Apple Will Now Begrudgingly Repair iPhones with Unofficial Batteries

By Holly Brockwell on at

If you've had your iPhone battery replaced by a third-party repair shop, you're now allowed to get your phone fixed at Genius Bars and Apple-approved places.

Up to now, if you've taken an iPhone with an unofficial battery to a Genius Bar or Apple-Authorised Service Provider (AASP, also known as the techies who killed Cleopatra), no matter what was wrong with it, they'd refuse to help you. So you could literally have taken a phone in with a smashed screen and be denied a new one because your battery isn't the original, even though it has no bearing on the screen smashage at all. Nice.

People replacing their own phone batteries is costing Apple a lot of money, so it's slightly surprising that they've done this -- except that everyone's pointed out how hypocritical they're being by claiming environmental credentials on the one hand, and basically wasting phones on the other. Apple seems to want people to buy a whole new phone every six months instead of upgrading or repairing the one they have, and that's pretty terrible for the planet.

Now, according to a leaked internal Apple document obtained by MacRumors, official repairers can ignore the unofficial battery if it's unrelated to the repair, and just get on with it. Meanwhile, if it IS a battery-related repair, they won't kick you out -- they'll replace your third-party cell with an official Apple one for the normal service fee.

Also, if your third-party repair has been done badly and bits are broken on the inside or there's glue everywhere, the Genius is allowed to replace the whole phone for the price of the battery if they want to. (Note: do not fill your phone with glue to try and get a new one.)

Presumably due to concerns about exploding third-party batteries (remember the one that blew up at St Pancras recently?), AASPs and Genius Bar workers have to run unofficial batteries down past 60% before starting work.

It's not all good news, though: while you can now get your phone fixed if it has an unofficial battery or screen (the latter policy came in in 2017), you're still out of luck if it has other third-party bits, even minor ones like headphone jacks and volume buttons.

The excellently-named Kay-Kay Clapp from iFixit comments:

"This decision proves that now, more than ever, the third-party repair ecosystem is an integral part of maintaining Apple's high-quality customer experience.

If Apple is getting enough third-party repaired phones for a policy change, they clearly don't have the reach or capacity to maintain all the iPhones that they've sold. All of us, including Apple, benefit from the service provided by the repair community."

The new rules are apparently already in place and should include the UK, so if you've been putting off getting your phone fixed, now's the time. [iGeneration]