iFixit: Apple 'Locking' iPhone Batteries to Discourage Third-Party Replacements [Updated]

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has activated a "dormant software lock" on its latest iPhones to discourage battery replacements that aren't undertaken by Apple, according to iFixit.

    The teardown group has discovered that an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, or iPhone XS Max that has had its battery swapped by anyone other than Apple or an Apple authorized service provider will now display a message saying their battery needs servicing.

    The message appears in both iOS 12 and iOS 13 beta, and prevents the user from accessing the Battery Health features. Instead they see an "Important Battery Message" which reads: "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery."

    iFixit notes that the message doesn't appear to affect the functionality of the battery, but makes it harder to know when a replacement battery installed by a third-party needs to be replaced.

    YouTube channel The Art of Repair has discovered the source of the message to be a Texas Instruments microcontroller installed on the battery itself, which authenticates the battery as an Apple one and provides the iPhone with information about battery capacity and temperature.

    Apple and other authorized service providers likely use Apple's own RepairCal diagnostics software to reset the "Service" status when it undertakes an iPhone battery replacement - an in-house procedure that's obviously not available to a third-party.

    iFixit says the message appears designed to deter battery replacements using third-party repair kits, like the one sold by iFixit, and to discourage customers from getting a third-party repair shop to swap out their iPhone battery.

    Apple would probably argue it is doing it out of safety concerns surrounding the replacement of swollen or damaged batteries. Nonetheless, it places further restrictions on the options available to iPhone users looking to get their battery replaced by anyone except Apple.

    The practice harks back to a more damaging third-party iPhone repair controversy: Error 53, widely publicized in 2016, caused some iPhone 6 users who had the Home buttons on their iPhones fixed by a non-Apple technician using non-original parts to see their iPhones bricked following a software update.

    When the error code first surfaced, Apple said that error 53 was a protective security feature meant to prevent "malicious" third-party components from potentially compromising a user's iPhone.

    However, after public outcry, Apple released a software update restoring functionality to bricked iPhones. Following the software update to unbrick iPhones, Apple claimed that the error 53 issue was meant to be a factory test and never should have impacted consumer devices.

    Update: According to an Apple service document obtained by MacRumors, Battery Health info is unavailable for any iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR that has a non-genuine battery and is running iOS 12.1 or later.

    Article Link: iFixit: Apple 'Locking' iPhone Batteries to Discourage Third-Party Replacements [Updated]
  2. jameswilby macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2016
    Oh yeh... get yourself a big bowl of popcorn for this one
  3. Radon87000 macrumors 604

    Nov 29, 2013
    Its planned obsolescence to get people to buy Apple’s batteries to generate more revenue.
  4. emmab2006 macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2008
    Stoke on trent
    Louis Rossman Already pointed this out. Apple is a Disgusting company when it comes to the right to repair. we dont own our products. as far as apple are concerned we lease them from them. and we have ZERO rights
  5. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    Of course Apple is only considering our safety :). /S
  6. Hieveryone macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2014
    Maybe it’s greed, maybe it’s security, maybe it’s greed in the name of security
  7. Azeroth1 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2010
    At least (for now) the battery still functions. I’m still more annoyed by all the laptops that use glue or solder parts for no reason just to discourage repairs.
  8. kissmo macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2011
    Budapest, Hungary
    That is soooo Apple...

    Bravo! Keep up the good work! :))

    Keep innovating on ways to milk money rather than innovating on products.
    Apple grew financially a lot after Steve... but products didn't evolve at the pace when Jobs was there.

    At least Steve had charisma in selling these "services" :))

    Timmy Timmy.... you'll soon be CEO in bikini... (because you lost all the money...)
  9. otternonsense, Aug 8, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019

    otternonsense macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2016
    Absolute BS greedy move, clearly because battery replacements (esp. the discounted ones after iOS throttling hit the news) have hurt their shamelessly priced iPhone X-R-S gen sales and bottomline. And at the same time Tim will continue bragging about "sustainability" and regurgitate inspirational calendar nonsense while bleeding customers dry. smh
  10. Hieveryone macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2014
    In time it might just give an error and not work at all. Maybe this is just a test run to see how consumers react.
  11. Silver Pegasus macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011
    Edinburgh, UK
    Thing is.. if it is a 3rd party Battery, why do people expect this feature to work. Apple won't fix that battery under warranty and the function likely won't be accurate anyways with said 3rd party battery in place, as who knows what the specs on that battery are.
    Misleading for Apple or any other phone manufacturer to allow it in the past...
  12. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014
    This article has a weird vibe.

    Where does this "lock the software"?

    It doesn't say that.

    Well, yes. How is Apple supposed to say when a third-party-produced battery needs servicing?

    It doesn't really do that, though. It merely says that it can't really present diagnostic information about the battery. That's all.
  13. ediks macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2015
    and how can we change the battery when there is not an apple store in our country? is premium reseller considered original?
  14. Northern Man macrumors regular

    Northern Man

    Aug 25, 2013
    This company is just going from bad to worse. The greed has no limit. Shameful. No morals remain. Getting in bed with the disgusting Goldman Sachs for the credit card was a clear indication that Apple under Cook will get into any sewer if it can make a buck.

    Hopefully karma will give Apple and Cook their just desserts in the not too distant future.
  15. skorpeon macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2017
  16. PickUrPoison, Aug 8, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019

    PickUrPoison macrumors 601

    Sep 12, 2017
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Apple’s battery health algorithm isn’t validated or even necessarily valid/accurate with replacement batteries I wouldn’t think, so I can understand battery health info not being supplied. Also, third party batteries don’t have the ability to report capacity and temperature. But replacement batteries still function. It’s not like they don’t/won’t work.

    Not sure how big a problem this is.
  17. Silver Pegasus macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2011
    Edinburgh, UK
    Using an Apple Authorized Service Provider is classed as 'original' quality repairs.
  18. blackcrayon macrumors 68000

    Mar 10, 2003
    Yeah, so a 3rd party battery doesn't contain a hardware feature that Apple's original batteries have, and that's Apple's fault? :D I agree on the tone of the article, you'd think a 3rd party battery was limited to 15 minutes runtime then the phone automatically shuts off or something.

    Also as usual, the tone of the comments will be as if people read the headline but didn't read the actual description.
  19. Wanted797 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2011
    I always thought this was the case.

    I recently replaced the battery on my old iPhone 6s (I already have an iPhone X) with an ifixit kit and was surprised when it read the battery health.

    Sadly I’ve broken the home button in the process.
  20. Khedron macrumors 65816

    Sep 27, 2013
    Official Apple discussion forum is on lockdown, mods deleting any questions about this issue
  21. miniroll32 macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2010
    As C-3PO would say...
    “Well, here we go again!”
  22. PickUrPoison macrumors 601

    Sep 12, 2017
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Well it originates from ifixit so that explains that.
  23. Khedron macrumors 65816

    Sep 27, 2013
    It's not 3rd party, it's the exact same battery (do you think Apple manufactures batteries?). Even take a battery from one iPhone and put it in another but without Apple's special code and the battery health warnings will appear.
  24. alpi123 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 18, 2014
    We don't have Apple Store in Bulgaria either, but:

    -mobile carriers use original parts too, so you can take your phone there.
    -authorized resellers exist. While there is no official Apple Store in my country, we do have an official repair shop and also the rest of the authorized shops use original parts only.

    These shops act like an official Apple Store, the repairs are done in hours. But still, having a genuine store would be the best.
  25. simply258 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2003
    It’s just the battery health software that’s disabled. Otherwise it doesn’t affect usage.

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