Apple replaced 11 million iPhone batteries under their $29 replacement program

“During Apple’s all-hands meeting January 3, Tim Cook said Apple replaced 11 million batteries under the $29 replacement program, and they’d have only anticipated about 1-2 million battery replacements normally,” John Gruber reports for Daring Fireball.

“The battery replacement program ran all year long, so even if it was more popular than Apple originally expected, why wasn’t it accounted for in guidance issued on November 1 — 10 months after the program started?” Gruber writes. “My guess: the effect of the battery replacement program on new iPhone sales wasn’t apparent until after the iPhone XR and XS models were available.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 11 million is a lot of “old” iPhones made to feel “new” and certainly more than enough to negatively impact iPhone upgrades this year.

This 11 million number makes Apple look guilty of trying to hide the fact that a relatively inexpensive battery replacement would make an iPhone feel pretty much new again with the intention of selling relatively expensive new iPhones instead. You’ll remember that in 2017, Apple was accused of secretly throttling performance on iPhones with aged batteries (i.e. “Batterygate”). Apple claimed they did this to prolong the life of older iPhones, but it left many to assume that their iPhone’s processor and/or amount of RAM couldn’t keep up with new, more demanding versions of iOS. After Cook’s letter of investors, recent CNBC interview, and this newly-revealed iPhone battery replacement number, it’s likely that more people today think that Apple deliberately obfuscated this battery replacement issue in order to encourage new iPhone sales.

Two things Tim Cook just did that make Apple look guilty today – January 3, 2019


  1. I don’t look at this as a negative. Apple did the right thing for its consumers. I also replaced two car batteries this year in two perfectly fine automobiles and didn’t feel I had to buy new cars just because the batteries reached the failure point. So why would replacing cell phone, or GPS, or LED flashlight or anything be whined about as a negative? The consumer finally won one.

    1. I agree that this shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing. Apple may have tried hiding critical information in the beginning but it did right by consumers with the $29 battery replacement. That’s good public relations and may make those who had batteries replaced become loyal customers.

      This is just one weak financial quarter and any company should be allowed that much without someone saying the company is going out of business. Perhaps a large percentage of those consumers who had their iPhone battery replaced will buy a new iPhone in the future. The news media really hits Apple hard. No matter what Apple does, it’s not favorable to the news media outlets.

    2. Cook knew the cash cow iPhone started to plateau after the big screen push during the 6 and 6S years. Removing the audio jack only accelerated the problem with the iPhone 7. I had a 6S that worked fine and I used my 3.5mm jack all the time… why on earth would I pay more money to “upgrade” to a phone that’s actually a downgrade.

      I ended up upgrading to the iPhone X because after 4 years of the same phone with minor tweaks, it was the only way to get any semblance of innovation. By this time the iPhone was in full decline, because the 8 was the same phone as the 7 and the 6, and the X was a prohibitively expensive option for MILLIONS.

      Now here we are in 2019. I can’t believe we actually thought the X was expensive a year ago, when the XS Max is $1800 all booked out with 512GB and Apple Care. It’s almost unbelievable. I’m just glad everyone can now see how Cook’s greed is far out of control; and that this market crash is a harbinger that Apple needs new leadership.

    3. If Apple did 9 million more battery replacements than usual, and even 7 million of those would have bought new phones, then with a $700 average selling price Apple lost almost 5Billion in revenue which is most of the guidance miss. Time to buy more AAPL.

  2. Another MDN apple conspiracy theory. Apple had no obligation to replace years old batteries nor apologize for calibrating os performance to ensure safe operation. Seems MDN would be happier if apple went out of business chasing petty complainers.

    1. They had an obligation to inform they had throttled below promised performance, and why.

      That’s without even getting into why batteries were stressed. The iPad didn’t have a problem. Wonder why?

  3. I’m one of them… replaced the battery in my iPhone 6 and it made a world of difference. I still don’t feel the need to upgrade and I’ve had this phone since May 2014.

  4. maybe many wouldn’t have replaced the battery if the offer for $29 hadn’t run out…. I guess many used the offer “just in time”, that could be another reason why Apple was surprised and they saw a spike in December. At least that’s clearly a temporary thing.

    1. Yes very true, if the program was not expiring at the end of the year, lazy me probably would not have bothered to replace batteries in the last minutes rush. But it was all worth it.

    2. “Just in time” indeed ….

      …my own experience was that my 6s “bricked” on an iOS update overnight on 12/30, forcing a visit to the Apple Store. Got it unbricked and a new battery while I was there on 12/31.

      Now on a December spike, I’m sure that there was one, but not necessarily all that huge in comparison to prior months. Largely because of lead time for spare parts (the batteries) and that it is a service call which requires a technician to do the labor, not just a 30 seconds at a cash register.

      With the demand increasing from 1-2M/yr to 11M in 2018 … a 5x to 10x increase … because no retailer would tolerate that many people sitting around being unproductive day-to-day, it pragmatically meant adding staff to do the service work.

      As such, this battery replacement demand has had to have been sustained for months, and shown up in parts orders and staffing, so it wasn’t some “December Surprise” for Tim Cook.

  5. Agreed with the MDN’s take, which is factual. At USD29 a piece, Apple still makes money too.
    Also, it was a petty move for Apple to have embedded planned obsolescence in the software. They got caught and deserve the class action.
    I replaced batteries for my SE and the 8. SE runs wonderfully. The battery replacement for the 8 resulted in the discovery of a logic board issue which was a recall item in the US but not supposed to be in Canada but anyway….. My 8 was 1 month away from the expiry of the warranty, and Apple replaced mine with a brand new one. Thank you, Apple, when they do this sort of no-question-asked fast service, I love them:-)

  6. Many people I know who were having no trouble with their phones got the new battery as a precaution. They also saw a performance improvement, when updating to iOS12.

  7. Um, Apple did point to this. Tim Cook was even criticized for using the term “taking advantage” when he said customers took advantage of the battery replacement program, as if we were acting nefariously against Apple.

    1. Mr Ivid, you are clearly engaged in projecting your personal neative bias and conspiracy theories against tim cook, does anyone really believe cook meant “taking advantage” as greed and thievery?

    2. I thought Tim Cook meant more like “taking the opportunity of getting an inexpensive battery replacement” and not meaning “taking advantage of Apple” in some negative way. It’s weird how some interpretations can be misleading or misconstrued.

  8. I did this with my older iPhone. The techs cracked the screen, had to replace for free. I now have a virtually brand new phone for 30 bucks. Now before you get your Fruit of the Looms in a bunch, I did by a new XS max so…

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