Study: 61% don’t know their iPhone battery can be replaced

Batteries Plus Bulbs today released the results of a nationwide survey with Kelton Research that evaluated the main issues consumers face in regards to their electronic devices—battery life and damage. The survey reveals 39 percent of sampled Americans are currently using broken smartphones, with 56 percent of that group stating poor battery life as their number one issue. Results also show nine in 10 Americans have at least one electronic device that runs out of battery power sooner than expected, with smartphones draining the quickest according to 57 percent of those surveyed.

With nearly two in five Americans admitting their smartphone is currently in need of repair, most have settled with living with a less-than-fully-functioning device to avoid high replacement costs and the hassle of sending it somewhere to get fixed. In fact:

More than half—56 percent—cite cost as the number one reason they haven’t had their smartphone fixed
• 31 percent haven’t repaired their damaged device because it is still usable
• 25 percent would rather live with a damaged device versus spending the time or money trying to get it repaired
• 13 percent aren’t aware of a retail store they would trust to do a repair
• 12 percent don’t want to spend the time waiting for it to get fixed and being without their phone

“While summer is a busy time for smartphone and tablet usage with quite a few Americans traveling, we’re surprised so many people are operating with impaired or otherwise compromised devices,” said Russ Reynolds, CEO of Batteries Plus Bulbs, in a statement. “What this survey tells us is people are hesitant to repair their smartphones and tablets because of a lack of education and awareness of the array of options available to easily fix these devices. In fact, we completed our own independent study among iPhone owners and found — of the 1,000 polled — 61.4 percent don’t even know the battery can be replaced.

According to the Kelton survey, the most common issues those with a broken smartphone face aside from poor battery life are cracked screens (30 percent) and charge port issues (22 percent). However, with almost two thirds of respondents reporting insufficient battery life, this is a key issue most likely affecting more people beyond those surveyed.

“What many Americans don’t realize is that for trained technicians, replacing smartphone batteries is a relatively easy process and it’s significantly cheaper for the consumer than purchasing a new phone,” said Oz Rahman, VP of Quality Assurance & Repair Operations at Batteries Plus Bulbs, in a statement. “When faced with a quick draining battery, have it tested first. It’s often not reflective of a device’s overall lifespan, and the battery replacement process can prevent the purchase of an entirely new device.”

The survey also exposed a wide array of ways in which Americans admitted to damaging their smartphones:

• 25 percent noted they threw it out of frustration
• 24 percent admitted to dropping it in the toilet
• Nearly 1 in 5 confessed they were unable to remember how their device was damaged because they were drinking

This survey was conducted by Kelton Global online among 1,000 nationally representative Americans age 18 and over, with a margin of error of +/-3.1 percent. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. Population age 18 and over.

MacDailyNews Note: More info and pricing for Apple’s iPhone repair services:

• Screen Damage
• Battery & Power
Other Repairs

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]


    1. This.

      Last fall, my two-year-old iPhone 5’s home button was working intermittently, the “volume down” button was inoperative (and had been since right after the warranty expired), and the battery had become “puffy” and broken the adhesive bond with the retaining clips on the screen.

      So, I looked at the iFixit site and ordered a battery, screen with home button, the audio circuit with the volume buttons, and the tool kit. I then spent a couple of hours tearing the phone apart, replacing the parts, and putting it all back together.

      Initially, I was thrilled. The repair had gone perfectly, and it was like I had a brand new phone. But, as I started using the phone, I realized all wasn’t exactly right.

      First, the screen wasn’t quite as high-quality as the OEM Retina display. It’s only noticeable occasionally, but for lack of a better way to describe it, it’s like it has “scan lines”. It’s very subtle, but annoying when I do notice it. Lame.

      Then, after a month or so, I realized the battery was hardly any better than the exhausted battery it replaced. Now, six months later, it’s worse than the original, rarely making it 12 hours, with only light use – no games or other data-intensive use.

      Lesson learned. The aftermarket parts are inexpensive for a reason.

      1. I had a “puffy” battery in my 20 moth old 5s that was pushing the screen up. Took it to the Apple Store and they replaced the phone even though it was out of warranty. That’s great customer satisfaction.

        1. About 6 months ago, my old 3Gs did the same; broke open the phone and separated the screen from it in the process of blowing up while charging. Not sure what to do with it now. I used it all the time on wifi at home as a spare for music, mail and radio streaming (I have a 6+ now.) It shouldn’t have done that. I took it to an Apple store and they said “too bad.” I had hoped they might offer some help since it could have been dangerous and started a fire. I had heard stories of batteries blowing up but never would have believed an Apple product would do it.

        2. They’re covering their asses. They don’t care about your satisfaction unless you’ve upgraded to the latest iPhone. (Google WiFried) A puffy battery has the potential to burst into flames. Giving you a $3 battery and having a tech who makes $10 an hour spend 10 minutes swapping it out is well worth it to prevent a lawsuit and/or bad press. They’ve still netted ~$495 profit on your phone if you bought it new.

          And for the record, Apple spends much less than all of its competitors on R&D, and that is in terms of the absolute sum. If you look at it as a percentage of revenue or profits, it’s so low it’s off the charts. And no its not because they’re more focused and efficient, it’s because they don’t develop new technologies. They repackage technologies after other firms do the real work developing them and the prices have come down. So, don’t tell me I’m not accounting R&D. Apple is a marketing company, and an incredibly successful one.

      2. The puffy battery needed to be replaced, right away. That is hydrogen gas building up and can explode. Next time show it to Apple. They do not like seeing or hearing about this. You might be surprised. My iPhone 5 had a battery recall. Even though it was out of warranty, they replaced it. Then a month later, the phone flat out died. They replaced the phone. After two years, they gave me a white box iPhone “absolutely new,” less than a month from manufacture.

        Sure they stopped selling the White 64GB 5, but they were still making them.

        1. The thing is, I didn’t know it was the puffy battery forcing the screen up until after I’d bought the parts and disassembled the phone. I was under the assumption that the screen had popped up because I dropped it on my desk one day. Right after that is when the screen bowed. So, it was dropping the phone in my desk that triggered it, but it was the battery that was the underlying cause. If only I’d known.

          In hindsight, yes – I should have taken the phone into the Apple Store.

  1. I got a new battery for my 4S—£12 and came with all the tools and took five minutes.

    There are a lot of cowboys in the iPhone repair business. My daughter’s 4S died for no reason after having had a broken screen replaced by a so-called “expert”. I took it to my local guru who stripped it down, soaked everything in alcohol and got it working for less than half the usual fee charged by the cowboys.

    He also replaced free of charge a number of bits that were missing: for example, the chassis grounding lug on the battery.


  2. I replaced the battery in my electric wine opener (discovered it uses battery designed for cordless phones) and felt pretty accomplished. Thirsty work; had some wine to celebrate.

  3. > Nearly 1 in 5 confessed they were unable to remember how their device was damaged because they were drinking

    It amazes me that nearly 20% of those surveyed abuse their brain on a regular basis.

    1. The statistic isn’t entirely clear. Were they drinking when the device was damaged, drinking when the pollster called, or drinking continuously?

      1. It seems clear to me… 🙂 The poll asked how their smartphone was damaged. They were “wasted” to the point of not being able to remember how it happened. They probably also woke up in the morning with a hangover, not remembering when or how they got home.

  4. I think the engineers at Apple are smart enough to make an iPhone that has a user replaceable battery without making it look like a Zune or something.

    I rarely see anyone carrying an iPhone without a case, so all those smooth lines and unbroken surfaces are usually buried under plastic or leather cases. Given that, why not an iPhone designed for easy end user battery replacement?

    1. Customer replaceable parts are removable parts that people would fidget with and eventually get worn and fail. It would also leave more exposed internal components.
      Causing far more issues than a simple battery replacement program.

      1. The battery in my car is replaceable and I have never had the desire to fidget with. Same is true of user replaceable batteries back when they existed on Apple laptops.

        Pretty thin argument.

  5. A few weeks back my wife thought her phone had died. It is still under the Applecare program so I said no problem I will book you into for an appointment at the Apple Store.
    I go online and am shocked that there were no available appt for 3 days. I call the tech support and get the same answer. In the end I was able to force restart it and it was back to normal.
    However it did stress me out quite a bit because what if this happened just before she needed to travel. Any other make of phone I could go to AT&T and they could help me out right away.
    If Apple insist that they only deal with repairs then they need to be able to accommodate needs within 24hrs.

  6. I definitely have sympathy for folks who are not techno-geeks getting confused by modern day TechTard journalism. I’m talking about people who are required to be clear and knowledgable about technology but are NOT. Instead, the rant has been that the iPhone batteries cannot be replaced by any average consumer or even an average electronics shop. That’s a change from the old fat phones with easily interchangeable batteries. Getting confused that all these batteries are now permanently soldered into place and can’t be changed by even Apple seems to be an almost inevitable assumption. Thankfully, that’s an assumption too far.

    Is it more expensive to have an Apple certified shop change the battery than the old fat phone DIY battery changes? Yes. But we’re talking about a phone that has established the modern standard of thin, integrated design. No clunkiness is evident or even possible with recent Apple designs. Maybe some day thin, tightly packed techno gear will become so standardized that flipping in a new battery will be standard again. But it’s not right now. Nonetheless, the battery IS designed to be replaced. So replace it when you need to, just not yourself.

    Sorry that turned into a lecture. I’m up too late.

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