In December last year, Apple admitted that is was slowing down older iPhones in order to preserve battery life and avoid crashes. But this information wasn’t conveyed to users until someone noticed how much faster their old iPhone became with a new battery fitted. In response, Apple apologized and started a $29 battery replacement program.
As 9To5Mac reports, it looks as though Apple isn’t honoring this $29 battery replacement pledge for all eligible iPhone owners. Before Apple will replace the battery it checks the iPhone for other damage. If any is found that “impairs replacement of the battery” then it must be fixed first. But users are claiming that even a small crack in the screen , a dent at the edge of the handset, or a broken microphone and speaker are being seen as impairing battery replacement.
As a result of this, the $29 you expected to spend can turn into hundreds of dollars as Apple decides your screen/case/parts must be replaced before the battery. That defeats the point of offering a cheap battery replacement for many, especially as these iPhones are functioning well enough in spite of the damage they have.
The demand for other repairs has been highlighted by the BBC’s Watchdog consumer affairs TV program. When they contacted Apple customer support it was explained as a warranty terms and conditions clause, but no such clause in the warranty exists. Instead, Apple’s repair website includes the following statement: “If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement.”
Apple is treating the statement as a part of the warranty it seems. That’s clearly not fair, and the complaints about this are sure to keep piling up. Apple’s smartphone designs have become increasingly difficult to repair, and this just seems like a tactic to make a profit on a program that was meant to help customers with older iPhones.
If you’ve tried and failed to just get your iPhone battery replaced by Apple, don’t worry, there is an alternative. iFixit is matching the $29 offer and supports even older iPhones than Apple’s program.