Apple cuts cost of iPhone battery replacement, but there is still a catch

Good news for iPhone users

by Swapnil Mathur

Apple today released a statement on its website, apologising to its customers for throttling the performance of older iPhones which suffered from battery wear and tear. In the letter, Apple goes into more detail about batteries, their chemistry and how they age.  To recap, Apple issued a software update that throttles CPU output all because many iPhone 6s units around the world were shutting down unexpectedly, even when the phone showed 30-40 percent battery remaining. Apple's statement explains why this happens in the letter saying that "A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations." Ergo, an old battery may not be able to deliver peak charge when the phone needs, causing it to shut down. This led Apple to limit CPU performance so that it would never draw more power than the battery was capable of delivering.   


Once Apple confirmed the throttling, many users voiced their displeasure, some filed lawsuits, but many wondered why Apple wouldn't just let users replace the batteries on their old iPhones? Currently, Apple is facing multiple lawsuits within the United States, with France and Israel also taking the company to court over the issue. The company is also being sued for $999 billion by a California resident for not disclosing this behavior. Addressing that the battery is the reason for this entire fiasco, Apple announced that "Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018." Apple India confirmed that iPhone users will be charged Rs. 2560 (including applicable taxes) for a battery replacement, a cost very much in-line with the new $29 price tag in the US. The Apple service centers situated in Delhi confirmed that the program is now live  

But There's a CATCH  
Getting Apple to replace an iPhone battery isn't as simple as walking into a service center and paying for the replacement. A battery will only be replaced if Apple's internal diagnostic tool concludes that the battery is in poor health, if not, then service will be turned down. Forums are full of user accounts narrating tales of how despite noticeable poor battery life, they were denied a (paid) battery replacement because Apple's internal tool found the battery to be in good health. Apple's statement from today raised a red flag with us, particularly the line "...for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced,..." Who here decides that "the battery needs to be replaced?"  


Don't count your chickens before they hatch  
We called up various Apple service centres in Delhi and Gurgaon to ask the process they follow for battery replacement on the iPhone. After speaking to representatives from over a dozen Apple service centres, we were consistently told that unless an iPhone fails the diagnostic test, they will not be able to replace the battery. All the service centres we reached out to are listed on Apple India's website. What this means is that just because you want a battery replacement on your iPhone, you can't get one unless the diagnostic tool.   

It is a promising sign that a company that has a history of adhering to no one's benchmark but their own has admitted to making a mistake. Apple is known for not offering heavy discounts, which makes this significant price drop on battery replacement a very welcome move by Apple. Now, it remains to be seen whether they will allow unconditional battery replacements or still subject the battery to a diagnostic before replacing them. Thankfully, the discounted price will be valid till December 2018, meaning you can still get a replacement, provided your battery degrades further and faster as time goes by. The best thing, however, would be to just entertain battery replacement requests without any discretion. 

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