Apple is bending the rules of its own iPhone battery replacement policy in favor of customers, as part of its effort to appease anger over its throttling of iPhones when their battery is worn.
Apple recently begun offering to replace an iPhone’s battery for $29 rather than the usual $79 it charges when a device isn’t under warranty. The offer applies to iPhone 6 and newer models.
The iPhone battery is “designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles”, Apple says.
To determine if an iPhone needs to be replaced — whether it’s under warranty or not — Apple staff run a diagnostic check to see if it fails to meet the 80 percent threshold.
But when it started offering the discounted replacement last week, Apple didn’t make it clear whether customers seeking a new battery for $29 would only qualify if their device failed this test.
Following a report from French site iGeneration that Apple had told staff to ignore the 80 percent rule, the company confirmed to MacRumors that the $29 offer stands regardless of the result of the diagnostic test.
The discounted replacement price was part of Apple’s apology to customers for not being upfront about an iOS power management feature that kicks in on devices with worn batteries, and the fact this feature can result in a slower experience.
While this power management helped customers avoid unexpected shutdowns, Apple’s lack of transparency about the feature gave the perception it had slowed performance to encourage customers to upgrade.
Apple introduced the power management feature in iOS 10.2.1 to address widespread unexpected shutdowns that were happening in late 2016, even when the battery was charged to 30 percent.
The update targeted shutdowns occurring on the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. The impact on performance was discovered after it extended the feature to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.
Apple’s discounted battery swap offer is available to customers worldwide until December 2018.
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