Apple bringing in more labor to cope with surge of iPhone battery replacements

Posted:
in iPhone
In the wake of Apple dropping the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements to $29, demand has become so high that the company is stretching its retail resources to cope -- possibly even hiring outside contractors.




"Additional Apple employees are sometimes sent to high-volume stores, or allotted labor hours per-store are increased, to help with a surge of battery replacements," Apple sources not authorized to speak on behalf of the company told AppleInsider regarding reports that Apple needed help to deal with the volume of battery replacements.

Stores local to AppleInsider staffers aren't using any third-party contractors to perform the replacements.

In December, Apple was forced to admit that it changed iOS to throttle iPhones with weak batteries, officially for the sake of preventing sudden shutdowns. This generated significant backlash, including a barrage of lawsuits and investigations by the governments of Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, South Korea, and the U.S..

Simultaneously, Apple has reduced the cost of battery replacements through the end of 2018, and released iOS 11.3. The operating system upgrade includes battery monitoring functions -- among them the ability to disable throttling except in extreme circumstances.

AppleInsider's sources may conflict with ones for 9to5Mac, who claim that Apple is using a mix of its own workers plus third-party contractors to handle the overflow of replacement requests. The latter are reportedly receiving training, but still causing "growing pains" in some shops.

By late February wait times were averaging 3 to 4.5 weeks. The average wait for devices that need to be checked in is still over a week according to queries made by AppleInsider, with owners of the iPhone 6 Plus having to bear the longest waits.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    In the wake of Apple dropping the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements to $29, demand has become so high that the company is stretching its retail resources to cope -- possibly even hiring outside contractors.
    The quote used in the article doesn’t mention anything about third-party contractors. Where did that idea come from?

    At the two closest Apple Stores to me I’ve heard they have assigned extra hours for battery repairs (in one store) and pulled staff from other areas of the store to assist with batteries (former Geniuses moving back to the GR on a temporary basis). I haven’t heard of any non-Apple help being brought in. 
    edited April 12 bb-15
  • Reply 2 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,515member
    I have read a couple of articles now about people freaking out over their batteries and replacing them needlessly. After the discount period is over it is predicted that the new battery health monitoring software will prompt even more unnecessary battery replacements to Apple’s ultimate profit. I see the obsessive personality types all the time in the Apple discussion forums going bonkers over minor scratches on their screens. There will be large numbers who start checking their battery health every day and if the capacity level drops below 100% will absolutely freak out and quite possibly imagine a slowdown in their device. How many of these personalty types are out there? Millions upon millions is my guesstimate. Humans are weird.
    edited April 12 LukeCagewatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,689administrator
    In the wake of Apple dropping the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements to $29, demand has become so high that the company is stretching its retail resources to cope -- possibly even hiring outside contractors.
    The quote used in the article doesn’t mention anything about third-party contractors. Where did that idea come from?

    At the two closest Apple Stores to me I’ve heard they have assigned extra hours for battery repairs (in one store) and pulled staff from other areas of the store to assist with batteries (former Geniuses moving back to the GR on a temporary basis). I haven’t heard of any non-Apple help being brought in. 
    FTA: "AppleInsider's sources may conflict with ones for 9to5Mac, who claim that Apple is using a mix of its own workers plus third-party contractors to handle the overflow of replacement requests. The latter are reportedly receiving training, but still causing "growing pains" in some shops."

    Regarding your latter point, we couldn't find any evidence that contractors were being hired, but no definitive information that there were none across all the stores in the US. We talked to contacts inside 21 Apple stores that we've worked with in the past, and none of them had done so.
    edited April 12
  • Reply 4 of 23
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 163member
    I had set up an appointment to have my battery changed in my iPhone 7 but decided I didn't want to drive 280 miles to get it replaced because I only get 10 miles to the gallon so I traded it in locally to my Verizon because they are giving 50% off a new iPhone X, 8 or 8 Plus with trade in, I got an 8 and the payments are only $14.29 a month and I like this phone much better.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 320member
    lkrupp said:
    I have read a couple of articles now about people freaking out over their batteries and replacing them needlessly. After the discount period is over it is predicted that the new battery health monitoring software will prompt even more unnecessary battery replacements to Apple’s ultimate profit. I see the obsessive personality types all the time in the Apple discussion forums going bonkers over minor scratches on their screens. There will be large numbers who start checking their battery health every day and if the capacity level drops below 100% will absolutely freak out and quite possibly imagine a slowdown in their device. How many of these personalty types are out there? Millions upon millions is my guesstimate. Humans are weird.
    So true. In reality this is people just freaking out over nothing. My battery (2 yr old SE) is at 91%. Haven't noticed any change in perfrmance. It does what I want and that's all I demand of it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,470member
    More comments that boil down to: its the users fault. What a shock.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    New poster here...Wanted to add my anecdote as it's *not* simply people freaking out over nothing.... Guess I had a different experience. Just had the battery on my iPhone 6 replaced three weeks ago as it had become painfully slow to use during the past year, as in missing ideal photos due to a 2-3 second lag when trying to take pictures, lags in apps in general. Just annoying! Complete wipe and factory restore, even without restoring my backup, did not help at all. The local Apple store warned me that it could be 2-3 weeks before the battery would arrive. Instead I got a text from them about two days later that it was in. After the upgrade, it really felt like I had a new phone again--it was decently fast as when I bought it. Animations were smooth again. I was considering an iPhone 7 but the new battery made a huge difference. And of course the phone still gets updates. Does what I need it to do and absolutely worth the $30. Content to wait and see what this fall's updates will bring as it's no longer frustrating to use.
    feudalistwilliamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 23
    toltol Posts: 7member
    It is very logical to pay 30$ to replace the battery in a two or three year old iPhone no matter the condition of the current battery.  Batteries are a consumable part, with a finite lifespan. If you plan to keep your phone for a year or two get a new battery.  Why delay an pay $80 later?  

    If your tires are rated for 40,000 miles, you have put 30,000 on them, it would make sense to replace them if the price was discounted by 60%.  You get full tread and would get another 40,000 miles.  Same logic holds true for this battery deal.  And it is a deal.
    h2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 320member
    More comments that boil down to: its the users fault. What a shock.
    When there's nothing actually wrong with the phone, but they still demand repairs then yes. Old things wear. And I don't begrudge Apple a fee to replace perfectly good batteries. Because yes a battery with 90% or 80% or even 75% is fully functional. Now if you have a very old device, say and iPhone 4 and want a new battery, fine. By then the battery life will be severely impacted and your phone will likely shut down and or crash without warning. Oh wait, Apple put in a patch to keep this old hardware running. But people are complaining about that too.  So yes I do blame the customers. I blame even more the mouthbreathers on Reddit and Twitter that built this into a big deal when it simply is not.

    (FYI I have an SE with a 90% battery and my wife has a 6 with an 80% battery. Both are running just fine.)
    h2pwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    In the wake of Apple dropping the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements to $29, demand has become so high that the company is stretching its retail resources to cope -- possibly even hiring outside contractors.
    The quote used in the article doesn’t mention anything about third-party contractors. Where did that idea come from?

    At the two closest Apple Stores to me I’ve heard they have assigned extra hours for battery repairs (in one store) and pulled staff from other areas of the store to assist with batteries (former Geniuses moving back to the GR on a temporary basis). I haven’t heard of any non-Apple help being brought in. 
    FTA: "AppleInsider's sources may conflict with ones for 9to5Mac, who claim that Apple is using a mix of its own workers plus third-party contractors to handle the overflow of replacement requests. The latter are reportedly receiving training, but still causing "growing pains" in some shops."
    Was that added in an edit after original publication? I don’t recall that being in the article when it first posted, because that obviously would have answered my question. 
  • Reply 11 of 23
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,689administrator
    In the wake of Apple dropping the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements to $29, demand has become so high that the company is stretching its retail resources to cope -- possibly even hiring outside contractors.
    The quote used in the article doesn’t mention anything about third-party contractors. Where did that idea come from?

    At the two closest Apple Stores to me I’ve heard they have assigned extra hours for battery repairs (in one store) and pulled staff from other areas of the store to assist with batteries (former Geniuses moving back to the GR on a temporary basis). I haven’t heard of any non-Apple help being brought in. 
    FTA: "AppleInsider's sources may conflict with ones for 9to5Mac, who claim that Apple is using a mix of its own workers plus third-party contractors to handle the overflow of replacement requests. The latter are reportedly receiving training, but still causing "growing pains" in some shops."
    Was that added in an edit after original publication? I don’t recall that being in the article when it first posted, because that obviously would have answered my question. 
    Nope. In from the start.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    In the wake of Apple dropping the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements to $29, demand has become so high that the company is stretching its retail resources to cope -- possibly even hiring outside contractors.
    The quote used in the article doesn’t mention anything about third-party contractors. Where did that idea come from?

    At the two closest Apple Stores to me I’ve heard they have assigned extra hours for battery repairs (in one store) and pulled staff from other areas of the store to assist with batteries (former Geniuses moving back to the GR on a temporary basis). I haven’t heard of any non-Apple help being brought in. 
    FTA: "AppleInsider's sources may conflict with ones for 9to5Mac, who claim that Apple is using a mix of its own workers plus third-party contractors to handle the overflow of replacement requests. The latter are reportedly receiving training, but still causing "growing pains" in some shops."
    Was that added in an edit after original publication? I don’t recall that being in the article when it first posted, because that obviously would have answered my question. 
    Nope. In from the start.
    Ha ha! Well, I guess I should pay better attention. And who cares what 9to5Mac says? Do people still read that?  ;)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    DAalseth said:
    lkrupp said:
    I have read a couple of articles now about people freaking out over their batteries and replacing them needlessly. After the discount period is over it is predicted that the new battery health monitoring software will prompt even more unnecessary battery replacements to Apple’s ultimate profit. I see the obsessive personality types all the time in the Apple discussion forums going bonkers over minor scratches on their screens. There will be large numbers who start checking their battery health every day and if the capacity level drops below 100% will absolutely freak out and quite possibly imagine a slowdown in their device. How many of these personalty types are out there? Millions upon millions is my guesstimate. Humans are weird.
    So true. In reality this is people just freaking out over nothing. My battery (2 yr old SE) is at 91%. Haven't noticed any change in perfrmance. It does what I want and that's all I demand of it.
    Same here.  I bought my SE within a week of launch, and have 90% of original capacity (glad to see someone else getting the same kind of life).  I'm no longer able to drive (legally blind) land have little need for mobile communications.  That said I've been lusting after the iPhone X since it came out (been an iPhone user since day one and old buying/upgrade habits are hard to break).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,393member
    With all these battery replacements I wonder if it will impact sales stretching out the replacement cycle.   But I don’t think it will impact sales of the IPhone X only iPhone 8 and lower.

  • Reply 15 of 23
    DAalseth said:
    More comments that boil down to: its the users fault. What a shock.
    When there's nothing actually wrong with the phone, but they still demand repairs then yes. Old things wear. And I don't begrudge Apple a fee to replace perfectly good batteries. Because yes a battery with 90% or 80% or even 75% is fully functional. Now if you have a very old device, say and iPhone 4 and want a new battery, fine. By then the battery life will be severely impacted and your phone will likely shut down and or crash without warning. Oh wait, Apple put in a patch to keep this old hardware running. But people are complaining about that too.  So yes I do blame the customers. I blame even more the mouthbreathers on Reddit and Twitter that built this into a big deal when it simply is not.

    (FYI I have an SE with a 90% battery and my wife has a 6 with an 80% battery. Both are running just fine.)

  • Reply 16 of 23
    I had my 6s with a 85% battery. Replacing the battery did nothing to the speed of the phone, but it did get me through the evenings. Also a lot better feel. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23

    Yay! Apple is creating jobs in 'Merica!!


    /s

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    wiseywisey Posts: 17member
    More comments that boil down to: its the users fault. What a shock.
    I am not sure why we are rehashing all of this.  Apple agreed to replace batteries for $29.  It is a generous offer, well beyond the guarantee or AppleCare period.  People who replace the batteries will likely use their iPhones for another two years or more, almost certainly accounting for less growth of Apple unit sales last quarter and this quarter alone.  It is hard for me to understand why people continue to complain and cry that Apple is failing because they made this decision to benefit its users.  No other manufacturer is doing this for their users.  Apple did not blame the users.    

    My iPhone 6s (bought in Hong Kong) was shutting down expectedly last year after two years and I replaced the battery of my iPhone 6S for free under an Apple program for iPhone bought in China.  My wife did the same for her 6S.  The battery replacements rejuvenated the 6S’s and I am continuing to use mine when I travel overseas and her 6S is still my wife’s only cell phone.  I bought an iPhone 8 for U.S. use and am very happy with its rapid battery charging, better camera, and higher speed.   While the X is a better smartphone with its OLED screen and Face ID, 


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 23
    k2kw said:
    With all these battery replacements I wonder if it will impact sales stretching out the replacement cycle.   But I don’t think it will impact sales of the IPhone X only iPhone 8 and lower.

    I doubt it. There are many people who thought that the battery would make their phone faster, but in their case they realized that the device was not as fast as they remember it was with the iOS version that was originally on it. Some of them have decided to upgrade and get a new iPhone. 
  • Reply 20 of 23

    DAalseth said:
    More comments that boil down to: its the users fault. What a shock.
    When there's nothing actually wrong with the phone, but they still demand repairs then yes. Old things wear. And I don't begrudge Apple a fee to replace perfectly good batteries. Because yes a battery with 90% or 80% or even 75% is fully functional. Now if you have a very old device, say and iPhone 4 and want a new battery, fine. By then the battery life will be severely impacted and your phone will likely shut down and or crash without warning. Oh wait, Apple put in a patch to keep this old hardware running. But people are complaining about that too.  So yes I do blame the customers. I blame even more the mouthbreathers on Reddit and Twitter that built this into a big deal when it simply is not.

    (FYI I have an SE with a 90% battery and my wife has a 6 with an 80% battery. Both are running just fine.)
    Actually a battery that has less than 80% is according to Apple's diagnostics, consumed. What that means is the device could power off unexpectedly if there is a large draw on it. This was the issue they tried to prevent by having the OS slow down the processor in order to prevent it from powering off. It's too bad that they're so secretive that they didn't spend the time to educate the consumer on how your device uses its battery and educate the consumer that updating the OS is a one way street.  There is no going back after Apple stops signing the older OS. 

    I've heard of stories where customers tell the technicians that they don't use their phone that much when in reality the device is always working to connect to the network and check email, use location services, have wifi and Bluetooth on, have brightness turned up, set it to never lock the display, etc. 

    The other issue is until you erase your device and set it up as new and not use your backup, you won't be sure if you're problem is corrupt software that is causing slowness and freezing. 
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