Reminder: Apple's $29 iPhone battery replacement program ends December 31

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2018
The so-called "batterygate" drama in 2017 resulted in an apology of sorts and a reduced cost iPhone battery replacement program. But, if you need one you'd better hurry, because that offer runs out at the end of 2018.




Editor's note: this is one of the biggest consumer-facing stories of 2018, and it has an expiration date. If you need that new battery for your iPhone, you're about out of time to get it.

If your iPhone 6 or other covered model is running slowly, time is running out to do something about it -- at least the time is running out to pay less than full price for the service. Apple has been running a reduced cost battery replacement program in response to customer complaints but this ends on December 31, 2018. Thereafter, replacing any iPhone battery will cost you $49 for the iPhone 8 and older, $69 for the iPhone X, iPhone XS family, and iPhone XR instead of the current $29.

The reduced price covers the iPhone 6 and also newer models up to and including the iPhone X and iPhone 8 family. All you have to do is either take your phone to a Genius Bar appointment in an Apple Store or send it in to Apple for repair.

You can check the general state of your battery with a new option in Settings that was introduced as part of this process. Choose Battery, then Battery Health and you'll see a very basic report. It just says what the maximum capacity of your battery is and whether it is capable of working at peak performance. If it isn't, then you'll see a warning message that recommends you get the battery replaced.

To get that done, start at Apple's online support page and choose iPhone, then Battery & Charging and lastly Battery replacement.

Apple's online support page for booking Genius Bar appointments
Apple's online support page for booking Genius Bar appointments


If you're close enough to an Apple Store, your best bet by far is to click on Bring In for Repair. That's obviously because it's faster to take it into a store and wait than use shipping to get your phone to and from Apple.

It might still take you a time to get a Genius Bar appointment at a time that's convenient to you. However, once you do, the Apple Store will most likely have replacement batteries in stock and it should generally take less than three hours to do.

We've had longer waits and at times, especially early in the year, there were delays while stores didn't have batteries in stock but that situation appears to be alleviated now. There was also an issue that in theory Apple could test your battery, decide it was healthy and not issue you the discounted rate. That, too, appears to be gone: if you want a replacement battery even if it passes battery health tests, just ask and you'll get one for that $29.

And if your battery really is unhealthy right now, you will see a significant speed improvement when you get it replaced.

Even after January 1, 2019, you'll still be able to get a replacement. It's just that you can see that same improvement for fifty bucks less if you get it in before then.

An iPhone 6 Plus battery being removed (Credit: iFixit)
An iPhone 6 Plus battery being removed (Credit: iFixit)


This year-long reduced cost program has been Apple's apology for how it handled changing iOS to keep older phones working longer. Before it added the publicly-accessible Battery Health option in Settings, Apple included the ability for iOS to assess that health.

Make no mistake -- batteries have always been consumable items, and not eternal. They are chemical and physical processes, and they do wear out and break down as time goes on. What changed a year ago is how Apple demonstrates that to the user.

If your battery was showing enough signs of aging, iOS would slow itself down to stay running and not say it was doing so. Apple says that the alternative was to keep apps and the iOS running at maximum speed regardless of how much power the battery could deliver -- but users would have faced the phones crashing with no warning should the phone's power demand exceed what a chemically depleted battery could deliver.

"It should go without saying that we think sudden, unexpected shutdowns are unacceptable." said Apple in an open letter to customers. "We don't want any of our users to lose a call, miss taking a picture or have any other part of their iPhone experience interrupted if we can avoid it."

The trouble is that although Apple said all this, it said it late. It could have told us beforehand, and maybe convince us that it was a good feature for preserving the life of phones. Instead, it told us after people had found their phones running slowly and concocted conspiracy theories about Apple deliberately throttling old phones to make us buy new ones.

Lawsuits were launched and claims were made about the company acting in "deceptive, immoral, and unethical" ways. Apple issued its public apology in December last year and announced the reduced-cost battery program would run for all of 2018. It also reached out to customers who'd bought a full-price replacement battery throughout 2017.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    wonderwomanwonderwoman Posts: 9unconfirmed, member
    My battery is at 95% health. Am I eligible for this? More importantly, should I go to the genius bar?
  • Reply 2 of 39
    My battery is at 95% health. Am I eligible for this? More importantly, should I go to the genius bar?
    No only when the battery health setting recommends replacing it. 95% is very good.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    ciacia Posts: 76member
    I actually had this done yesterday with my iPhone X that I've had since the device launched. It was showing 94% battery capacity. It wasn't busy at the store, but the process still took 2 hours so if you do go in for a swap be ready for a wait. They will swap your battery no questions asked no matter what the phone says regarding battery loss, $29+tax. /edit I should add my phone was saying my battery was in good shape and didn't need replacing, but they still replaced it.
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 4 of 39
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,181member
    My battery is at 95% health. Am I eligible for this? More importantly, should I go to the genius bar?
    Yes, as long as you have a qualifying phone. Indicated battery health is irrelevant. 

    Part of the reason this program came about is because phones' faulty batteries tested well in Apple Stores, but failed in regular use. Apple also is offering a refund for people who had to pay for a replacement.

    Apple has since realized this and will replace the battery regardless of indicated health, if your phone qualifies.

    Make an appointment. You could try a walk-in, but you want to be sure they have your battery in stock (this was a problem, initially) 

    simply258 said:
    No only when the battery health setting recommends replacing it. 95% is very good.
    You are simplyWrong. My girlfriend's iPhone 7's battery tested at 96% but in use, it would go from 50 or 60% straight to nothing without the low power warning. They tested it but replaced it anyway. $29.
    atomic101mazda 3smuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 39
    My old iPhone 6 drained battery in less than 6 hours after fully charged. So I brought it to Apple Store. After two hours I came back to pick it up. Suprisingly they said they messed it up when they tried to remove the battery. So they gave me a new iPhone 6. Wow. What a service. People, make sure you have it backup before going there.
    edited November 2018 racerhomie3muthuk_vanalingammacgui
  • Reply 6 of 39
    macgui said:
    My battery is at 95% health. Am I eligible for this? More importantly, should I go to the genius bar?
    Yes, as long as you have a qualifying phone. Indicated battery health is irrelevant. 

    Part of the reason this program came about is because phones' faulty batteries tested well in Apple Stores, but failed in regular use. Apple also is offering a refund for people who had to pay for a replacement.

    Apple has since realized this and will replace the battery regardless of indicated health, if your phone qualifies.

    Make an appointment. You could try a walk-in, but you want to be sure they have your battery in stock (this was a problem, initially) 

    simply258 said:
    No only when the battery health setting recommends replacing it. 95% is very good.
    You are simplyWrong. My girlfriend's iPhone 7's battery tested at 96% but in use, it would go from 50 or 60% straight to nothing without the low power warning. They tested it but replaced it anyway. $29.
    I can vouch for this. What really frustrated me last year before the program was put in place was that Apple techs refused to change out my battery because it apparently tested okay. And yet, it was throttling to 50% CPU speed or less on most occasions. Surprised that they have become so accommodating post the fallout of the initial outrage.
  • Reply 7 of 39
    ivanhivanh Posts: 316member
    The maximum capacity (mc) of my iPhone 6+ old battery was gradually reduced to 85% over the years before battery replacement 2 months ago. With a new battery for just 2 months, the mc of it has already reduced to 93%. It’s ageing quick!

    $29 is not the price of a new battery. It’s the trade-in price. You cannot keep the old battery. You don’t have 2 batteries. You’re selling your old battery to Apple and they give you a new one. Is the new battery quality as good as the original one? 

    Btw, the screen performance against gestures after the “BatteryGate” fixation on my iPhone 6+ was feeling brand new after iOS 12 update. But after iOS 12.1 update, screen-freezing experience up to 10 seconds is not a surprising everyday experience, on the new battery.
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 8 of 39
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,022member
    I was holding off on replacing my iPhone 6 Plus battery because it was at 97%. But then the battery suddenly swelled up and popped the front up on the phone. Apple still gave me the $29 deal but gave me an entirely new phone. Not bad. 
  • Reply 9 of 39
    My 6S+ still shows 85% health, but as the comments in the section suggest, at that health they will still replace the battery at $30?
  • Reply 10 of 39
    Our two iPhone 7's are two years old, and battery life was reduced, but no sudden drop-outs; just quicker drain as the value gets lower (like a car's gas gauge).

    Was happy to go into the Apple store and pay $29 for each battery, and one Applecare-priced $29-screen replace since one was cracked.

    Was happy to pay the very generous $29 for a new battery for the next two years of use (we're holding these 7's long term).

    The attendent who helped us waived both $29's since we were under Applecare, and we only paid the screen-$29.

    I wasn't accusing the battery of "failing under AppleCare", we just wanted fresh ones at a great price to help stretch the phone for the next two years.

    It was so generous it was like your cousin working there and slipping you a deal.  I almost didn't feel right about it.  I was, "I was happy to pay but, uhhh, OK".

    Our few Applecare experiences have been good:
    $597 27" iMac screen replacement, free under Applecare, when it had some mild-off-white splotchy areas center-mid.  That was late 2011.

    Exception:  Our two 6S's were so-so.  Mine DID do the sudden OFF's, but it only became unbearable around IUP-time.  While IUP-upgrading to 7, I did check my 6S S/N on the free-fix Apple site, and mine WASN'T on the list, but clearly had an issue.

    YMMV, but probably won't! :smiley: 
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 11 of 39
    If I get a $29 battery in my 2 year old 6s I can see using it for at least 2 more years if nothing else fails. The 6s is still more than enough to meet my needs. It’s kind of a classic.
    curtis hannah
  • Reply 12 of 39
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,432administrator
    My 6S+ still shows 85% health, but as the comments in the section suggest, at that health they will still replace the battery at $30?
    Yes.
    curtis hannah
  • Reply 13 of 39
    thttht Posts: 3,164member
    My 6S+ still shows 85% health, but as the comments in the section suggest, at that health they will still replace the battery at $30?
    I replaced my 6S+ battery a couple of weeks ago at 83% health for $30. There was a cold day about 3 weeks ago and I had my first ever crash due to the battery not being able to deliver enough power.

    Make an appt and change the battery out. Most people will be able to use a 6S+ for another year at least. On my 4th year now, though I may end up getting a XS in a few weeks anyways.
    curtis hannah
  • Reply 14 of 39
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,289member
    macgui said:
    My battery is at 95% health. Am I eligible for this? More importantly, should I go to the genius bar?
    Yes, as long as you have a qualifying phone. Indicated battery health is irrelevant. 

    Part of the reason this program came about is because phones' faulty batteries tested well in Apple Stores, but failed in regular use. Apple also is offering a refund for people who had to pay for a replacement.

    Apple has since realized this and will replace the battery regardless of indicated health, if your phone qualifies.

    Make an appointment. You could try a walk-in, but you want to be sure they have your battery in stock (this was a problem, initially) 

    simply258 said:
    No only when the battery health setting recommends replacing it. 95% is very good.
    You are simplyWrong. My girlfriend's iPhone 7's battery tested at 96% but in use, it would go from 50 or 60% straight to nothing without the low power warning. They tested it but replaced it anyway. $29.
    The battery in my wife's phone was testing fine but would barely last a day with virtually no use and keeping the pone on low power mode all day. I took it in and they actually gave me a bit of a runaround and didn't want to replace it at first. The finally did and the difference was amazing. I got a battery warning on my phone so they replace mine without much question. 

    The battery health screen is a nice try, but it's not very accurate and thus really not too helpful. I think all it really does is count how many charge cycles you have, not the actual health of the battery.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 39
    It’s on my to do list.  I’ll drop it (6s) off at the UPS Store (free shipping).  

    There are a few days coming up that I don’t want to talk to anyone anyways....
  • Reply 16 of 39
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,954member
    cia said:
    I actually had this done yesterday with my iPhone X that I've had since the device launched. It was showing 94% battery capacity. It wasn't busy at the store, but the process still took 2 hours so if you do go in for a swap be ready for a wait. They will swap your battery no questions asked no matter what the phone says regarding battery loss, $29+tax. /edit I should add my phone was saying my battery was in good shape and didn't need replacing, but they still replaced it.
    Dumb, man. You wasted $29 and two hours of your time. Dumb.
    rossb2maxit
  • Reply 17 of 39
    This could have all been avoided had Apple designed the phone with user replaceable batteries.

    One question: were iPads ever involved with the problem?
  • Reply 18 of 39
    davgreg said:
    This could have all been avoided had Apple designed the phone with user replaceable batteries.

    One question: were iPads ever involved with the problem?
    You’re in a dream world, man. Removable batteries haven’t ever been part of the iPhone, the most popular consumer product in history, and will never come to it.

    Nor was the problem related to being non-removable. Batteries age, and after a certain age they need to be replaced. You can have the battery replaced on any iPhone, I’ve done it myself. Things require maintenance...non-story.
    edited November 2018 netmage
  • Reply 19 of 39
    davgreg said:
    This could have all been avoided had Apple designed the phone with user replaceable batteries.

    One question: were iPads ever involved with the problem?
    Right, then Apple could have sold $99 replacement batteries.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,289member
    davgreg said:
    This could have all been avoided had Apple designed the phone with user replaceable batteries.

    One question: were iPads ever involved with the problem?
    You’re in a dream world, man. Removable batteries haven’t ever been part of the iPhone, the most popular consumer product in history, and will never come to it.

    Nor was the problem related to being non-removable. Batteries age, and after a certain age they need to be replaced. You can have the battery replaced on any iPhone, I’ve done it myself. Things require maintenance...non-story.
    Well, He's right, Apple could have designed the iPhone that way, but that would have involved a bunch of other engineering/design compromises for something that you typically only have to do once every 3 years or so. Apple showed long ago that a user-replaceable battery isn't high on people's list. 

    How many smartphones have user replaceable batteries, anyway? I don't think very many do - for exactly the same reasons iPhones don't.
    curtis hannah
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