Skip to content

Battery replacement: Apple responds to recent criticism

Apple slashes the price of replacement batteries in response to recent news stories

We reported just before Christmas that Apple had admitted to slowing down old devices, but not for the reasons you might think. A software update released last year addressed problems with older, worn batteries by managing device performance to avoid random shutdowns.

Over the past week this news has snowballed into something of a minor scandal, thanks in part to Apple’s poor communication about how it handles battery degradation, and in part to a widespread misunderstanding of what exactly is going on under the surface. There are many who believe Apple is slowing down devices to force users into upgrading to newer ones.

Well, Apple has now released an official note entitled A Message to Our Customers to try to explain the situation more clearly, and to defend its actions against its detractors. It’s worth a read if you’re concerned about Apple’s motives or if you want to better understand what happens when batteries chemically decay.

Cheap replacements

The crux of the story is that as batteries get older, performance naturally suffers. This is a chemical process that affects all lithium-ion batteries, not just those used in iPhones. That’s why users with older devices may notice some slowdown.

The good news is that Apple has officially said that replacing the battery will significantly improve performance in these cases, confirming a theory suggested by users but never before endorsed. As a gesture of goodwill to those feeling the impact of an older battery, Apple is reducing the cost of its battery replacement service by $50 for most of 2018.

Starting sometime in January, customers will be able to replace their device battery for $29 instead of $79. International pricing has not yet been announced, but Apple say this offer will be rolled out worldwide. This is a great option for those who don’t want to splash out on a new iPhone but are sick of their device running slower than it used to.

Battery health

Apple is also planning to address another concern of ours in a forthcoming iOS update: namely, the company will make it much clearer to inspect the health of your battery and see whether or not it is impacting performance. This should help users understand what’s going on behind the scenes, something Apple typically doesn’t do, and will let customers make an informed decision on whether or not to upgrade their battery or change their usage patterns to improve the longevity of their device.

We’ll keep you posted when any of these changes go live, but so far it’s a decent response from Apple to a situation its handled poorly in the past.