I have a “older” Apple iPhone 12 mini phone.  When it comes to its battery life, it is typically depleted by the early evening.  Putting the phone on low-battery mode can only go so far.  While the Mini series was not the most popular (the “mini” model was discontinued after iPhone 13), I  am quite fond of this phone size.  I like how easy the mini fits in my hand and pockets.  I knew the battery isn’t as great (smaller phone -> smaller battery), but I can solve it with a portable power bank.

Earlier this year, I found myself having to charge the phone more than twice a day. While I can’t say for sure, my battery performance seems to degrade with every IOS updates. I always tried to hold off on any IOS upgrades as long as I can unless they are security updates.

The battery was draining far too quickly over the course of a day.

Battery Alert Message

And I was right – something was wrong with the battery!  When I looked at my “Battery Health and Charging”, status, I can see that my battery’s “Maximum Capacity” is at 78%.  The message states:

Important Battery Message

“Your battery’s health is significantly degraded.  An Apple Authorized Service Provider can replace the battery to restore full performance and capacity”.

It is my understanding that this battery alert will begin to show up when an iPhone’s “Maximum Capacity” falls below 80%.   (PSA announcement:  For those who are buying a used phone, this would be handy to know because it means that the phone battery will be due for a replacement soon).


How Much does it Cost to Replace a Battery?

Given upcoming travel plans and that my phone doubles up as the primary camera + GPS, I can’t travel efficiently if the battery drains so quickly.   I need a better solution.   I read up on the battery replacement service and  got the cost estimate:  https://support.apple.com/iphone/repair/battery-replacement

For a iPhone 12 mini, the replacement cost is $89 if you don’t have AppleCare (which I don’t).  This is the battery replacement cost for most models.

a screenshot of a phone service







Replace Battery or Get a new Phone?

There was time when I used to upgrade on T-Mobile every 2 years or so.  I wasn’t even aware that the phone battery can be replaced.

Things have changed.  Given the grandfathered plan that I have, I’m not as interested in switching to some of the newer plans.   The best offer (without changing plans) is a $300 trade in.  The cost of a new base model is about $800-$900 – which means it’s still $500-$600 in out of pocket.  And do I actually want to pay for phone upgrade, when everything is fine except the battery?  No. And I like my mini 12.

Since I have a family plan, do I also want to upgrade everyone at the same time?  This also garnered little interest.  They like their phone, as is.

This cost-analysis reached an easy outcome.  Even the battery replacement can help my phone lasts another 2-3 years, it’d be worth it.

Experience at the Apple Store

I booked an appointment online.  Before the appointment, I also backed up my data beforehand just in case.

The estimated time for this job is about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how busy the store is.  I checked in for my appointment, and I was soon on my way.  I did other things instead of idling at the store.  It took another 20-from the estimated hour time-frame for it to be ready.  I paid for the service, checked that my maximum capacity is now 100%, and off I went.

Is the Battery Replacement Worth It?

It may be not be worth as much for those who are planning to trade in their phone and upgrade.  While I am a little disappointed that the iPhone battery didn’t last longer, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss replacing the battery together.

For me, the battery replacement service is worth it by not having to charge multiple times a day.  If it can keep up its performance for another two years, that’s even better.

I even got myself a new phone case  and a new screen phone protector.  With the new battery, it practically feels like it’s a new phone at this point.