iPhone 5 or earlier Bought used iPhone 5S, battery life is bad and "weak signal"

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by baryon, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    I just bought a used iPhone 5S for a friend. The battery doesn't tend to last a whole day even with minimal usage. Coconut battery says that the battery is at 83% with almost 1000 cycles.

    It's running iOS 11.3. Everything works well on the phone, there is no sign of water damage on the SIM card slot indicator.

    I'd think getting the battery replaced should be a good idea. However, when I go to Settings > Battery, in the list of apps using the most battery percentage, "Phone" has "weak signal" written below it. So do a few other apps like Safari and Contacts. I assume this means that cell signal is weak, causing excessive battery drain. However, I highly doubt the signal is actually weak, because we live in an area of very good signal. Also we're on the same network so if they had weak signal, so should I, at least every once in a while.

    I have to add that when browsing in Safari and doing some other things, the back of the phone gets hot around the Apple logo. Not too hot, just hotter than the old iPhone 4S or my iPhone SE would ever get under normal use.

    Do aging batteries tend to cause more heat? Or does the iPhone 5S simply produce a lot of heat under iOS 11.3? Can anyone with the same setup confirm?

    So here's my dilemma: is an 83% battery with almost 1000 cycles so bad that it should be replaced? Or is there some sort of antenna problem that is causing the battery to drain more than normal, and replacing the battery wouldn't really solve the issue? It's a used phone so spending too much money on it isn't worth it.

    What would you recommend doing?


    PS: Please don't tell me to just buy a new phone, iPhone 6/6S/7/8/X are all way too expensive for us even used.
  2. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    If you have an antenna problem causing poor reception, the phone will drain more trying to keep in contact with the cellular tower. My 5S did not have the best reception and it got worst holding it. When you move to others areas do you still have poor reception? If there is an Apple store around, maybe take it in for a diagnosis.
  3. HappyMBAowner macrumors member


    Feb 23, 2015
    Call Apple support and they will help you. I had problems also with a used iPhone 5S bought from a friend and Apple helped me generously. My 5s has worked like a charm since.
  4. akash.nu macrumors 604


    May 26, 2016
    I’m not sure how helpful Apple can be when the device was bought second hand without knowing anything about the history of the device.
  5. akadafni macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2015
    Buy a different phone. I mean the 5s is at least 5 years old.
  6. baryon thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    I knew someone was going to suggest that, I even wrote it in the PS.
    Do you really think that every time you encounter any issue with a device, buying a new one is a sane solution?

    Up until now I've been using a 4S and it still works great. I only upgraded because someone wanted to buy it off me. The 5S should be even better than the 4S, why would I want to buy a new one?
  7. akash.nu macrumors 604


    May 26, 2016
    People are only suggesting it because the 5S has already reached end of life in product cycle.
  8. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Problem with your 5s is the battery (a consumable) is 5 years old plus wear and tear during that period.

    Not sure where you live and what carrier but in the US, brand new iPhone SE prepaid kits go for $150-200 which is cheaper than the out-of-warranty replacement cost for iPhone 5s ($269). Even battery replacement is $79. Sometimes, it's cheaper to just buy new (and have 1 year warranty to boot) rather than buy used and then spend extra money to repair.
  9. akadafni macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2015
    If I choose to purchase any item that is used and 5 years old I wouldnt expect it to operate and function like its new. If I purchase a used item and expect to save money and then have to spend money to get it repaired ir services to get it to perform normally then I’ve wasted MY time and money when I could have spent a little extra money for a newer (not new necessarily) model with less issues. But when I purchase electronics I purchase new and not used. That’s just me.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 20, 2018 ---
    I like your style and common sense :)
  10. EM2013 macrumors 68000


    Sep 2, 2013
    More sane than buying a used 5 year old device and expecting it to work.

    A used SE would’ve been better.
  11. mk313 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2012
    I'm a little confused about what phone you are using, but it seems like (from a reply below) that you might also be using a 5s. Is yours the same model 5s as the friends? If not (or if you aren't actually using a 5s), there could be different cellular antennas in your phones. I have a 5, a 5s, and SE, a 6 and a 7, and the 5 has the weakest signal of all, by far. It will often resort to 3g service while the other phones are on LTE. As time has gone on, the carriers have added new bands to their networks, and just about every new model iPhone adds bands to the phones, so newer phones will be able to access towers that older phones can't. That can easily account for the weak signal seen by your friend.

    And if you both do have 5s' but they aren't the same ones, they could be missing bands that allow for better coverage in your area. I had an iPhone SE on Sprint that I ended up giving to my brother on AT&T. While the phone worked on AT&T, it did not have band 30 (IIRC) built into the phone (since it was a Sprint version). Band 30 is AT&T only in the US (again IIRC) but it boosts data speeds, and likely battery life. If you are in a similar situation with the 5s, that could also easily account for the weaker signal seen.

    I'd double check those items before I bought a new battery. You also might be better off buying an external battery case, rather than replacing the internal battery if you can live with the increased bulk. That way you're keeping the capacity of the internal battery & adding an external one on top of that.

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