Bad, Apple. Bad.

“Guess what, Apple. You’ve got some explaining to do.” — Justin, The Art of Repair

From iFixit’s “Apple Is Locking iPhone Batteries to Discourage Repair

By activating a dormant software lock on their newest iPhones, Apple is effectively announcing a drastic new policy: only Apple batteries can go in iPhones, and only they can install them.

If you replace the battery in the newest iPhones, a message indicating you need to service your battery appears in Settings > Battery, next to Battery Health. The “Service” message is normally an indication that the battery is degraded and needs to be replaced. The message still shows up when you put in a brand new battery, however. Here’s the bigger problem: our lab tests confirmed that even when you swap in a genuine Apple battery, the phone will still display the “Service” message.

It’s not a bug; it’s a feature Apple wants. Unless an Apple Genius or an Apple Authorized Service Provider authenticates a battery to the phone, that phone will never show its battery health and always report a vague, ominous problem.

My take: In terms of user hostility, right up there with killing MagSafe. Chairman Cook, tear down this dormant lock!

Below: Justin has the goods.


  1. Fred Stein said:

    Jeff is correct.

    Imagine if Apple allowed anyone to replace batteries and one blew up. We’d hear “Bad Apple should have prevented that.” Do folks remember when Apple were fined for not putting up strong enough defenses against kids making in-App purchases?

    Privacy, encryption, curating the App Store, etc. are all part of Apple’s protective promise.

    Finally: What’s at stake? A minor cost difference on one repair which amounts to pennies a day in life time cost.

    August 9, 2019
  2. Gregg Thurman said:

    Stupid article.

    In addition to the above GOOD reasons for this feature I’d like to point out that there are only 2 sources for genuine iPhone batteries available to unauthorized repair centers: used and gutted stolen

    Unpaid for iPhones are bricked when removed from the Store, reducing its value to the sum of its parts. Seems to me that in addition to preventing potential fire hazard Apple is also making a major component (the battery) worthless to smash and grab thieves.

    I think the feature is smart on multiple levels.

    August 9, 2019
  3. Aaron Belich said:

    iFixit will lose a major revenue stream if Apple locks down their components. Or they will simply need to toe the Apple line and become a certified service member.

    August 9, 2019
    • David Emery said:

      There’s a clear tradeoff between -authorized repair center- and the -right to repair movement-. iFixit needs to make a very strong case why they cannot become an authorized repair center, given the reasonable reasons why Apple has restrictions on repairs.

      August 9, 2019

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