Apple locks down iPhone batteries, warns users against unauthorized third-party battery repairs

Apple has activated a dormant software lock on the iPhone’s battery that affects how iOS software treats unauthorized third-party battery replacements.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes for ZDNet:

The software lock was highlighted by iFixit when the company came across a video by The Art of Repair showing the software in lock in action.

Apple is using a secure memory key built into the battery to lock the battery to the iPhones at the factory. The side effect of this is that if you replace the battery yourself, even if with another genuine Apple battery, the Battery and Battery Health screens in Settings will display a “Service” message. It appears that the only way around this issue will be to have Apple, or an Apple Authorized Service Provider, carry out the battery replacement. However, the good news is that testing suggests that the battery continues to work correctly despite these warnings.

MacDailyNews Take: Scams abound in the unauthorized iPhone battery business and theses batteries are capable of doing much damage if not properly handled and installed.

Earlier this year, Kingsley-Hughes reported that iPhone owners who purchase replacement batteries from third-party outlets need to be careful because it’s possible for them to be ripped off as it’s easy to take old iPhone batteries and “reset” them to make them look like new units. Kingsley-Hughes also reports that “the third-party market is also awash with cheap and nasty counterfeit batteries that are potentially unsafe.”

Which is why we cringe every time some frangamdroid loser shuffles aboard our plane with a piece of Samsung junk (which are notorious for battery explosions and fires)… It’s only a matter of time.MacDailyNews, July 26, 2019


  1. I had an iPhone battery replaced by a nationwide AASP, and it slow-exploded 3 months later. I wish this had been in place then. (BTW, Apple replaced the phone under warranty.)

  2. My iPhone’s battery was replaced by an Apple employee at the Apple store near Yale under the discounted battery replacement program. Took it home and found the iPhone would not charge beyond 4 percent. My IPhone crashes too. Took the phone back and they claimed there was a previously infected motherboard issue. Never had a problem BEFORE the battery replacement They agreed to replace my iPhone with an exact replacement for free. Of course they did not have the exact model and color in stock. No I had to wait 3 days more without my only home phone. 3 days later they gave me a new iPhone (same model and color) without even so much an apology for wasting my time, an acknowledgement of what happened or an offer to repay my parking fees for my 3 visits.

    So you will have to excuse me when I believe this action is supposed to be a good thing. MDN’s take seems like a stretch to justify locking down there hardware more. How about this take, “Apple needs to make up money it is losing in hardware sales so they are forcing all repairs through Apple itself to make up some of the losses. Apple’s new approach harmed third party retailer and repair shops who have supported Apple over the years. Apple’s new approach seems desperate and monopolistic as it tries to secure a bigger piece of the pie for itself.”?

    1. “Apple needs to make up money it is losing in hardware sales so they are forcing all repairs through Apple itself”
      First, Apple’s Services business is more than making up for any lost sales. Second, you got a battery at a discount… NOT full price and, when it didn’t go well, you got a FREE phone. Tell me, how does Apple come out AHEAD in that scenario?

    2. As a former Apple Genius, I can attest they are losing money on every battery service. My hourly wage plus cost of operation is at best a flat even trade if nothing goes wrong. Try running a cost of operation spreadsheet and tell me how Apple makes a profit. Not look at the thousands of phones I saw with stripped screws and severely damaged batteries because some mall kiosk dufus reused the non-reusable screws and all the parts came loose and floated around inside the housing running on the battery casing. 99% of thermal events are because of untrained tampering. It’s a fools errand.

  3. Seems like if the phone is out of warrenty, Apple Has no right to restrict what the owner of phone does with it. It also Quashes the used market on these older phones. I smell a lawsuit coming. I hope the right to repair law passes is many states forcing apple open. Apple is tightening it’s claws on it’s products after the Fresh date is elapsed and preventing the used market from draining Apple of it’s profits from the people keeping the older phones alive. Thus the restrictions on ios on older phones.

    1. What is restricted exactly? The battery just doesn’t read during the battery health check. Apple won’t attempt to check the health of third party batteries. They also won’t check the quality of my 3rd party laptop bag.

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