Why Does My Phone Battery Die Fast, and What Are Some Tips for Fixing It? 

No, it's not just you. Phone batteries, in general, begin waning around their two-year mark, draining faster and causing frustrations as you seek the next chance to charge during the day.

Give those lithium-ion batteries some love with our in-depth guide to extending your phone's battery life. We're walking through battery-charging tips for iPhone and Android, the most common reasons phone batteries drain, plus what you can do to stop the battery-loss spiral and keep your phone at higher percentages for longer.

  • Why Is My Phone Battery Draining So Fast? 
  • Habit/User-Error Causes of Phone Batteries Draining Too Fast 
  • Device Damage Reasons Your Phone's Battery Dies Fast 
  • How to Save Phone Battery Life 
  • What to Do If Your Phone Battery Isn't Functioning Anymore 
  • Tired of Your Phone Battery Draining Fast?

Why Is My Phone Battery Draining So Fast? 

Every cell phone in operation today has what's called a charge cycle. This cycle is your device's lifespan, or the total number of times you can charge it and have it reach complete, 100% battery restoration.

Battery manufacturers for both iPhones and Androids are on record stating the average charge cycle for smartphone batteries is around 400 cycles, or one and a half to two years. Once you've reached those 400 cycles — in other words, once you have plugged in and charged your phone to 100% around 400 times, the battery life starts diminishing. At this point, most users begin noting their smartphone isn't lasting quite like it used to.

Many factors influence your phone's battery length, both before and after it's exceeded its charge cycles. Continue reading for a breakdown of the top reasons why phone battery life shortens over time, plus what you can do about it. 

The first culprit on the list of reasons your phone battery dies too fast has to do with usage habits.


The first culprit on the list of reasons your phone battery dies too fast has to do with usage habits.


Habit/User-Error Causes of Phone Batteries Draining Too Fast 

The first culprit on the list of reasons your phone battery dies too fast has to do with usage habits.

Most people remain unaware of the consequences of certain daily phone practices. Over time, these habits degrade the everyday battery life of your device and contribute to a shrinking number of charge cycles. 

1. Maintaining Background Applications 

The majority of apps don't stop running when you hit your phone's home button. Instead, they enter suspension mode and continue operating in your phone's background. This background suspension is a perennial problem for phone batteries and one of the first reasons you're not experiencing the battery life you once did.

Luckily, reining in background applications is a relatively easy process. For both Androids and iPhones, navigate to the "Battery" option in Settings. Once there, you can review which apps suck up the largest share of your current battery, then toggle to disable their background activity to stop these apps from refreshing or updating automatically throughout the day. 

2. Too Many Notifications 

More notifications, more problems — when it comes to your phone battery, that is.

Display notifications are convenient to stay connected, as well as to get real-time updates on important matters like work emails while on the go. However, the constant vibrations, notification sounds and even lit-up screen strain your battery, never allowing your device to truly "rest."

Only keep notifications for apps or contacts you truly consider essential, then silence the rest. Make sure those select apps are also on silent mode — not noise or vibration mode, which drain the battery even further.

3. Kept in Hot or Cold Environments 

Manufacturer and independent studies alike show the ideal temperature range for a cell phone is between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That's essentially room temperature. Stray from this range for prolonged periods, though, and you can damage the integrity of your lithium-ion battery components through a process known as "thermal runaway."

Take care not to leave your phone in direct sunlight or in a too-hot or too-cold car. Also be mindful of your phone's temperature when playing games or streaming music and videos, pausing activity if your phone feels too warm. 

4. Haven't Updated Your Software 

Permitting regular operating system (OS) updates helps patch system glitches, as well as repairs software problems that may be behind your diminishing battery life. This logic extends to your apps, as well. Latest-version deployments fix old app bugs and should help maintain your stable battery life, as long as you are taking other preventive measures as well. 

5. Running Battery-Intensive Programs 

Certain phone functions will naturally drain your battery quicker than others. Generally speaking, you shouldn't have to worry about this much if your phone is in good condition. It's a best practice to be mindful of the minutes — and maybe hours — you spend on your iPhone or Android doing any of the following: 

  • Watching videos 
  • Listening to music
  • Playing graphics-heavy games
  • Calling/texting while riding in a car, bus, subway, etc. 
  • Taking pictures/videos
  • Sending multimedia messages  
  • Livestreaming  

6. Under- or Over-Charging 

Yes, both are problems. It's a battery rule of thumb to charge your phone when it's between 40% to 80%. Repeatedly running over and under these numbers can alter your OS' ability to "remember" optimal battery capacities — and therefore fluctuate more on its own. Do note the same effect can happen if you're constantly plugging in your phone to charge regardless of battery percentage.

Optimize peak charging times by toggling your battery's display to include the actual percentage alongside the visual battery icon. Then, once a month, allow your phone to discharge down to zero, then charge it back up to its full, uninterrupted 100%. Doing this helps the OS "remember" what these numbers and settings truly mean, rather than getting complacent. 

7. You're on It Too Much 

No one likes hearing they use their phone too much. These devices are vital parts of contemporary living, and arguably indisposable for most people's quality of life throughout the day.

However, there's a fine line — especially when it comes to draining your battery. If you cannot get through the day without using your phone as an around-the-clock companion — and find yourself subsequently plugging in two to three times a day — it may be time to reassess your screentime.

Device Damage Reasons Your Phone's Battery Dies Fast 

From miscalibrated settings to physical phone damage, there are several technical reasons your phone battery isn't operating like it used to. 

1. Data and Apps Are Set to Auto-Sync 

Certain apps automatically sync with backup drives, other devices and even the cloud on top of their automated background app refresh function.

While it's a tech best practice to regularly back up valuable data such as photos, videos, music, etc., automatically doing so can cause dramatic battery depletion. It turns your phone into a 24/7 syncing scout, continually scanning for its backup. Opt for manual data backups instead, or for your phone to back up only when you cord-connect it to a laptop or desktop. 

2. Location-Based Trackers Are Always On 

Apps that track your location are one of the most significant causes of battery drainage. Permit more than a handful to geo-track you, too, and the problem compounds.

Try only to use Google Maps and other apps that require your location as needed, rather than running continual location tracking. Also, ensure you're fully closing out these apps once you've finished using them.


Turn on auto-adjust

Shorten your notification display times

Tone down the entire screen's default lighting


Turn on auto-adjust

Shorten your notification display times

Tone down the entire screen's default lighting

3. Too-Bright Screen Settings 

Phone screens tend to come programmed with the flashiest display settings as the default, including high-resolution and high-brightness screens. One of the easiest ways to make your phone battery last longer is to adjust your display settings. You can do so in many ways:

  • Turn on auto-adjust to have your phone automatically change to be compatible with the surrounding natural lighting it senses. 
  • Shorten your notification display times, so your phone screen remains lit only a fraction of the time. 
  • Tone down the entire screen's default lighting amount for 24/7 brightness reduction. 

4. Constant Wi-Fi Seeking 

Commuting, running errands, grabbing dinner, even just hanging out over at a friend's place — while you're out living your life, your phone is likely always attempting to connect with the nearest Wi-Fi. This effort drains precious battery life and leads your phone to discharge faster than it should.

Luckily, the solution is simple: Turn off your Wi-Fi when you're out and about. Go the extra mile by shutting off data, too — which, in most cases, requires more battery to find and connect with, anyway. 

5. Battery-Draining Widgets 

Widgets are those convenient yet battery-cumbersome icons and updates that play on your phone's home screen. Typical widgets include those relaying weather, traffic reports, inbox overviews and trending news. Each spells bad news for your battery, as your phone must continuously seek and update the widgets to keep them serving their functions. Consider trimming down or all-out deleting these little features in your settings, or by pressing, holding and dragging the widget to your phone's trash icon. 


Review Your Phone's "Wise Limits"

Reconfigure Settings Through iCloud

Do an App Spring Cleaning

Install Ad Block

Use Airplane or Low Power Mode

Purchase a New or Certified Phone Charger


Review Your Phone's "Wise Limits"

Reconfigure Settings Through iCloud

Do an App Spring Cleaning

Install Ad Block

Use Airplane or Low Power Mode

Purchase a New or Certified Phone Charger

How to Save Phone Battery Life 

There are many preemptive steps you can take to combat phone-battery aging and keep your device in good condition for longer. 

1. Review Your Phone's "Wise Limits" — Android Devices 

Android phones with the OS versions Marshmallow, Nougat and Oreo come with "wise limits" — features installed into the phone that help perform a variety of percentage-prorating perks, making it easy to fix battery drain problems on Android. 

If you have an Android device, check your wise limits background analytics to tailor the following: 

  • How many background apps can operate at once, as well as how much battery life they get 
  • Essential versus non-essential apps for backup data purposes 
  • Which apps can request your location for geo-tracking 
  • In-depth battery projections based on screen settings, usage, app deployments and more 

Not sure how to check your phone's OS to see what's draining your Android battery? Follow the instructions here

2. Reconfigure Settings Through iCloud — Apple Devices 

Android owners aren't the only ones who can hack current OS settings to solve their battery woes. Users with iPhone battery drain issues can reconfigure several default settings on their phone and in iCloud to make Apple devices last longer, including: 

  • Turning off background apps refreshing in Settings > Background App Refresh 
  • Restoring the phone via iCloud to clean out burdensome files and data  
  • Toggling email to Fetch mode, which changes your phone from continually seeking its email server to refreshing email only upon manual request 

3. Do an App Spring Cleaning 

Old data stored on outdated or sparsely used apps can weigh your phone's battery down — especially if those apps, unbeknownst to you, are set to auto-sync or auto-refresh.

Consider deleting a handful of apps you hardly use. Be honest with yourself here! Android users can do this by navigating to Settings > Apps > All. In iPhones, press and hold an app icon on the home screen until it begins to shake, then click the small deletion "X" when it appears.

4. Install Ad Block 

Those autoplay and popup ads aren't just annoying from a user perspective. On the technical side, they've been proven to drain battery life 33% percent faster than premium ad-free apps or pages without ads.

Luckily, you don't have to go out and purchase the premium versions of your favorite applications. Explore ad blockers for mobile phones instead. Many of these programs are free to download and will block the vast majority, if not all, of those frustrating popups and auto-plays. 

5. Use Airplane or Low Power Mode 

Airplane mode turns off your phone's connection to any wireless signals, therefore preserving an iPhone or Android device's battery life. Low power mode holistically reduces your phone's battery consumption by turning off automatic downloads, background app and data refresh, mail fetch and certain screen visual effects. Both these settings are classic, but still underused, battery-saving tips for phones. Give them a try when you head to bed — after all, you don't need any of these features when you're sleeping — then see if you can carry them out throughout the day.

6. Purchase a New or Certified Phone Charger 

Cables and charge heads from third-party brands — not your original phone manufacturer — may not interact with your phone's exact battery type appropriately, and therefore undercharge connected devices.

This fact is particularly true for wireless phone chargers or in expedited phone-charging technology.
Be safe and opt for original manufacturer or certified third-party chargers, especially if you're using those wireless or fast-charging devices.

Bonus tip: Remove your phone from its case while it charges. Doing so helps aerate your device and stabilizes its internal temperature, helping prevent overheating.



What to Do If Your Phone Battery Isn't Functioning Anymore  

Is your phone still giving you grief even after countless settings adjustments and battery-saving usage hacks? You're not alone. Smartphone batteries today aren't designed to operate much longer than their third or fourth birthday, far past their designated charge cycles.

Consider these options when your phone's battery isn't cutting it anymore. 

1. Get an Official Battery Test 

Many stores perform free battery tests when you bring in your device, including local carrier outfits as well as manufacturer flagship stores, such as Apple.

Employee technicians can run specialized diagnostics, giving you an in-depth look into the quality and capabilities of your battery. They can also decipher potential hardware issues that may be contributing to your phone battery draining fast when nothing else you've done seems to be helping. 

2. Purchase a New Smartphone Battery 

Reputable replacement batteries are available in stores and online starting around $20. Do your diligence: All batteries should come in a sealed retail package with the original manufacturer's logo, a barcode and a hologram sticker displaying various instructional icons.

Before doing any of this, though, ensure your phone model even has a replaceable battery type. Irreplaceable batteries are becoming increasingly common with contemporary phone design, and may require assistance from a store technician to make any swap.

3. Trade in Your Old Phone 

Trading in your old phone is a safe, convenient and — best of all — cost-effective option where you receive money for your old device. It's also a small act of sustainability with serious impact, helping reduce the number of e-waste electronics that contribute nearly 70% of toxins to today's landfills.

The steps to trading in your old phone are straightforward. Plus, you have more choices than ever on how and where to hand over your old device, drained battery and all. 


See how ecoATM works in just three easy steps, then locate your local ecoATM today.


Tired of Your Phone Battery Draining Fast? 

ecoATM is one of consumer electronics' most reputable and widely accredited ways to trade in your old phone and make an impact on the planet — plus get cash for it on the spot.

No catches. No gimmicks. Just a hassle-free transaction at one of our certified device ATMs sprinkled across the country.

See how ecoATM works in just three easy steps, then locate your local ecoATM kiosk today.

ecoATM is not affiliated with nor has it been authorized or sponsored by the manufacturers or service providers in this article.