Apple’s Smart Battery Case is a great way to protect your iPhone and give it some extra power (at the cost of a bit of added bulk). But, can they actually be bad for your iPhone’s battery life?
The short answer is probably not. iPhones regulate their own charging cycles and will stop charging when the battery is at capacity. Read on to learn more.
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Is the Smart Battery Case safe for iPhone?
There are actually quite a few posts and threads online discussing Smart Battery Cases and iPhones. Some of them stretch back a few years and the most recent are from this month (after the release of the iPhone XS and XR cases).
On these posts, users chime in with their own anecdotal experience. But many of the threads die off without any sort of clarity. Presumably, that’s because Apple doesn’t specifically clarify whether or not its Smart Battery Cases are bad for batteries.
But it may also be because of a handful of users reporting that their iPhone battery capacity actually degraded after using the Smart Battery Case.
Are those reports accurate, or are users simply drawing conclusions from faulty evidence? Let’s take a look at batteries in general — and what can damage them.
Check to see if your iPhone battery is degrading normally.
We’ve previously covered what a “normal” rate of battery degradation is for the average iPhone user. If you don’t have time to read our piece on it, the general takeaway is that it can vary widely between average users.
Because battery degradation varies, users may actually find that their iPhone’s battery capacity does indeed degrade after using a Smart Battery Case. But that doesn’t mean it’s the Smart Battery Case that’s causing it. Correlation doesn’t equal causation.
All lithium-ion batteries will degrade normally over time. The rate of degradation depends on how often you use your smartphone, how fast you drain the battery, and how often you charge it.
And, contrary to popular belief, charging your iPhone overnight or leaving it on a charger when it’s fully charged isn’t bad for it. Similarly, having a Smart Battery case on a charged iPhone won’t kill its battery.
That’s because, as we’ve covered, a battery’s degradation all comes down to how many “charge” cycles you put it through.
Don’t let your Smart Battery Case overheat.
But, on the other end of the spectrum, a Smart Battery Case could theoretically cause battery damage — but not for the reasons that you think. It comes down to overheating, which definitely can damage a battery and reduce its overall capacity faster than normal.
Fast charging or using wireless charging can cause a smartphone to get warmer than it would be through a conventional cable and adapter setup.
And that’s not all, having any kind of case on your iPhone could cause problems, too. Leaving a case on a charging smartphone could inhibit its ability to cool off naturally.
Apple itself recommends that users remove any case on their iPhone before charging.
Also, keep in mind that the capacity indicator in the iOS Battery Health menu is just an estimate — and it can be inaccurate at times. So don’t overthink it.
Tips to keep your iPhone battery safe.
If you’re still concerned about your Smart Battery case, here are a few tips to keep your iPhone’s battery safe.
- Try to avoid using the Smart Battery Case in direct sunlight or when the ambient temperature is really high.
- Don’t use the Smart Battery Case while playing graphically intensive games or when using other CPU-draining apps.
- Only use MFi-certified chargers and charging accessories from a manufacturer that you trust.
- Charge the iPhone and the Smart Battery Case separately, without the case on the actual device during the charging process.
- If you notice your iPhone or Smart Battery Case getting unusually hot during use, take the case off.
What are your thoughts around this issue? Have you already bought Apple’s Smart Battery Case and started using it with your new iPhone XR/iPhone XS? We would love to hear your thoughts.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.