What You Need to Do If You See a Red iPhone Battery Icon

iPhone red battery icon

The lockscreen of your iPhone shows all kinds of things: the date and time, notifications, playback controls when you're listening to music. In some cases, the iPhone lockscreen shows informative icons like different-colored batteries or a thermometer.

Each icon gives you useful information—if you know what it means. It's important to understand what's going on when you see them and what you should do.

Red Battery Icon: Time to Recharge

You may see an ominous-looking red battery icon if it's been a while since you last charged your iPhone (check out this article for tips on how to make your battery last longer). If you do, your iPhone is telling you that its battery is running low and needs to be recharged. The charging cable icon beneath the red battery icon is another hint that you need to plug your iPhone into a computer or a wall charger. 

The iPhone still works while it's showing the red battery icon, but it's hard to know how much life it has left (unless you're viewing your battery life as a percentage, that is). It's best to not push your luck. Recharge your phone as soon as you can.

If you're not able to charge it right away, you should try Low Power Mode to squeeze more life out of whatever battery you have left. More on that in the next section.

If you're someone who's always on the go and can't always charge your phone, it might be worth buying a portable USB battery to make sure you don't run out of juice.

Orange Battery Icon: Low-Power Mode

You won't see this icon on the lockscreen, but sometimes the battery icon in the corner of the iPhone's home screen turns orange. This means that your phone is running in Low Power Mode.

Low Power Mode is a feature of iOS 9 and up that stretches your battery life for an extra few hours (Apple claims it adds up to 3 hours of use).

It temporarily turns off unnecessary features and tweaks settings to squeeze as much life as possible out of your battery.

Learn more about Low Power Mode and how to use it in this article.

Green Battery Icon: Charging

Seeing a green battery icon on your lockscreen is good news. It means your iPhone's battery is charging. If you're seeing that icon, it's probably no surprise that your phone is charging. Still, it's good to know that you should look for it in case you're trying to charge and something isn't working properly.

Red Thermometer Icon: iPhone Is Too Hot

A red thermometer icon appearing on your lockscreen is pretty uncommon and can be a little scary. Your iPhone won't work at all while the thermometer is present. An onscreen message tells you that the phone is too hot and needs to cool down before you can use it. 

This is a serious warning. It means that your phone's internal temperature has risen so high that the hardware is in danger of being damaged (in fact, overheating has been linked to cases of iPhones exploding). There are a number of things that can cause this to happen, including leaving a phone in a hot car or a battery-related malfunction.

When this happens, the iPhone protects itself, according to Apple, by turning off features that could cause problems.

This includes automatically stopping charging, dimming or turning off the screen, reducing the strength of the connection to phone company networks, and disabling the camera flash

When you see the thermometer icon, immediately get you iPhone into a cooler environment. Then shut it off and wait until it's cooled down before you try restarting it.

If you've tried these steps and let the phone cool for a long time but are still seeing the thermometer warning, you should contact Apple for support.