Here's Apple's statement on the iPhone 'battery lock' controversy

Following up on the story from last week concerning iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR no longer displays battery health data following third-party battery repairs — what the internet quickly called Apple locking out battery repairs, Apple sent me the following statement:

"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."

I've written a ton on this already so I'll keep this update brief: It's pretty much what I covered in the video above and the previous article based on it.

No batteries are being locked out. That's hyperbole, sensationalism, scare tactics. And it's good for customers to know if they're getting or buying and iPhone with an aftermarket battery or third-party installation. Information is good.

I still feel like, while the idea is fine, the implementation could be better. Especially if someone is thinking of buying a used iPhone, they should absolutely have an easy way to verify if it's had any repairs. That can and should inform their decision-making process.

But battery health is also important information, especially for people who have aftermarket batteries or third-party repairs. If Apple can't pull accurate information for batteries they haven't installed and paired, then maybe an approximation would be helpful? That way, if an aftermarket battery or third-party repair was awesome, they can rest easy. If it was bad or deceptive, they can take it to be looked at immediately.

But let me know what you think.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

14 Comments
  • I have a super easy solution to all this nonsense. Go back to user replaceable batteries. Sell apple battery, remove back of phone, pop in new battery, and everyone can party on.
  • But then it might be...gasp...thicker.
  • Also, there is less of a guarantee that the old battery will be disposed of properly.
  • You don't have the right to design.
  • Much Ado About Nothing.
  • Exactly—thank you.
  • Nope! Apple needs to rethink this action. Just because it took awhile to be discovered doesn't make it less of an issue. Most people haven't needed to replace their battery let so they would not have encountered this. Leave the battery Health Function alone as it was just like the older phones. When a 3rd party battery is detected then pop up a text message sent to Apple that absolves Apple from risk if that is really the issue. If they really want Apple batteries then dam it sell them! Don't force people to have to use authorized service centers or Apple Stores thats a copout! Some places in this world don't have either in hundreds of miles from where the person is. If Apple is not interested in selling directly then setup either a certified parts program like the MFI cables program. Or better yet, setup a clearinghouse which does all of the work so Apple only needs to ship to a few parts depots letting the clearinghouse take on the task. Rene as hard as you appear to try to spin this... This action is truly anti 'Right to Repair' So the next time you get your oil changed in your car the speedometer is killed because you used a third party oil filter. So now you can't tell how fast you are going or if it's time to get another oil change. This is not safe and thats no different here with the Battery Monitor application.
  • Silly, inaccurate analogy. Try again.
  • There are plenty of items, think battery back up and standalone battery monitoring systems that don’t do this kind of nonsense. Yet they are pretty adept at looking at battery health.
    This is a blatant cash grab by Apple.
    You try again.
  • I suggest they make a registry of Authorized Repair. They can get a certificate, and if that comes back, the Apple Store will fix that, honoring the guarantees as though it was done by Apple. Perhaps some smart person could make an app that reports all you need to know about this replacement, and leave a little ad on the iPhone too. Otherwise you're totally depending on the Chinese marketplace. I know there's a guy who goes on YouTube, and he tests the things. He's right in China! What's the markup for other places? Maybe that battery app could give you the market price for the battery in China?
  • If Apple really wanted to make sure that battery replacement was done properly , then they could just try to significantly lower their prices for battery replacement instead of doing software tricks to make their customers’ life difficult.
  • This move by Apple has NOTHING to do with 'user safety' and everything to do with knee-capping the right to repair. Why do I say this? It is easy really. If this move by Apple was just about 'user safety', then ONLY non-Apple batteries would be affected. If you put in a genuine Apple battery, it would work, but it does not. EVERY battery that is put in the phone suffers from this, and can only be avoided by having battery repairs done by an Authorized Apple re-seller. If it was only about 'users safety', Apple could have just had a banner pop up if the battery was a non-Apple battery stating "The battery in this device is a non-Apple battery. The statistics shown are only estimates. Apple recommends that you only use Apple-certified batteries" Instead, they are knee-capping the right to repair. They don't give a **** about what battery is used, they just care about WHO is paid to do the battery installation.
  • More pr bullshit from Phil Schiller. It's not about safety and never has been. It's about being able to charge $ to do so.
  • As other's have suggested, make the battery in the iPhone and (dare I suggest it) iPad replaceable by users or at least, local businesses. Be an innovator again Apple! Realize that you will likely gain more than you loose.
    Think Different and be the change, don't think that a thinner phone is necessarily better. A replaceable battery means, less waste overall and a longer potential life for the device. We have to slow down the rate of tech update/change for upgrade's sake and this is a great place to start! Also, the Right to Repair movement is re-empowering users. We bought the devices, we didn't rent them! Give us the ability to repair, otherwise, viable devices. If we cannot (due to lacking skill), atleast others could, and that supports local businesses, livelihoods and vibrancy.