Apple apologizes for poor communication about iPhone batteries and performance; slashes battery replacement cost from $79 to $29

Apple today posted the following message to the company’s website, verbatim:

December 28, 2017

A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance

We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.

How batteries age

All rechargeable batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age and their ability to hold a charge diminishes. Time and the number of times a battery has been charged are not the only factors in this chemical aging process.

Device use also affects the performance of a battery over its lifespan. For example, leaving or charging a battery in a hot environment can cause a battery to age faster. These are characteristics of battery chemistry, common to lithium-ion batteries across the industry.

A chemically aged battery also becomes less capable of delivering peak energy loads, especially in a low state of charge, which may result in a device unexpectedly shutting itself down in some situations.

To help customers learn more about iPhone’s rechargeable battery and the factors affecting its performance, we’ve posted a new support article, iPhone Battery and Performance.
It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable. We don’t want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it.

Preventing unexpected shutdowns

About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown. While these changes may go unnoticed, in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance.

Customer response to iOS 10.2.1 was positive, as it successfully reduced the occurrence of unexpected shutdowns. We recently extended the same support for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.

Of course, when a chemically aged battery is replaced with a new one, iPhone performance returns to normal when operated in standard conditions.
Recent user feedback

Over the course of this fall, we began to receive feedback from some users who were seeing slower performance in certain situations. Based on our experience, we initially thought this was due to a combination of two factors: a normal, temporary performance impact when upgrading the operating system as iPhone installs new software and updates apps, and minor bugs in the initial release which have since been fixed.

We now believe that another contributor to these user experiences is the continued chemical aging of the batteries in older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s devices, many of which are still running on their original batteries.

Addressing customer concerns

We’ve always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We’re proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors’ devices.

To address our customers’ concerns, to recognize their loyalty and to regain the trust of anyone who may have doubted Apple’s intentions, we’ve decided to take the following steps:

• Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018. Details will be provided soon on apple.com.

• Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.

• As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.

At Apple, our customers’ trust means everything to us. We will never stop working to earn and maintain it. We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support — and we will never forget that or take it for granted.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on December 20th:

As has almost always been the case with Apple, unfortunately, transparency comes later, not sooner, and usually as a reaction to negative publicity.

A simple Knowledge Base article would have preempted all of this Reddit sleuthing and the attendant handwringing and erroneous presumptions.

And, as we wrote on December 21st:

Lithium-ion batteries are to mobile devices as tires are to vehicles… As with your car’s tires, which are not covered in even the most comprehensive vehicle service arrangements, your iPhone batteries are your responsibility. Normal wear and tear. Apple, if they should do anything, should make this point exceedingly clear and even include an alert on devices to inform users that states something like:

Your battery has just completed its 500th charging cycle and, to maintain peak performance, needs to be replaced. Your battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles. Your warranty covers a defective battery, but it doesn’t cover battery wear from normal use. For your convenience, your device will continue operating at reduced processor speeds until replacement can be performed.

• If you’re covered under AppleCare+, we’ll replace your battery at no charge if it retains less than 80 percent of its original capacity.
• If your iPhone needs battery replacement and it’s not covered, the service fee is $79.
• If your iPhone has another power issue, we’ll give you the repair price after we determine the cause.

The three bullet points above are exactly Apple’s policy today.

Information on how to maximize your iPhone’s battery life and lifespan is here.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

SEE ALSO:
No, Apple’s throttling of iPhones with aging batteries is not planned obsolescence – December 28, 2017
Apple execs face jail in France after lawsuit over slowing down iPhones – December 28, 2017
Korea seeks explanation from Apple for slowing down devices without warning – December 28, 2017
Apple now facing 8 lawsuits over throttling processors in iPhones with aging batteries – December 27, 2017
Apple tarnished their brand with clandestine iPhone battery management and processor throttling – December 27, 2017
Should Apple replace aging iPhone batteries for free instead of throttling processor speed? – December 21, 2017
Apple confirms iPhones with older batteries will take hits in performance – December 20, 2017
iPhone performance and battery age – December 18, 2017
Apple met with Chinese regulators to discuss iPhone 6s unexpected shutdowns – February 10, 2017
Rumor: Apple may extend iPhone 6s battery replacement program to iPhone 6 – January 17, 2017
A message from Apple about 
iPhone and unexpected shutdowns – December 2, 2016
Apple offers free battery replacement for ‘very small number’ of iPhone 6s units with unexpected shutdown issue – November 21, 2016

59 Comments

  1. Something similar for 5s models would have been nice, too. Had I realized that this was what Apple was doing, I would have replaced the batteries in my kids’s phones a while ago.

  2. Apple might very well let people opt out of this very handy fix to a problem inherent in the best battery technology currently on the market.

    If they do, however, read the disclaimer that will UNDOUBTEDLY appear when you try to do so, because even without reading it, even without it even having been written yet, I can tell you the gist of what it will say:

    “What you’re about to do is a really stupid thing to do, and is really abuse of your iPhone, so if you complain about the results, or suffer other damages because reality didn’t conform to your whims, we’re not responsible. You think you’re so smart and so victimized, fine; do as you please – but it’s on you.

    “And, oh by the way, buy an Android phone next time. You’re probably too dumb to have an iPhone.”

  3. If this doesn’t shut up the whiners, then nothing will. Honestly, the whiners helped a lot of Apple iPhone users get inexpensive battery replacements so it’s good they whined loud and hard. The squeaky wheel really does get the oil.

    I’m sure the class-action lawsuits will be quickly settled by the courts. I doubt any judge will want to be bothered by such a waste of time. Good move on Apple’s part even though it’s a bit late.

  4. Credit where credit is due, Apple made a mistake, they apologised and are going to compensate those effected. Hopefully Apple can learn from this moving forward, but it’s good to see common sense has prevailed.

      1. Apple didn’t get caught, a bunch of clickbait articles stirred up a firestorm with a lot of misleading information so Apple stepped up and dealt with it, because Apple tries to do what is best for their customers. That’s why Apple keeps winning and will keep winning. You had nothing to do with it by the way, you aren’t keeping Apple’s feet to any fire. Apple will win or lose no matter what you say or how loud you yell. I’ll bet on Apple winning.

          1. Winners make mistakes, it’s how you deal with your mistakes that matters, and Apple is doing the right thing. Even applecynic agrees. If either of you jokers think ‘batterygate’ is going to harm Apple long term you are doubly delusional. Watch in horror as Apple keeps on winning, and I’ll be entertained by all your meaningless hollering in comment threads.

            1. Oh, you were talking gambling…
              Sorry, I have vices, but gambling does not interest me.

              I stand by my words, now answer me, would they have “done the right thing” without getting caught?

              Can’t stand the guy, but if I were Trump I’d be tweeting…
              “Apple…Brand…Damaged!”

              The question (thus the gamble) is how much?

            2. Apple’s brand isn’t damaged, just as it wasn’t with any other “whatevergate”. There was no gamble, Apple added a feature that helped users and then some people freaked out that Apple didn’t tell them more about it, so Apple said “Okay, our bad, here’s all you need to know about it.” End of story. No brand damage done. I know you hope there’s brand damage but trust me when I tell you Apple will keep on winning, doesn’t matter what you do, your actions and words do not matter.

            3. I can’t say this for everyone here, but you are a mindless follower. You need a leader to orient you.

              If it didn’t bother you, why defend Apple and why rebut me?
              But we both know why, don’t we…?

  5. Like always – somehow Apple is held to a higher standard than anyone else in the tech industry, or any other company for that matter. They should have just said to those still using older phones with degredated batteries FU – we’re going to do nothing although we know a software solution to help keep them from crashing & restarting on you all the time with the slowing down of the peak processor speed when maxed out being a much less disruptive alternative. For that positive action they’re now having to aplogize & effectively eat a ton of battery replacements & defend numerous class action lawsuits – so much for trying to do something in the customers best interest! Until Apple figures a workaround to battery physics I guess they’re screwed.

    1. “somehow Apple is held to a higher standard than anyone else in the tech industry”

      Shouldn’t it? It commands the premium sector of the market and is priced accordingly. It also has a sealed ecosystem only they control. What does premium mean to you?

      “Until Apple figures a workaround to battery physics I guess they’re screwed.”

      They might actually make progress at something much more difficult for them, humility and transparency. First step is done.

    1. $29.00 is possibly less than the total cost of replacing the battery. Lots of things the vast majority of people forget go into the total cost of a battery replacement.

      Yes, the cost of the battery itself is a lot less than $29.00. But, there are a lot of other costs: capital costs of having the stock on hand, storage costs, labor costs to actually do the replacement, overhead costs on that labor (FICA, etc.), facilities and equipment costs to do the replacements. It all adds up. Just the labor and overhead on that labor could be as much as $10 to $15 per battery swap. (Time to talk to the customer when she/he brings in the iPhone; time to verify the battery’s status; time for the actual swap of the battery itself; time to present the iPhone with the new battery to the customer; time to verify to the customer that the battery and iPhone are operating at virtually new performance; time to do all the paperwork involved. It all adds up.)

      It would not surprise me at all if the $29.00 was less than the full and complete cost of doing the battery replacements. Apple might actually be doing this at a very slight loss. (I would be surprised if Apple is doing this at a significant loss.)

    1. Please stop repeating that stupid saying.

      Education fixes stupidity.

      Ron White uses improper grammar, proving he needs more education. a lot of people in the world need much more schooling including serious lessons in common decency, like not calling others stupid when they misspeak or make mistakes.

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