Does Apple Have A BatteryGate 2.0 Situation With The iPhone 14?

You might recall that Apple got into a lot of trouble with the original BatteryGate situation a few years ago. To summarize that situation, Apple got into deep trouble when it was discovered that the performance of iPhones would nosedive when the batteries inside them degraded to the point where they couldn’t sustain the performance levels that users were used to. And Apple did not tell anyone this was the case. Apple since has done a lot to make this clear to users, and they not only allowed users to get their batteries replaced cheaply for a limited time, but they also allowed users to see the health of their battery and offered free replacements if you had AppleCare and the battery health dropped below 80% in the first two years. But, by the time that Apple did all that, it cost them hundreds of millions of dollars and a lot of scrutiny from governments around the world. Which of course wasn’t good for Apple.

History may be repeating itself as there are now reports that the battery health in the iPhone 14 models is dropping faster than previous iPhone models. Here’s a few posts from some prominent creators who are seeing this:

This is now starting to hit the media with media outlets such as The Verge and The Wall Street Journal running stories on this topic. Several iPhone 14 series owners have taken to other places like Reddit to report deteriorating battery capacity on their handsets. 

For giggles I checked the battery health on my iPhone 14 Pro. you can do the same thing by going to Settings –> Battery –> Battery Health & Charging. In my case I got this:

To me that doesn’t seem so bad. But I am missing some context here. Apple doesn’t tell you how many charge cycles that your phone has. By that I mean how many times the battery in my phone has been discharged and charged. I decided to use a utility called Coconut Battery to get that information:

The figure I was looking for was the cycle count. In my case the phone has been discharged and charged 273 times as I type this. And I tend to use wireless charging most of the time which introduces heat to the equation. And heat is the number one enemy of lithium ion batteries when it comes to their longevity. So having 94% battery health (or 95.3% according to Coconut Battery) seems somewhat reasonable to me after just under a year of usage. And to add further context to this, my previous iPhone 12 Pro was at 89% battery health by the time it was a year old. So the iPhone 14 Pro is an improvement for me. But clearly others are having a different experience with their iPhone 14’s.

So is this BatteryGate 2.0? Or put another way, is there an issue with the batteries inside the iPhone 14 models? Perhaps there’s a software issue with iOS 16? I think it’s too early to tell what the issue is and where it lies to be honest. I am sure that when these reports started to surface, Apple started to look at the data that it has access to to figure out if there’s an issue as I am sure that they don’t want a BatteryGate 2.0 situation. Whether we get an answer from Apple directly is an open question as they are not the most communicative company around.

In the meantime, Apple has some tips on how to keep your battery health in the best possible place. That might be worth looking at, along with this document which details how batteries work in relation to iDevices. But let me throw this out there in terms of what I would do if I were you. I would keep an eye on your battery health, but you should not obsess over it. If you have AppleCare, and the battery drops below 80% within two years, Apple will replace the battery for free. (By the way, that’s a great incentive to get AppleCare as it makes this situation a non-issue.)

In the meantime, there needs to be better understanding as to why iPhone 14 models seem to have batteries that degrade faster than previous models in some cases. Having that understanding will help to put this issue to bed. Thus I call on Apple to be as open as it can when it comes to this issue. If they have information on this, they should be as transparent as possible and share it. Otherwise users of iPhone 14’s will just assume that Apple has something to hide and do what they did the last time BatteryGate was a thing. Which is get angry, and sue. And governments will once again assume that Apple has something to hide, investigate, and take corrective action against Apple.

For the rest of us, maybe we should relax and see what comes of this. Maybe there’s something here. Maybe this is a nothing burger. Who knows? But let’s get some facts first to figure out what side of the fence this falls on.

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