A message to our customers about iPhone batteries and performance

From Apple’s public statement on the iPhone battery throttling issue:

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.

Apple then goes into detail on battery aging and some battery shutdown history, all pretty readable. But at the very bottom is this:

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.

And:

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.

Stay tuned for the details. Personally, I wish Apple had wrapped their PR arms around this issue a lot sooner. They certainly had all the pieces in place to have avoided this issue entirely.

Some people assign ill will to Apple, feel Apple was trying to do something shady with their battery tech. Some feel Apple was trying to manipulate people into buying new phones. I just don’t see any of that. No way.

Me? I think this was a fumble. This letter makes me feel a bit better about the whole thing, gives me a sense that Apple is both taking this seriously and is learning from this experience.

One final note: iFixit has dropped the price of their DIY battery replacement kits to $29 or less in case you want to do this yourself.



  • JimCracky

    They need to hire someone like me to inject common sense into their PR discussions.

  • Reality Check

    apple just sherlocked all the phone repair kiosks in the malls.

    • Mo

      Not to mention brick-and-mortar chains like The Device Shop.

      I had a brief browser chat with a local rep from one of their stores about their iPhone repair work. Asked if they were Apple-authorized, the guy haughtily replied “Absolutely not. We don’t push our customers to replace their expensive phones every year.”

      Well, harrumph.

    • Janak Parekh

      iFixit just slashed the prices on their repair kits, too. https://www.ifixit.com/Kits/iPhone-Battery-Kits

      I hope all of this sustains (especially Apple).

  • Curmudgeon

    It probably takes some time to get the overburdened/understaffed technicians in their stores and partners a system prepared for this. Use some of the tax benefits coming their way to hire up and train more anyway, but especially with this coming.

  • I don’t think Apple was deliberately trying to manipulate people into buying new phones – but I think that would have been the outcome for many.

    I myself was finding my iPhone 6 insufferably slow running certain apps like even Podcasts. Fortunately a complete wipe and do-over fixed it mostly otherwise I would have probably looked at getting a 8.

    I there there is definitely a non-zero number of people who would have gone out and purchased a new phone when their old one with a bit of extra charging would have still sufficed. I wonder how Apple will deal with that situation? It has been 12 months since 10.2 came out – must be potentially millions of people.

  • I figured that, given the publicity around this issue, Apple would give us a way to know if our battery was causing throttling. I wasn’t expecting the slash in the battery replacement cost. That’s great. I’m hoping to get another year out of my iPhone 6. Certain things (like starting the camera or opening some apps) are crazy slow after updating to iOS 11. I’m hoping it’s because of the battery. Otherwise I’m not sure I can deal with this for a year.

  • Glad I didn’t update. My iPhone 6 running iOS 10 is working as good as ever. On the other hand, I’m okay with what Apple is doing here. Yes, they could have communicated better (possibly modifying ‘low power mode’ dialogs), but I don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.