Pending Charges: My Life With a Perpetual Eye on my iPhone’s Battery Level

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I would rather walk face first through a giant spider web than go shopping. I truly hate walking into large cavernous spaces with grumblings, rumblings, and piercing screeches resounding, rebounding, and reflecting from every surface. I tire of unbridled children pawing at my guide dog, and I could really do without the adults who treat shopping as a contact sport. Make that three giant spider webs that I'd be willing to walk through. If I cannot escape to the parking lot, I mentally retreat and perform my primary function as the designated guardian of the shopping cart and purse.

There is a singular exception to my retail aversion. I love walking into the local Apple Store to touch things. That may sound creepy, but it really isn't. I spent a lot of time holding new iPhones. The iPhone 6 was comfortable and familiar. However, the bigger iPhone 6 Plus called to me. For many months, I went to the Apple Store to make sure that the iPhone 6 Plus was not too big for my hands and that it would still glide into my shirt pocket. You cannot be too careful. Things might have changed. I just needed to be sure.

On September 12, the iPhone 6S Plus became available for purchase. That same day, one very special iPhone was reserved in my name. I am so ready to welcome it home. The immediacy of my latest iPhone purchase was not about craving a faster processor, or a stronger aluminum shell, or the much anticipated 3D Touch. I wanted the new iPhone 6S Plus because I currently own an iPhone 5S and the battery life of this older device absolutely drives me nuts.

An octogenarian acquaintance of mine likes to offer personal advice. She often exclaims, "Never pass up a bathroom!" I understand that feeling, but for a different reason. I might wander past a Mens Room without a pang of concern, but I get a little panicky when my battery level drops below 40%. I am one of those "wall huggers" and tend to memorize the locations of electrical outlets in public places. I am a man who has a charging cable in the living room, office, bedroom, and car. I have multiple rechargers in my luggage and I keep a Mophie Juice Pack PowerStation Duo in my carry-on. I am also frequently carrying another emergency battery in my pants pocket, just in case.

At present, I am charging my 5S multiple times a day. Although always fully charged in the morning, I usually have to plug it in again before noon, and one more time in the early evening. I really wish I could remain untethered for longer periods of time. I yearn for greater power. I want the iPhone 6S Plus because I want to be free.

The more power I have, the more I want to use it. Even though the new iPhone 6S Plus battery is much more capacious than the one in my 5S, I am betting I will find all new ways to quickly drain my new phone. So, I am keeping my eyes open for new portable battery technology. Besides that, I like new toys! I recently read about a couple of different solar powered batteries that I could connect to my iPhone. You just never know when you might be lost in the woods with active cell coverage and no electrical outlets. Should I ever find myself in those circumstances, I hope I also have my old Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760. It pays to be prepared.

I am very much looking forward to my new iPhone 6S Plus. I am excited about the expanded screen real estate for Braille input and four-finger taps. I would like to play with Peek and Pop in the iPhone sandbox. And, I want to wallow in the 128GB of roomy storage on my new iPhone. However, what I covet most is the new battery. I look forward to walking past outlets without checking my phone. And, when I inevitably run low on juice, I hope new power technologies will quickly charge me up again. Those pending charges are important. As you discover new ways to boost your own energy reserves, I hope you will share them here.

I want my iPhone to be a fully functional pocket computer. I continue to look for a complete set of powerful apps to meet my various needs. I remain hopeful that enhancements to the iPhone operating system will greatly improve the power user experience. Even so, a powerful pocket computer needs a powerful battery. If I am going to pour all of my energy into using this device, I really want a device that has plenty of energy to pour into those efforts.

*** Morgan is the author of “Think Small”, another blog entry on the AppleVis site.



Submitted by Serena on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

here, here! i'm not buying the new phone this year, for a couple reasons. one of which is i have last years iPhone 6. wish i'd have kept with my first idea of getting the plus at the time though. the extra battery would be awesome.
and here's an idea. seeing as i've started getting up and walking around more, even just within my house, i'd like a set of compresion based, charging pads, to put in shoes, and either a battery pocket to store a battery for charging from each, or, for them to hurry up and make wireless charging possible over a few feet. that way you could be walking along, and sending out pulses of energy for your phone or watch, or sports band, or iPad or what ever, to draw from. how! awesome! would that be. it would get more of us up out of our chairs and walking around, even if it's only to charge our phones! ahaha
failing that, given the new tech coming out in regards to fleksable solar panels, we should have it built into our clothing. or at least have the option to buy things like a solar charging jacket or something, so as while we're in the sun, we're wired for power!

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Love the post. I'm experiencing the same issues here with my 5S. Actually I shut my phone down the other day and it took half an hour to bring the stupid thing back to life using a external power bank/batery case. It charges and works now, but it's time to get a battery replacement on my 5S. I'm not upgrading to the 6S plus yet. I'll give it till christmas and see what sort of issues people will have with the new phones. As stated above, love the post on this!

Submitted by Justin on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hi Sockhopsinger and others,
Over the previous summer, july to be exact I purchased a 20000Mah power bank for $30. It looked nice, and worked for about 2 weeks. While it worked, it id a great job in charging things. After that, I am not exactly sure what happened, smelled burning and the usb port on one side got extremely hot to the touch, and started smelling smoky. It was not the battery itself, it was probably something in the converter circuits or something, I didn't take it apart and look at the damage. However it rattled when shook, so there was something loose inside there. Lesson learned, don't always buy a cheap electronic device because the price looks great. Personally, you get what you pay for.
Just thought I'd share the horror story of cheap power banks, some of them are good, some are not.
I then bought a my charge hub ultra 12000MAH bank, and it is working wonderfully now. No issues on the latest purchase, 2 months ago.
Good luck with your power banks, and yeah, I returned the 20000MAH power bank right after that happened!

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hi @Justin. Thanks for that story. Actually, the retail price on the charger is $75, but I bought it from Mobstub, which usually has some ridiculously low priced items. I have bought from them before, a couple of things as a matter of fact, and everything I've bought so far has turned out well. I totally agree about the caution. I am glad that your new power bank is working out well for you. Hopefully I'll have good things to say about this one in a couple of months. grin