I just migrated an iPhone5 to an X. I'd like to put the iPhone5 into very long-term (probably 1+ year) storage. While I'll hopefully never need it again, I'd like to keep a back-up iPhone at the ready.

Given the chemistry of iPhone batteries, before putting it in a safe place for a very long time, should I drain the battery to 0%? or 100% charge, and power-off?

It is fresh off of a factory reset, so there is no data to be lost on the phone.

  • It may be noteworthy that when I working with Honeywell mobility products the batteries were stored long-term with a specified 15-20% charge. – PCARR Jan 3 '18 at 19:41

When it comes to Apple products and batteries I recommend users refer to what Apple has to say about its batteries.

However, to answer your question, I quote directly from Apple:

Store it half-charged when you store it long term.

If you want to store your device long term, two key factors will affect the overall health of your battery: the environmental temperature and the percentage of charge on the battery when it’s powered down for storage. Therefore, we recommend the following:

  • Do not fully charge or fully discharge your device’s battery — charge it to around 50%. If you store a device when its battery is fully discharged, the battery could fall into a deep discharge state, which renders it incapable of holding a charge. Conversely, if you store it fully charged for an extended period of time, the battery may lose some capacity, leading to shorter battery life.
  • Power down the device to avoid additional battery use.
  • Place your device in a cool, moisture-free environment that’s less than 90° F (32° C).
  • If you plan to store your device for longer than six months, charge it to 50% every six months.

Depending on how long you store your device, it may be in a low-battery state when you remove it from long-term storage. After it’s removed from storage, it may require 20 minutes of charging with the original adapter before you can use it.

  • 2
    doh! Since I just did a "Factory Reset" I can't see the charge % anymore. I'll nominally go thru the set-up process until I can clearly see a 50% charge achieved, then power-down for hibernation. thanks! – Khae Jan 3 '18 at 4:40
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    @Khae No need; if the battery gauge is about half-full, that's good enough. – Alex Jan 3 '18 at 11:33
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    This is common to all Lithium based cells, it is not Apple specific. The charger I have for various radio-controlled helicopters has a storage mode which charges (or discharges) to around 50%. Unfortunately, lithium batteries have a fairly high self-discharge rate, so very long term storage with no checkups, will eventually result in a deep discharg, and ultimately unusable battery. – Greg Woods Jan 3 '18 at 11:49
  • @GregWoods both primary and rechargeable Lithium batteries have among the lowest self discharge rates of any battery chemistry. – Aaron Jan 3 '18 at 16:35

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