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Apple on iPhone Battery Locking Issue: We Want to Make Sure Battery Replacement is Done Properly

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Last week, iPhone repair site iFixit highlighted a new iPhone feature described as a "dormant software lock" designed to prevent customers who get unauthorized battery repairs from seeing the battery health of their devices.

On an iPhone XS, XS Max, or iPhone XR, getting a repair from a non-Apple authorized source results in a message that says "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine battery," with the iPhone refusing to display battery health information.


Apple today provided a statement on the issue to iMore, confirming that it did indeed introduce "a new feature" last year that brings up the aforementioned message when a non-authorized battery repair is made, with the aim of protecting customers from "damaged, poor quality, or used batteries."
We take the safety of our customers very seriously and want to make sure any battery replacement is done properly. 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.
On an iPhone XR, XS, or XS Max that has a battery replaced outside of an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider, the iPhone will simply read "Service" and will provide the messaging about a battery that can't be verified.

The battery health feature that lets customers see the health of their batteries is blocked and not available, with no measurement of maximum capacity or peak performance capacity.

iFixit discovered that this message pops up regardless of the battery being used. An unauthorized repair from a shop using a genuine Apple battery from another iPhone displays the warning message just as a third-party non-Apple battery does.

According to Apple, the notification about the non-genuine battery does not affect a customer's ability to use the phone after the repair, but it is of course going to make customers wary of third-party repair shops that are not authorized by Apple.

The only way to avoid the messaging when getting a battery replacement on an iPhone XS, XS Max, XR (and presumably future iPhones) is to get that repair done through Apple. Apple charges $69 for an out-of-warranty replacement battery in its newest iPhones, which is more expensive than many third-party repair shops.

Repairs are free with AppleCare+ and when iPhones are under the one-year standard warranty, but as these iPhones age and are no longer covered, customers will need to shell out more money for an Apple-certified repair or live with a non-functioning battery health feature.


Research from YouTube channel The Art of Repair suggests that Apple's newest iPhones use a Texas Instruments microcontroller on the battery, which is designed to authenticate the battery.

Repairs from Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers likely use Apple's proprietary RepairCal diagnostics software to reset the "Service" status when doing a battery replacement, something that can't be replicated by non-Apple repair shops without the required equipment.

Article Link: Apple on iPhone Battery Locking Issue: We Want to Make Sure Battery Replacement is Done Properly
 

mattster16

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2004
720
431
Apple doesn't want to report a battery health metric of a battery for which they don't know the exact specs and/or quality. Makes perfect sense to me. That being said, is there a technical reason the phone can't identify a genuine battery on its own without relying on a service status 'reset' using proprietary software?
 
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ScreenSavers

macrumors 68000
Feb 26, 2016
1,834
1,171
Bloomingdale, GA
Apple doesn't want to report a battery health metric of a battery for which they don't know the exact specs and/or quality. Makes perfect sense to me. That being said, is there a technical reason the phone can't identify a genuine battery on its own without relying on a service status 'reset' using proprietary software?
Sure it can. MacBooks have been doing it for years. It's a basic calculation of the cycle cound and how long it takes to drain to calculate the maximum number if MAh the battery can hold.
 
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VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
2,401
11,859
Scotland
Seems like a very user-vindictive policy. Shame on Apple. My nearest authorised Apple Centre is more than an hour away. I replaced the battery on my iPhone 4S and funnily enough it didn't explode or have 'performance issues'.
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What of the countless unscrupulous dealers and repairs shops who put subpar wares in your device?

So.... Apple components are perfect then. My kid has a MacBook that suggests not.
 
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NY Guitarist

macrumors 65816
Mar 21, 2011
1,228
785
I see a class action lawsuit in the making here. It seems like Apple is using a scare tactic to reduce competition.

A replacement battery doesn't automatically mean the phone needs 'service'.

Unless there is an obvious and verifiable service issue, battery status should indicate nothing more than the battery may not be an Apple factory replacement.
 
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jona2125

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2010
780
648
"We want to make sure we are remunerated correctly."

Seriously, the battery warning should not pop up with a genuine OEM battery salvaged from another iPhone.

That's the problem, if the part is not directly sourced from Apple or it's authorized providers, it is considered counterfeit. Even if you go to an Apple store, buy a brand new iPhone and take the battery out and put it in a different phone, that battery is now mind-numbingly not considered genuine now.
 
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realtuner

Suspended
Mar 8, 2019
1,714
5,054
Canada
"We want to make sure we are remunerated correctly."

Seriously, the battery warning should not pop up with a genuine OEM battery salvaged from another iPhone.

Why? What reason could there be to take a battery from one iPhone and install it into another iPhone?

There is none. Except that the donor iPhone is a stolen iPhone being salvaged for parts. This identifies such a practice.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,962
36,908
So Apple basically thinks everyone is stupid enough to not be capable of doing a very easy thing.

That’s not what Apple is saying at all, if you want to replace your own battery, then by all means, do so. But some prefer Apple to take initiative for the battery replacement and warranty their work.

For the record, what’s ‘easy’ for you may not be easy for someone else, for those who don’t have the basic knowledge or tools to replace the battery. Again, it’s a ‘safe bet’ to allow Apple to make the replacement given the circumstances.
 
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jwzimm

macrumors member
Nov 19, 2017
98
37
Except a genuine OEM battery salvaged from another iPhone presents the same warning.
Does that battery have the ability to report the number of cycles on it? If not it is the same problem. The battery health is determined based on several factors, including current cycle count. If the phone does not know the cycle count on the replacement battery, it cannot accurately assess the health of that battery.

As stated in the article and release, the phone will work perfectly fine. The only effect is that the health status reporting function will be disabled as Apple is not able to properly assess battery health. Seems like a reasonable approach to me. Rather than reporting potentially false data, do not report anything.
 
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