Rotten Apple: The Problem of iPhone Batteries

Like many people, I have sold my soul to the tech giant that is Apple. I am writing this on my iPad while watching YouTube on my iPhone. But there is one major issue with Apple’s products which risks putting me off them forever: the battery. I am not alone in being annoyed about this aspect. You pay literally hundreds of pounds for these phones only for the battery and speed to start failing once your one-year warranty ends. It is frustrating, but its consequences are too great to be just ‘a minor inconvenience’.

About two years ago, 3 months before my iPhone warranty ended, I noticed that whenever I opened apps like Snapchat my battery level would drop by around 20%, or simply turn off altogether. Then when I plugged my phone in, it would immediately turn back on showing a charge of around 30%. Obviously, something wasn’t right. So, I took my phone to the Apple Store and they kept telling me that there wasn’t anything wrong with the phone and it might be the software. After showing up 3 times and being told to reset my phone each time, I decided to push. I had had enough, and I explained that it was getting dangerous to not have a reliable phone. They then replaced the phone for me and things were sorted. I still have this phone and after another year, the same thing is happening again. Only this time it’s happening to almost every iPhone user I know.

This is the main problem with Apple’s battery life, and its repercussions can be dangerous. During the ‘#beastfromtheeast’ storm at the start of March, I struggled to get back from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. There were many cancellations along my train route, and throughout the course of the day I charged my phone to 100% 4 times. This was with the battery save mode turned on. I was very worried about not being able to get home and have my phone die, so I couldn’t let people know what was happening. This sums up the dangers which Apple’s greed has caused.

And it is greed: with every iOS update my phone drains faster and faster. And what astounds me is Apple’s complete disregard for the safety of its more vulnerable customers. It appears to be encouraging – or rather forcing – customers to upgrade to the latest model (as it conveniently happens around a new product launch). They know this is an issue, and has been for a long time. Yet they don’t seem to care.

Our generation has had the benefit of being safer on nights out due to our phones. It means we can call and get help if something goes wrong, and we can let people know that we made it home okay. But this also means that, when our phones die at 40% and we don’t have access to a charger, we can end up in a really bad situation. This has happened to me multiple times, and if it wasn’t for lovely people lending me their chargers, or a place to plug my phone in, I don’t know what would have happened.

People may think that I need to carry a portable charger with me and that I should stop using my phone as often. But if I’m paying as much as I do for my phone, I should not be obligated to for fear that it dies with nearly half the battery still charged. It is a safety issue, and we cannot deny this any further. The unpredictable nature of Apple’s battery life means that it’s almost impossible to know just how long your phone will last. If you are walking home alone for example, you may think you have enough battery to last until you get home, and then halfway there you suddenly realise that you are on your own and unable to contact anyone. If you are relying on maps, then this can cause further dangers.

Apple has made it easy for us to rely on our phones for everything but has little disregard for their users. They have put profits over people again and again. It’s so well known that it is Apple’s updates causing these problems – they have even admitted this. And many users choose not to update their phones as a result. But this leads to vulnerability in security. Either way, Apple has a major problem which it is causing, which extends beyond simply having to charge it more often. Until they start valuing the safety of their customers, or even just respecting them in general, Apple is severely at risk of losing me as a customer, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Apple, get your act together. It is more than just battery life, it’s potentially people’s lives.

[Rachel Gillett]

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