Why is my iPhone battery not 100% like before?

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iPhone 15 optimized charging

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I fear that we in the tech media shoulder some of the responsibility for making people worry — sometimes to the point of obsession — about the battery life of their smartphones. It amazes me how closely some smartphone owners keep their eyes on their devices.

We are constantly monitoring the health of our phones.

To be fair, so am I. A little bit. No not really. A lot.

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And if there’s one thing we battery watchers get good at spotting, it’s when batteries discharge faster than normal. And it’s no longer as simple as noticing a battery going from 100% to 99%.

iPhone battery meter ticking from 100% to 99%.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

When the battery was new, it could stay at 100% for several hours. But after a few months, tick-over from 100% to 99% happens very quickly.

But why? Is this a problem?

No, it’s nothing more than normal battery wear.

Every time your iPhone charges/discharges, the battery drains a little bit.

According to appleYour iPhone battery is designed to hold up to 80% of its original capacity for 500 full charge cycles.

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You can see this measurement when you tap Settings > Battery > Battery Health and charging. It’s under the title Maximum power.

Battery health in iOS 16

Battery health in iOS 17 showing maximum capacity.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

The more you use your phone, the more it wears on the battery. That’s physics. And you can’t change the laws of physics.

Bottom line: As part of the normal battery-wear process, your battery will lose about one percentage point from it Maximum power For every 25 cycles.

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This, in turn, affects how quickly your iPhone battery drains. That is, an old iPhone charged to 100% will hold less charge than a new iPhone charged to 100% due to this wear and tear.

But it gets more complicated.

If you see that Maximum power Figure, you’ll notice — when your iPhone is new — that it takes weeks, maybe months, before 100% max capacity goes to 99%.

Why did this happen?

Because the actual capacity of the battery inside your iPhone is much higher than what Apple claims. Apple makes less promises about capacity because new batteries have normal capacity variations, and Apple would prefer that your battery has a little more capacity — not less — than what’s on the spec sheet.

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If you’re interested, you can actually get iOS to show you what your battery’s new capacity was, what its current capacity is, what its rated capacity is, and how many charge cycles it’s been through.

Confused? Don’t worry! Simply put, this means that when your battery is new, it can hold more power than its rated capacity; And because of this, it looks like it might stay at that 100% mark for longer.

So, is this slow draining of how long your battery will stay at 100% a problem?


Here’s what normal battery wear looks like.

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That said, there are steps you can take to reduce the stress on your battery to reduce excess wear.

  • Use a good quality charger — either a Original Apple charger or a Good quality third party chargers.
  • Keep your iPhone at room temperature as much as possible — don’t leave it baking in the sun or car window all day.
  • Don’t leave your iPhone on the charger all the time — to use up the battery.
  • Keep Your iPhone Updated — Yes, iOS updates can actually improve battery health.

So, if this is normal, what are the symptoms of a dead battery?

Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Rapid discharge over several hours.
  • Crashing when under load (for example, while playing a demanding game).
  • Phone refuses to charge 100%.
  • Physical damage such as swelling or overheating.

These are signs that your battery may be worn. But remember, all is not lost! Replacing it is not much of a hassle, giving your iPhone a new lease of life.

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