device to age is the battery. Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type in smartphones, and these age as they go through more charging cycles.
Of course, the more the phone is used, the more charging cycles the battery goes through. As the battery drains faster, it will go through even more charging cycles, creating a runaway problem.
As the battery life shortens, applications on the phone may take longer to load, requiring more power than they get. This is especially true when apps update, and the new code takes more energy than the older code.
Because there are so many types of smartphones, it is important to know how to replace the battery on your specific phone. Should you do it yourself? Can the store do it for you? What happens if you replace the battery and it doesn’t change how well your phone works?
We’ve outlined some examples of popular phones and how their batteries can be replaced.
iPhone: Apple is responsible for some of the most popular smartphones on the market, and thousands of consumers have remained loyal to iPhones for more than a decade. The company keeps strict Terms of Service and warranties, so opening the device to replace the battery yourself usually means that the company will not help you if something else goes wrong.
Because there are so many models of iPhone and fans of nearly every version, Apple has begun to offer in-store battery replacement with their experts. To encourage iPhone users to have their battery safely and efficiently changed by a professional, the company lowered the cost of battery replacement in 2017 from $79 to $29. After you pay this flat fee, it can take several days for the experts at Apple to replace the battery, so you may be without your phone during this time.
It is also worth considering whether you should simply get a new iPhone. If your phone is less than two years old, replacing the battery is still worth the cost. If the phone is older than that, it may not run some apps, as code updates are designed for newer operating systems.
Samsung: Like Apple, Samsung has many loyal followers and a sleek, modern design to their phones. Their lithium-ion batteries are durable, but they will begin to lose their charge exponentially faster over time.
It is possible to replace these batteries yourself, but it takes some effort, so you do not damage the case on your phone. It also requires specialized tools. Steps include:
- Make sure your battery is discharged to less than 25 percent for safety reasons.
- Apply a heated iOpener to the case for about two minutes.
- Using a special suction cup, get as close to the heated edge as you can, and make a good seal on the curved portion of the glass.
- Lift the suction cup, and insert the opening pick.
- Slide the pick along the sides, applying repeatedly to weaken the adhesive.
- Add a second pick, and then a third pick, to pry the device open.
- Remove the 12 proprietary screws.
- Using a spudger, lift out the charging coil and other pieces.
- Apply heat again to loosen the battery adhesive, or use isopropyl alcohol.
- Use the picks to gently pry the battery out, and insert its replacement.
- Put the pieces back.
Although these steps are easy to find on the internet, and they work for Samsung phones along with other models, the process comes with some serious risks. The adhesive around the case creates weather and water resistance. Removing that means your device is more likely to suffer damage.
You might damage parts as you remove them, making your phone unusable. Deforming the lithium-ion battery can leak chemicals, cause fires, or even lead to an explosion.
There are licensed Samsung phone repair groups in stores like Best Buy around the country. If your phone’s battery needs to be replaced, it is better to find an expert for help than put yourself, your phone, and your phone’s warranty at risk.
Android: If you’re using older model smartphones, many have removable batteries. You can unlock the hinges at the back of your phone, check what model of battery you need, and find it easily online or in a store.
Fewer companies support these older phones though, so finding the correct model of battery can be hard. There will be many other reasons your phone runs slower, so the money spent on new batteries is cash that could go toward a new smartphone.
In the past few years, sleek design and demands for weather resistance mean that fewer smartphones have accessible batteries. The cases look like one piece, perhaps two, with just the hint of a seam around the thin edge of the phone. Opening these phones is risky.
You could crack your screen, crack another part of the case, or damage components resting on the other side. This will also void your warranty.
There are still steps you can take to opening these cases, which put you at less risk of damaging your phone. But if your phone carrier or manufacturer offers battery replacement, it is worth trying.
Should You Bother Fixing the Battery?
You may notice your phone’s battery is beginning to drain faster within six months of using the device, especially if you use it all the time. While it may be noticeable, it is rare that this becomes an inconvenience until a year or two into owning the device. At this point, you may need to charge your phone multiple times per day, making it harder to be out and about for long periods.
After two years, there may be a new phone out you want to purchase, or there may be other issues with your phone. Instead of replacing the battery, you can get the new phone you want and sell your older phone for cash instead of paying to fix a device you may not like as much anyway.
Replacing the battery can fix some of the issues with your phone, but it will not fix everything, and it is a temporary solution.
- iPhone Slowing Down? It Might Be Time to Replace Your Battery. (December 28, 2017). Consumer Reports.
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Battery Replacement. iFixIt.
- Samsung Care Authorized Service Provider. Best Buy.
- How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Battery? (August 28, 2017). How-To Geek.