iPhone SE Battery life : "melts" in use, good in standby?

RoseGold11

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2019
6
0
My iPhone SE is on the latest iOS 12.something. Fully "settled" after the last update, most of the apps have background refresh disabled. Battery health currently at 87%.

I'm wondering if this is normal battery behavior for SE or whether I should look into getting a battery replacement soon:

In standby mode, battery life is pretty good, lasts a few days if I don't use the phone (or only use it very sparingly, such as to make an occasional phone call or send a text message.)

But in use, the battery just melts. Say listening to music with screen off, or browsing the web. Seems to drain much faster than my previous (Android--this is my first iPhone) phones or my iPads. My current iPad--original 12.9" iPad Pro from a few years ago--has the worst battery life out of my previous iPads, and it still doesn't drain as fast as this phone when in use.

I'm going on a trip in a few days, and I wonder how practical it will be to bring the iPhone with me if I will need to reference google maps periodically for walking to places and look things up. It might not even last a full day with a full charge in this kind of use, when I'd be out from morning to evening doing touristy stuff. I don't mean continuous use either--I don't use and constantly check facebook, what's app, instagram, and similar. My use is for music playback, internet and mail checks, occasional calls/texts/hangouts chat, map use.

In general, for those of you who've had and used iPhone SE--is it normal for it to have reasonably good standby battery life but poor in-use battery life? Is it a sign of deteriorating battery or just normal? 87% health/max capacity is not terrible, but maybe it's not linear for performance.

Thanks.
 

RoseGold11

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2019
6
0
Sounds like the battery needs replacement.. Apple will do it for $49 now.
Yeah it's not too bad, that's why I'm considering it. I just want to establish whether the battery is the culprit to what I'm seeing.
 

RoseGold11

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2019
6
0
Interesting, thank you. I will try the battery saver mode today.
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87% on the native battery health app is probably 84-85% in real life. If you have an iMac you can download coconut battery to get a more accurate reading.
Unfortunately I don't have any MacOS devices, only Windows computers, and then iOS: iPad and this iPhone.
 

JPack

macrumors 601
Mar 27, 2017
4,896
7,163
Anything under 90% should be replaced. It might not seem bad with 87%, but at 80% the battery reaches end of life and many users will tell you they have a very difficult experience at that point.
 

RoseGold11

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2019
6
0
Odd behavior today.

I've been using the Battery Saver mode for the past couple days to see if it will help with battery life, and it does somewhat but not entirely alleviating the battery drainage with screen on.

Today I ordered Uber, and as I was waiting for it, phone battery percent was at 44%. While I was getting into the car, I noticed my phone powering down. I thought I had pressed something on it ,but it seemed unlikely. When I tried to power it back on, I got the error message that battery was too low level to turn on and the red battery indicator. After a few minutes I tried again--after all it did say it had over 40% remaining only a short time earlier. This time it did power on and show 10% battery level. While I was navigating to settings -> battery, the phone powered off again.

I waited until I got home to plug in the phone. When the phone received charging power it automatically turned on, and the battery indicator read 34%! It wouldn't have had time to charge from 10% or thereabouts within 15 seconds of being plugged in, so at least one of those readings was wrong. All over the place... It seems like it's not gauging the low level charge state correctly. I did get the forced performance readjustment after unexpected shut down, and I'll keep it enabled.

Looks like I won't be taking this phone on my trip but will go back to my trusty OnePlus One. When I return, I'll get a replacement battery. Too bad I missed the battery replacement discount that was offered at the end of last year :(
 

JPack

macrumors 601
Mar 27, 2017
4,896
7,163
Odd behavior today.

I've been using the Battery Saver mode for the past couple days to see if it will help with battery life, and it does somewhat but not entirely alleviating the battery drainage with screen on.

Today I ordered Uber, and as I was waiting for it, phone battery percent was at 44%. While I was getting into the car, I noticed my phone powering down. I thought I had pressed something on it ,but it seemed unlikely. When I tried to power it back on, I got the error message that battery was too low level to turn on and the red battery indicator. After a few minutes I tried again--after all it did say it had over 40% remaining only a short time earlier. This time it did power on and show 10% battery level. While I was navigating to settings -> battery, the phone powered off again.

I waited until I got home to plug in the phone. When the phone received charging power it automatically turned on, and the battery indicator read 34%! It wouldn't have had time to charge from 10% or thereabouts within 15 seconds of being plugged in, so at least one of those readings was wrong. All over the place... It seems like it's not gauging the low level charge state correctly. I did get the forced performance readjustment after unexpected shut down, and I'll keep it enabled.

Looks like I won't be taking this phone on my trip but will go back to my trusty OnePlus One. When I return, I'll get a replacement battery. Too bad I missed the battery replacement discount that was offered at the end of last year :(
You definitely have a bad battery and should have replaced earlier. In cold weather, battery capacity is reduced.

Furthermore, a battery capacity of 87% does not equate to battery health. Battery health is measured by a number of other factors not shown in iOS, including battery impedance. Old batteries have high impedance which means they cannot deliver the current and voltage required. Even if the battery capacity is good, it is no good if the battery can't deliver that energy in a short period time.
 

RoseGold11

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2019
6
0
You definitely have a bad battery and should have replaced earlier. In cold weather, battery capacity is reduced.

Furthermore, a battery capacity of 87% does not equate to battery health. Battery health is measured by a number of other factors not shown in iOS, including battery impedance. Old batteries have high impedance which means they cannot deliver the current and voltage required. Even if the battery capacity is good, it is no good if the battery can't deliver that energy in a short period time.
I only got this phone a couple of weeks ago from someone else, so I couldn't have replaced the battery earlier. I would have definitely done so back when it cost $29 not that long ago =/ Its primary function was to be a music player as a "better iPod", but then I decided I liked it enough to use as a phone full time.
 

trfc54

macrumors member
Jan 12, 2019
53
37
I only got this phone a couple of weeks ago from someone else, so I couldn't have replaced the battery earlier. I would have definitely done so back when it cost $29 not that long ago =/ Its primary function was to be a music player as a "better iPod", but then I decided I liked it enough to use as a phone full time.
Share your results when you get it replaced! I am thinking to do the same, but I'm not sure if its iOS 12 causing the drain, or my SE. I suppose I can get like 4 ish hours of screen time just browsing safari on a single charge at the moment, with everything else battery optimized, including staying in low power mode.
 

Kraizelburg

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2018
264
76
Spain
I think iphone SE battery life is just poor. I'm thinking to get one as a secondary device as I have a xiaomi MiA1 as my main device, but after reading all these post I'm thinking maybe is not a good choice.

I'm so used to my MI A1 and its 6hr screen on time that having only 2.5-3 hours SOT seems pretty poor.
 

tonybarnaby

macrumors 68000
Dec 3, 2017
1,831
1,251
All iPhones excel in standby drain, but none of the smaller models (non plus/max/xr) have ever been very strong in longevity. If you want a phone you can use for 8 hours straight without charging it, don’t buy an se, 6,6s, 7 or 8.
 

maerz001

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2010
1,329
979
I think iphone SE battery life is just poor. I'm thinking to get one as a secondary device as I have a xiaomi MiA1 as my main device, but after reading all these post I'm thinking maybe is not a good choice.

I'm so used to my MI A1 and its 6hr screen on time that having only 2.5-3 hours SOT seems pretty poor.
When it was released it was pretty good. A lot of people wrote here that it lasts 1-2 hours longer than the 6, 6s and 7 getting 7-8 hours SOT

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/iphone-se-battery-life-thread.1966945/
 
Last edited:

RoseGold11

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 15, 2019
6
0
Update: I ended up replacing the battery last week. The old one was just not working well with the charge percentage being extremely unreliable sub 30%. Could shut down at any time.
 

eicca

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2014
410
253
Mine is doing the same "melting" thing and it's brand new as of Dec 29th. Only 47 cycles on it, but the phone says it's only at 93% health.

Tried a DFU restore and no dice.
 

Spike77777

macrumors member
Mar 8, 2019
33
16
Utah
My iPhone SE is on the latest iOS 12.something. Fully "settled" after the last update, most of the apps have background refresh disabled. Battery health currently at 87%.

I'm wondering if this is normal battery behavior for SE or whether I should look into getting a battery replacement soon:

In standby mode, battery life is pretty good, lasts a few days if I don't use the phone (or only use it very sparingly, such as to make an occasional phone call or send a text message.)

But in use, the battery just melts. Say listening to music with screen off, or browsing the web. Seems to drain much faster than my previous (Android--this is my first iPhone) phones or my iPads. My current iPad--original 12.9" iPad Pro from a few years ago--has the worst battery life out of my previous iPads, and it still doesn't drain as fast as this phone when in use.

I'm going on a trip in a few days, and I wonder how practical it will be to bring the iPhone with me if I will need to reference google maps periodically for walking to places and look things up. It might not even last a full day with a full charge in this kind of use, when I'd be out from morning to evening doing touristy stuff. I don't mean continuous use either--I don't use and constantly check facebook, what's app, instagram, and similar. My use is for music playback, internet and mail checks, occasional calls/texts/hangouts chat, map use.

In general, for those of you who've had and used iPhone SE--is it normal for it to have reasonably good standby battery life but poor in-use battery life? Is it a sign of deteriorating battery or just normal? 87% health/max capacity is not terrible, but maybe it's not linear for performance.

Thanks.
I bought a used SE a few month ago and the behavior you describe was exactly the same. I kind of regretted my purchase but then I ended up buying a battery case and battery replacement on Amazon. The battery case allowed 2 full charges which was nice but added a lot of thickness.

I finally had time a few weeks after my purchase and replaced the battery myself. The replacement made a world of difference, was able to use the phone all day normally and still had plenty left at the end of the day. Haven't used the battery case since, but I did purchase a nice slim case and been very happy with it since.
 

dj1891

macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2015
310
141
Northern Ireland
Mine did the exact same, it got to the stage I was afraid of using it as it might not make it through the working day. I got the battery replaced in January made no difference, set it up as a new phone again made no difference, In the end I upgraded to the 7 Plus, they did something to the SE somewhere, battery life used to be the best in the apple range bar the plus models, its now went to the worst. Mine wouldn't make it through a working day with little use.
 

1050792

macrumors Demi-God
Oct 2, 2016
2,545
3,933
They have to make you upgrade either you want it or not. Even with a replaceable battery the battery life is the same.
 

Ffosse

macrumors 68000
Nov 5, 2012
1,827
636
That's got me worried for the future; both my XR and XS Max show 100% in battery health but I know that isn't the only stat that should be considered.