Mobile & Wearable

Apple responds to iPhone battery locking issue, tells users its for their own good

Apple wants to protect customers from 'damaged, poor quality, or used batteries'

Last week, we reported that an update to iOS 12 and the upcoming iOS 13 meant that Apple was locking features to users who replaced their battery from an unauthorized third party.

As first reported by iFixIt, a Texas Instruments microcontroller on the battery serves as an authentication feature that determines whether a battery is genuine and replaced by Apple or a third-party.

Should a user replace their own battery or send it to a third-party to be replaced (one that hasn’t been authorized by Apple), a new warning message will appear in the Settings app: “Important Battery Message: Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery.”

Apple has today issued a statement to iMore, confirming that it has introduced the new feature and that it was to protect its customers from damaged or poor quality batteries.

“We take the safety of our customers very seriously and want to make sure any battery replacement is done properly,” the company said in its statement.

“There are now over 1,800 Apple authorized service providers across the United States so our customers have even more convenient access to quality repairs.

“Last year we introduced a new feature to notify customers if we were unable to verify that a new, genuine battery was installed by a certified technician following Apple repair processes.

“This information is there to help protect our customers from damaged, poor quality, or used batteries which can lead to safety or performance issues. This notification does not impact the customer’s ability to use the phone after an unauthorized repair.”

At present, the only way users can avoid getting a message when they replace their battery is to have their repair conducted by Apple.

The company charges $69 for an out-of-warranty battery replacement in the latest iPhones, which is significantly more expensive than the battery replacement services offered by many third-party repairers.

Of course, users who have AppleCare+ and users with iPhones within the one-year warranty can have their batteries replaced for free, but battery issues most often happen after a year or two of owning an iPhone, so the majority are out of warranty repairs.

Repairs that are carried out by Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers rely on Apple’s RepairCal diagnostics software, which will reset the Service status on the battery.

Third-parties cannot use this without the required equipment, and so batteries will show a warning, prompting customers to think there’s something wrong with their device.

Are you annoyed at Apple’s stance, or do you welcome their commitment to protecting customers? Is this a genuine concern, or is it just an excuse for Apple to make some money? Let us know on Twitter and check back for more news.

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