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One thing most people forget about their iPhone batteries

Ethan Wolff-Mann
Senior Writer

Many people view smartphones as disposable goods, and they treat them as such. In their short lives, phones suffer countless falls, splashes, scuffs and scratches, while being expected to work 24/7 without ever getting turned off.

One reason we see them as disposable is because of marketing. Apple (AAPL) releases a new iPhone every year, and with it comes the implicit message that the one you already have is old. And often our old phones seem to slow down and stop working properly right around that time, consistently spurring accusations of nefarious planned obsolescence to boost sales and profit.

To make matters worse, the phone batteries—enclosed and inaccessible—cannot hold the charge they once could. As a result, many of us just new get phones.

New phones aren’t necessarily more expensive than previous smartphones, but carriers may not always subsidize your device (the “free upgrade”) in exchange for a two-year contract, like they used to. Facing the full brunt of the purchase price—around $649 for a headphone jack-less iPhone 7—many people now hold on to their old phone for longer.

If you’re one of these people, there may not be that much you can do about your old slow phone. You might just have to wait a few more seconds to load some stuff. But as far as the battery life is concerned, there is a very easy solution.

Go to an Apple Store and replace the battery.

Though it doesn’t seem to be a popular repair—Apple doesn’t advertise the fact that they can be changed so it’s likely many people don’t realize—it’s a pretty simple fix that can be done in the store while you wait, or over a few days by mail. And why shouldn’t it be? Apple and other phone manufacturers understand the demands we place on our phone batteries—most people hardly ever turn off their phone in years of use.

If you signed up for AppleCare+, which costs $129 and gives you an extra year of hardware repair coverage, phone support and a discount for accidental damage, you can get a new battery replaced for no additional charge if it retains less than 80% of its original capacity. If you don’t have AppleCare+, Apple will still change it for you for $79.

It’s not necessarily cheap, but compared to a new phone, it’s a good deal and easy way to extend the life of your device.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, tech, and personal finance. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

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