We recently did a post on the Right To Repair movement and why it’s important to consumers. Since then, it has been discovered that Apple has locked specific iPhone batteries to the original phone. This will produce a ‘service’ notification when an authorized repair center does not replace the battery.

Battery Health

In iOS 12, Apple introduced a feature called Battery Health into its battery settings. This would measure the amount of wear on a battery and would say ‘service’ when the battery needed to be replaced. This was a byproduct of news that Apple was throttling the speed of older devices to protect the battery. Apple claims this would help protect older batteries from dying quickly. However, most in the industry saw it as a means to push users into newer devices. Early this year, Tim Cook wrote a letter to Apple’s investors that iPhone sales were lower than expected. He attributed this partially due to customer repairing over replacing their devices.

Battery Locking

Two independent studies have found that Apple has tied batteries to specific phones. Batteries will age through time and use. As a result, the charge won’t hold as long as it did when you first got it. However, like a tire on your car, replace it and your good as new.

This is troubling because any iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR will need to be replaced by Apple or the Battery Health app will always say service. The phones will still work and function normally with a third party replacement, but it will forever say service. As Justin Ashford says in the video, it will erode trust between customers and third-party repair shops. Ashford designs aftermarket parts for phones in China. He even took a genuine, OEM battery from a different XS Max, and still got the notice. This means there is a software that will reset the battery to make it function in the Battery Health app.

The Notice

The notice users will find in the settings states:

Important battery message: Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery.

This means it will not be able to show the maximum capacity of the battery or it’s peak performance capability two features added in recent updates.

Result

Again, the phone will still function properly with an aftermarket battery. This move will punish those who don’t want to go to or don’t live by an authorized repair center by not allowing certain features to be used on the phone.

Apple is a prominent opponent to the Right To Repair movement. This is another example of Apple trying to monopolize its repairs. It started with locking biometrics, newer Macbooks have a software kill switch that prevents third party repairs, and now a battery lock.

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