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

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.