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Apple responds to iPhone “battery lock” controversy

Last week, it was reported that Apple is attempting to discourage third party repairs by implementing a “battery lock”. If you replace a battery on an iPhone XS, XS Max or iPhone XR, you won’t be able to view your battery health info if it’s done at a non-Apple authorised service provider. On top of that, you even get a warning “Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine battery. Health information not available for this battery”

This came into light after Justin of The Art of Repair had posted a video about the issue last week. Interestingly, he even swapped in another genuine Apple battery from another iPhone and it still pops up the same message. As a result, many were unhappy that Apple is trying to force everyone to pay more for repairs through its official outlets. The folks at iFixit said that “It’s not a bug; it’s a feature Apple wants.”

To address concerns, Apple has issued the following statement that was shared with iMore:

“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 US 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.”

In summary, this warning is not just about having a genuine battery but it is to verify that it was installed by a certified Apple technician. Understandably, this would be a concern for third party technicians as consumers may get the impressions that they have gotten a battery that’s not safe even if it is a genuine part. For Apple, this can be seen as a move to ensure that their batteries are replaced properly as uncertified technicians may cause damage to the iPhone through improper installation.

It is worth pointing out that despite the warning under the Battery Health section, users will still be able to use their phones if the battery is replaced through third parties. iFixit has also confirmed that you will get the full benefits of a fresh new battery and Apple does not throttle your phone’s performance.

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The only problem is that you can’t view your battery’s health and when it is due for a replacement. The battery health info is a feature that was introduced with iOS 11.3. iFixit has also reported that Apple has done something similar for third party display replacements last year. If an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X display is swapped, you could lose access to auto-brightness and True Tone even if it’s a genuine part.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.


Alexander Wong