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

iPhone red battery icon
If you're seeing this on your iPhone screen, it's time to recharge.

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

That's your iPhone 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 wall charger. If you're someone who's always on-the-go, it might be worth buying a portable USB battery to make sure you don't run out of juice.

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.

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. 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.

Green Battery Icon: Charging

Seeing a green battery icon on your lockscreen is better news.

It means your iPhone is charging. If you're seeing that icon, it's probably no surprise that your phone is charging. Still, it's good to know 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 fairly uncommon and can be a little scary. Your iPhone won't work while the thermometer is present and a message tells you that it's 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. 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 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.