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Oops! Apple Messed Up, But You Can Get a MUCH Cheaper Battery Out Of It

Apple admitted it's slowing older iPhones down, but now it's trying to make it right with users.
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iPhone

Apple recently admitted that it has been slowing down older model iPhones, although it claims it was doing this for the good of your phone.

Naturally, this was met with various levels of outrage. Conspiracy theorists felt vindicated: here was the proof that Apple wanted you to buy a new iPhone every single year! Others were just dismayed at feeling penalized for keeping their phones as long as they could.

Even though Apple said it had the best of intentions, users still weren't happy. Now, Apple is trying to make things right. Read on for all the details.

Apple Says It Has a Good Reason to Slow Down Your Battery

A reddit user tracked performance on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 over time. He noticed what many iPhone owners had long suspected — that older models grew slower over time. While some might blame that on limited storage and constant updates, it turns out that's not quite the case.

Apple explained the situation to The Verge, saying "Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices." Basically Apple said it's slowing down older models in order to maximize iPhone battery lifespans. This is also supposedly meant to prevent unexpected shutdowns, which can become an issue as lithium-ion batteries age.

Despite this explanation, the discovery has garnered tons of bad publicity for Apple, as well as threats of class-action lawsuits.

As a 'Make Good,' Now You Can Upgrade Your Battery for Less

Apple finally apologized to customers, acknowledging that some users felt let down, and is planning to offer a solution for anyone who has a phone out of warranty. Apple is dropping the price of replacement batteries from $79 to $29 in an effort to make things right. The price is good for anyone who has an iPhone 6 or later.

If your iPhone is older than a 6, there's still a battery-saving option; iFixit has reduced the price of its DIY iPhone battery fix kits to $29 or less. These kits work for the iPhone 4S through to the iPhone 7. They include everything you need to swap the battery out, but it does mean you'll have to do it yourself rather than paying Apple to do it for you.

Apple Will Only Discount Batteries Through 2018

Of course there's a catch. Anyone who wants to take advantage of this offer from Apple has to do it before 2019. The promotion has already begun, and it will run through December of 2018. Prices will increase to $79 again in January of 2019.

You Might Be Eligible for a Refund

If you already bought a battery at full price, you might be able to get a refund. There's some anecdotal evidence of customers receiving refunds for the price difference if they bought before the discount. However, details about who is eligible for such a refund, and how to get it, are scarce.

Our best advice? Check with Apple (and be extremely polite about it) to see if you're eligible. Visit a store if you can, when foot traffic is minimal.

But Apple Might Not Replace Your Battery

Unfortunately, if your phone is damaged in other ways, Apple could opt to not replace the battery. It could also refuse to give you the discount if an employee finds third-party components in your iPhone. Although certain types of damage and third-party repair jobs could void your warranty (except for screen replacements), this is still a curious caveat since this solution replaces batteries on devices that are out-of-warranty in the first place.

Readers, what do you think? Is this move enough for Apple to redeem itself? Let us know in the comments below.


Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015, after many years of becoming well-versed in technology issues as a communications professional for a software company. She first entered journalism in college, reporting on issues facing frugal students for CollegeCandy.com. Julie lives in DealNews' hometown of Huntsville, AL.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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29 comments
dtrudea
Tony B...LMAO! I love Seinfeld reference. I hope you're wrong as my appt is tomorrow with the Genius Bar. Stay tuned
RealTalk
Apple is TRASH and I hope the people actually realize it this time. The damage control they are doing is RIDICULOUS. It's much more than just a battery issue. They PURPOSELY slowed down older model phones through the software update. Ask yourself why a company who wants you to buy a new phone every year would do that?!?
motusmedia
Coincidently I wrote a blog post about the same experience for the same reason. Not only was I sold on the replacement battery but after that I was told how to slow down my iphone to save battery life.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@hammermint

Thanks, we corrected the subheader.
mbirnbaum
Julie, you should have just posted Apple's release https://www.apple.com/...-battery-and-performance/ as it is a lot clearer than your writing.
hammermint
At the risk of being pedantic, the bold "Through 2019" matches neither reality nor the (correct) information presented elsewhere in the article. Cheers!
Sezeller
Was completely disappointed by Apple yesterday. I thought I had an appointment to have my battery replaced today only to find out I had an appointment to make an appointment to have my battery replaced. They do not replace your battery on the 1st visit they scan and diagnose your battery and they proceed to brainwash you as to why. The rep actually said we have introduced the 6s, 7, 8, and 10 since you bought this phone so you should expect a slowdown in performance, really? Hyundai has not slowed down my 2014 Sonata. This whole deal smells like bull hockeyafter all I was not having any problems with the phone prior to the update. Your phone will never be a fast as it was because the software installed to monitor the battery slows down the processor. They now want the batteries replace every 500 charges... that is about every 16 months at 79.
BlueOak
"...this is still a curious caveat since this solution replaces batteries on devices that are out-of-warranty in the first place."

Actually, Apple is smart to not touch a device whose innards have been modified by a third party. Perhaps you've heard of battery overheating issues? Safety issue.

(They'll likely offer a replacement refurbished phone at a greatly reduced price tho. And Apple refurb for an IPhone means new battery and case at a much minimum.)
BlueOak
LOL, all the bellyachers. Oh please, Apple didn't slow down for planned obsolescence. They did it because most sane users would prefer to have their old battery phone last the day.

Should they expose the charge-holding condition of an older battery in Settings? Perhaps.

But then the same whiners would accuse Apple of pushing battery replacement sales! Come on, admit it. ;-)
Tony Balogna
replacement batteries probably have planned obsolescence coinciding with some new gotta have I-Phone generation. As far as appointments @ Genius Bar I thought I was in a Seinfeld episode. Showed up a few minutes early and was shown the line I could get in which was the same if I had just walked in the door. The take the reservation they just don't know how to hold the reservation
dtrudea
Stateautotag...I agree. I'm happy with whomever caught Apple red handed. Just remember no guarantee they will replace your battery. They will run a test first. If this thread keeps going I'll come back and report my experience late next week. Thats the date of my appt with the Apple Genius Bar.
aihesou
Unless, of course, you had your daughter's iphone battery replaced at $79 two weeks before their official admission because of the very same slowdown they owned up to. In that case, Apple will not honor the $29 replacement price because there was never a problem in slowdown until they officially admitted to it mid-day on Saturday. Anything prior was not an issue, and yes, this is Apple Store's official stance. Impressive customer service. They would rather just wait for the class action lawsuits than proactively service the customers they knowingly mislead? Makes me want to buy again from this impressively run company.
Enough-enough-ENOUGH
Had a 70shiba multimedia notebook years ago that that had a known overheating issue. 70shiba fixed it with a firmware update that throttled the CPU down. After that it was good for little more than a MP3 player, word processor & web surfer. Last time with them for me...
BB Crisp
As some others have stated, this article and title are misleading. Batteries age and become less effective over time. The Apple OS was slowing performance for devices with older batteries as an alternative to having them randomly shut down. Between the two options, I completely understand why they'd slow performance. Most of the people upset about this seem to be misunderstanding how hardware works as it ages or would actually prefer slightly faster performance with random crashes.
Bertinaz
@nimer sorry cannot agree with you. I had an iPhone 5 which lasted me 5 years without any issues. I sold it for $100 and upgraded to an Android phone. Nothing wrong with the old iphone, even the speed didn't slow down after 5 years. I just needed a bigger screen.

The Android phone lasted me less than 1 year. The speed slows down so fast and the screen cracked after a drop with case on. $200 down the drain. After that, I got an Iphone 7 plus - Viola! A fast, responsive, not easily broken phone! Will not go back to cheap Android phone any time soon.
stateautotag
I'm actually happy about this. My family all have Iphone 7's and have since 11/2016. Now before my contract expires in 11/2018 I will go to the Apple store with the family and we will all get new batteries for $29.00 thereby avoiding buying a new phone (at a cost of $700.00 to $1000.00 each) for at least 2 more years. By then we will save enough to all buy the Iphone XX or 9 or 11 or whatever they call them by then. Whoever caught them and made them admit to the throttling of battery power, Thank You!!!
dtrudea
Watching; Thanks for your comments. I'll be sure to ask Apple before going in. Quite ridiculous u have to do that though. As you stated, can't believe employees that Apple wasted your time like that esp with an appt already set.
Mike33
Just to clarify, Apple did not "mess up", title is misleading, what they did is prevent your 2-3 year old phone / battery from shutting itself down by making os adjustments...imagine if you were trying to make a 911 call - better to have phone up and running at less than optimal than shutting down. Batteries don't last forever folks, nor can you get peak performance from an aging battery. Recommended reading:
https://www.apple.com/...s/maximizing-performance/
https://www.apple.com/...-battery-and-performance/
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208387
After you've read these 3 articles....then we'll talk about batteries.
And please, make a genius bar appointment before you go in, Apple has sold a billion plus iphones, don't expect immediate service just walking in.
Watching
jsailfun-there is battery diagnostics but Apple typically will run that before they replace your phone battery. After 2 yrs, your battery is likely in need of replacement given the likely number or recharges...the software only makes it more fun...:) Anybody looking to replace should make sure they have one before you waste your time going in......
jsail4fun
What upsets me about this is that my wife had an iphone 6, which wasn't really that old. She upgraded to a seven just a few weeks before the 8 came out because her battery life was low and the speed unbearably slow. Even at the $79 rate if the genius had informed us that replacing the battery would have solved the problem then she could have kept the phone longer.
jsail4fun
Is there a test or any way to tell if your battery needs replacement? And I still don't understand why the phone wouldn't be faster when plugged into a charger.
JeffreyW75
Sounds like consumer fraud, and I hope some state attorney generals start hammering Apple for this sort of conduct.
nimer
@Shikamoo. I agree. Samsung and google have a bit of that fashion statement flare too. Especially nowadays when you can get great phones for $200 or so

That said, that doesn't get them off the hock. They lied, and they got caught.
Watching
I went to the apple store appointment yesterday here in Wi and there are no batteries available. 5-10 days is what i was told. This was after calling Apple Support and getting an appointment. I'm not sure why they don't simply set up a site just for these battery replacements so a user and battery can be assigned to a user and contacted when it arrives....Naturally, none of this could have been foreseen....:)
Shikamoo
Ah, sweet vindication - Apple finally admits the truth I've been speaking about for so many years:

http://www.mikecornelison.com/...their-own-devices

Let's be honest, when you buy an Apple phone, you get a good quality phone made by the best slave labor Asian countries have to offer, but what you're really choosing is to pay for is the fashion statement made and not the sum of its parts. Buying Apple phones and laptops are basically the tech version of buying a Louis Vuitton handbag. It's a status symbol first and foremost.
nimer
@aarond12, I urge you to research the issue.

Power management of mobile devices is nothing new. Batteries do age and lose charge. What most mobile devices do -including laptops- is tune down performance as the battery loses charge (for example drop to 20% or so).

What Apple Store to doing with iOS 10.2.1 is look at the number of cycles left in the battery, and tone down the performance accordingly. In other words, your phone could be at 100 percent, or even plugged in, and it would still be slowed down as the spike might be too much for it.

I'm sorry but this seems to be just bad software. If it's an existing problem as you claim, how come earlier versions of iOS never had this issue? Where the batteries better back then? Was the hardware higher quality?

I'm not an Apple hater, I've been a fan for over 20 years now, and i only exclusively use iPhone. But I call it like it is.
F091262
This is too funny. Apple users seem to have more money than sense. Even by offering battery replacements at $29 Apple will still make money off its victims (followers). I don't own an iPhone, but if I did, I would want a free battery replacement for my troubles, not a discount. Apple is only sorry it got caught.
aarond12
As a software developer, nimer is completely wrong. The software IS optimized for power consumption. Otherwise they wouldn't even have the ability to throttle the performance of the phone.

As a mobile phone user, I would much rather have my phone slowed slightly than to have it randomly shut down. That was the entire purpose of the throttling of the performance of the phones.

I'm disappointed in DealNews' headline. Apple didn't mess up. They fixed a problem -- the problem of older handsets randomly shutting down. The issue stems from the battery experiencing a spike in impedance and resistance in certain situations, causing a voltage drop. That voltage drop is what caused phones to shut down.
nimer
As a software consultant, I'm very disappointed in Apple. They are rushing software updates that by their own admission is causing so much battery drain that the phone would shut down. I'm sorry, software developed for a mobile device should be optimized for power Consumption. They used to pay attention to such details, but now they are rushing things so instead they put the stupid Band-Aid that slows down the phone on purpose.

The only reason Apple apologized an issue this program is because they got caught .

SHAME ON YOU APPLE!