Apple on iPhone Battery Locking Issue: We Want to Make Sure Battery Replacement is Done Properly

Last week, iPhone repair site iFixit highlighted a new iPhone feature described as a "dormant software lock" designed to prevent customers who get unauthorized battery repairs from seeing the battery health of their devices.

On an iPhone XS, XS Max, or iPhone XR, getting a repair from a non-Apple authorized source results in a message that says "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine battery," with the iPhone refusing to display battery health information.


Apple today provided a statement on the issue to iMore, confirming that it did indeed introduce "a new feature" last year that brings up the aforementioned message when a non-authorized battery repair is made, with the aim of protecting customers from "damaged, poor quality, or used batteries."
We take the safety of our customers very seriously and want to make sure any battery replacement is done properly. There are now over 1,800 Apple authorized service providers across the United States so our customers have even more convenient access to quality repairs.

Last year we introduced a new feature to notify customers if we were unable to verify that a new, genuine battery was installed by a certified technician following Apple repair processes. This information is there to help protect our customers from damaged, poor quality, or used batteries which can lead to safety or performance issues. This notification does not impact the customer's ability to use the phone after an unauthorized repair.
On an iPhone XR, XS, or XS Max that has a battery replaced outside of an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider, the iPhone will simply read "Service" and will provide the messaging about a battery that can't be verified.

The battery health feature that lets customers see the health of their batteries is blocked and not available, with no measurement of maximum capacity or peak performance capacity.

iFixit discovered that this message pops up regardless of the battery being used. An unauthorized repair from a shop using a genuine Apple battery from another iPhone displays the warning message just as a third-party non-Apple battery does.

According to Apple, the notification about the non-genuine battery does not affect a customer's ability to use the phone after the repair, but it is of course going to make customers wary of third-party repair shops that are not authorized by Apple.

The only way to avoid the messaging when getting a battery replacement on an iPhone XS, XS Max, XR (and presumably future iPhones) is to get that repair done through Apple. Apple charges $69 for an out-of-warranty replacement battery in its newest iPhones, which is more expensive than many third-party repair shops.

Repairs are free with AppleCare+ and when iPhones are under the one-year standard warranty, but as these iPhones age and are no longer covered, customers will need to shell out more money for an Apple-certified repair or live with a non-functioning battery health feature.


Research from YouTube channel The Art of Repair suggests that Apple's newest iPhones use a Texas Instruments microcontroller on the battery, which is designed to authenticate the battery.

Repairs from Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers likely use Apple's proprietary RepairCal diagnostics software to reset the "Service" status when doing a battery replacement, something that can't be replicated by non-Apple repair shops without the required equipment.


This article, "Apple on iPhone Battery Locking Issue: We Want to Make Sure Battery Replacement is Done Properly" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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All of Best Buy’s Nearly 1,000 Stores Now Offer Apple-Certified Repairs in the United States

Apple today announced that every Best Buy store across the United States now offers service and repairs for Apple products. The electronics retailer already serviced Apple products at many stores and now does so nationwide.


Apple's press release:
By expanding to every Best Buy store across the US, customers in cities including Yuma, Arizona; Sioux City, Iowa; Twin Falls, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming and Bismarck, North Dakota will have more convenient access to Apple repairs. Plus, Best Buy’s Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products.
Apple-certified repairs at Best Buy and other Apple Authorized Service Providers are performed by trained technicians who use genuine Apple parts, and every repair is backed by Apple, according to the company.

In addition to Best Buy's nearly 1,000 locations that now offer Apple-certified repairs, Apple has over 500 retail stores and over 1,800 authorized third-party service providers that facilitate repairs in the United States. Apple says this is "three times as many locations as three years ago."

Tara Bunch, Apple's vice president of AppleCare:
At Apple, we're dedicated to providing the best customer service in the world. If a customer ever needs to repair their products, we want them to feel confident those repairs are done safely and correctly. We're always looking at how we can reliably expand our network of trained technicians and we're excited to partner with every Best Buy store so it's even easier for our customers to find an authorized repair location near them.
Apple customers can initiate a repair on Apple's support website.

Tags: Best Buy, AASP

This article, "All of Best Buy's Nearly 1,000 Stores Now Offer Apple-Certified Repairs in the United States" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Says iPhones With Third-Party Batteries Now Eligible for Repairs

iPhones with aftermarket batteries installed by third-party repair shops are now eligible for service at Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers, according to an internal Apple document obtained by MacRumors from three reliable sources. The change was first reported by French blog iGeneration.

iPhone X battery with pull tabs via iFixit

This is significant news for iPhone repairs, as the Genius Bar and AASPs were previously instructed to deny service of any kind for an iPhone with a third-party battery, regardless of the circumstances.

If the repair is unrelated to the battery, the Genius Bar and AASPs are now instructed to ignore the third-party battery and proceed with service as normal, according to Apple's internal document. This could include repairs to the display, logic board, microphones, and so forth, with normal fees applying.

If the repair is related to the battery itself, the Genius Bar and AASPs are now permitted to replace the third-party battery with an official Apple battery for the standard fee. Before starting the repair, the Genius Bar must drain the third-party battery to less than 60 percent of a charge.

If the iPhone's battery tabs are broken or missing, or there is excessive adhesive, the Genius Bar and AASPs are permitted to replace the entire iPhone for only the cost of a battery replacement at their discretion.

The updated guidelines went into effect Thursday and should apply worldwide. Apple will still decline service for iPhones with third-party logic boards, enclosures, microphones, Lightning connectors, headphone jacks, volume and sleep/wake buttons, TrueDepth sensor arrays, and certain other components.

Apple similarly loosened its repair policy for iPhones with third-party displays back in February 2017.


This article, "Apple Says iPhones With Third-Party Batteries Now Eligible for Repairs" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Repairs of Some Older Apple Watches May Qualify for Series 2 Replacement Due to Parts Shortage

Repair parts are temporarily constrained for 42mm models of the Apple Watch Series 1 and first-generation Apple Watch, nicknamed Series 0, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers today.


If a customer initiates a repair order for one of those Apple Watch models, Apple has permitted Apple Authorized Service Providers to offer a 42mm Apple Watch Series 2 as a substitute starting February through April according to the document, obtained by MacRumors from multiple proven sources.

The document does not mention Series 2, Series 3, Series 4, or 38mm models of any kind as qualifying, nor does it specify if the parts constraint is limited to aluminum, stainless steel, or other finishes. No further information is provided.

The document was distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers in the United States and other countries, and it was likely sent to Apple Stores as well, in which case the Genius Bar would follow the same guidelines. We have elected not to share a screenshot of the document to protect our sources.

Visit the Get Support page on Apple.com to initiate an Apple Watch repair.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Tag: AASP
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

This article, "Repairs of Some Older Apple Watches May Qualify for Series 2 Replacement Due to Parts Shortage" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Adding iPhone 5 and Additional Macs to Pilot Program Allowing Repairs of Select ‘Vintage’ Products

Normally, an Apple product becomes vintage once five years have passed since it was last manufactured, meaning that Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) will no longer repair or service the product.


In late January, however, Apple launched a pilot program that permits Apple Stores and AASPs to continue servicing select vintage products, subject to parts availability. The program started in the United States and Turkey with the Mid 2011 iMac and expanded worldwide with the 2012 MacBook Air in August.

Now, Apple is further expanding the program to include the iPhone 5, which became vintage on Wednesday. In an internal document, Apple says Apple Stores and AASPs worldwide are authorized to continue servicing the CDMA variant of the device through October 31, 2020, and the GSM variant through December 30, 2020.

Apple's internal document, obtained by MacRumors from multiple sources, also outlines other soon-to-be vintage iPhones and Macs that will also be added to the pilot program at various dates throughout the remainder of this year:

Effective November 30, 2018:
Effective December 30, 2018:
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Retina, Late 2012)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Retina, Early 2013)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Retina, Mid 2012)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Retina, Early 2013)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2012)
If parts are unavailable for a specific repair for these vintage products, Apple Stores and AASPs are instructed to decline service. This is a pilot program to begin with, so it is subject to change or end at any time.


The exact reason for the pilot program is unclear, beyond Apple apparently having a surplus of service parts for these specific vintage products. Apple's internal document states that inventory of service parts will not be replenished, so repairs under the pilot program are certainly not guaranteed.


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Apple Facing Shortage of 2014 and Mid 2015 5K iMac Displays, Offering Free Delayed Repairs or $600 Off a New Model

Apple has notified Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers that its inventory of displays for Late 2014 and Mid 2015 models of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display is constrained until mid to late December, according to an internal service document obtained by MacRumors today.


As a result, if a customer with one of those iMac models requires a display repair due to accidental damage, Apple has instructed its service providers to offer a free repair if the customer is willing to wait until mid to late December.

If a customer is unable to wait, Apple will offer a functionally equivalent 2017 model 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display to be paid for by the customer, minus a $600 or local equivalent discount. The Late 2014 or Mid 2015 iMac must be returned to Apple — the customer will never get it back.

Note that the 2017 models will be Customer Replacement Units, or CRUs, but it's unclear if they will be refurbished or brand new.

For example, if a customer takes a base model Late 2014 5K iMac with a damaged display to an Apple Store in the United States, and declines to wait until December for a repair, the Genius Bar is instructed to offer the customer a base model 2017 5K iMac for $1,199, down from its original price of $1,799.

In order to qualify, the iMac must be out-of-warranty. If the iMac is still covered by AppleCare+ or Apple's standard one-year warranty, Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers are instructed to proceed with a standard repair. Note that only Late 2014 and Mid 2015 models are eligible — no others.

Unsurprisingly, Apple says any iMac with excessive or catastrophic damage as a result of reckless, abusive, or purposeful conduct is ineligible for a free repair. This includes any iMac that has been crushed or bent, or partially or fully submerged in liquid. This isn't a free 2014-to-2017 iMac upgrade program.

This procedure is to be followed by Apple Store and Apple Authorized Service Provider locations worldwide until display inventory is restored. Non-end users with two or more eligible iMacs with a damaged display are not eligible to claim a free repair to prevent resellers from abusing the offer.

All of this information comes from an internal Apple document obtained by MacRumors from multiple reliable sources, but we can't guarantee this procedure will be offered by all service providers. We also can't guarantee that all Apple employees or technicians will be aware of or acknowledge this temporary policy.

Related Roundup: iMac
Tag: AASP
Buyer's Guide: iMac (Don't Buy)

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iPhone Screen Repairs to Get Faster as Apple Moves to Software-Only Calibration Process

Apple has announced that its iPhone display calibration process no longer requires specialized hardware, according to an internal service-related document obtained by MacRumors today.

Starting today, Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers can calibrate the display on a repaired iPhone 6s or newer by simply connecting the device to a Mac mini or MacBook Air running Apple's calibration and diagnostics software, without the need to use a so-called 3D Touch Calibration Fixture.

3D Touch Calibration Fixture via Reuters

Apple says this change will result in three benefits for service providers and customers:
  1. More flexible workspaces for service providers, as the calibration fixture takes up quite a bit of space.
  2. Reduced wait times for customers, suggesting that the software-based calibration process is faster.
  3. Later this year, more Apple Authorized Service Providers around the world will have an opportunity to expand their in-store repair offerings to include iPhone display repairs.
Apple will outline the required steps for service providers to transition from the hardware to the software process later today, according to the internal communication, which was earlier reported by iMore's Rene Ritchie.

Apple Authorized Service Providers with a 3D Touch Calibration Fixture will be required to return the hardware at a later date to be announced.

iPhone display calibration ensures that a replacement display is fully integrated with the device's logic board at the system level. The process has been required since the arrival of Touch ID on the iPhone 5s in 2013, followed by 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and newer, and Face ID on the iPhone X and newer.

Touch ID and Face ID calibration was already completed in software, and now 3D Touch calibration will be too, completely eliminating the need for hardware. If the display on an iPhone is replaced, but the calibration process is not completed, then Touch ID, Face ID, and/or 3D Touch will not function.

Apple only provided a handful of third-party service providers with its calibration fixture, so this change should result in faster, more flexible, and more widely available iPhone screen repairs in many countries.

Tag: AASP

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Apple Acknowledges Microphone Issue With Some iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Models on iOS 11.3 and Later

Apple has acknowledged a microphone issue affecting a limited number of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models running iOS 11.3 or later.


In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple said affected customers may experience a grayed-out speaker button during phone calls. The issue may also prevent affected customers from being heard during phone calls or FaceTime video chats.

Apple Authorized Service Providers have been instructed to first ask customers to disconnect or power off any Bluetooth headsets or other audio accessories connected to their iPhone to see if that alleviates the problem.

If the speaker button remains grayed out during a call, the service providers have been instructed to run audio diagnostics. Affected devices will display a "device could not detect dock" or "accessory not supported" alert in the diagnostic pane, in which case the service provider can initiate a repair for the iPhone.

If an affected iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus is no longer covered by warranty, Apple says its service providers can request an exception for this particular issue. Apple's document does not specify if the repairs will be completed free of charge, but it seems likely given the circumstances.

While this does not appear to be a widespread problem, there are have been some complaints about microphone issues on iOS 11.3 scattered across MacRumors, Reddit, Twitter, and the Apple Support Communities in recent months.

It's unclear why iOS 11.3 and subsequent software versions are unintentionally disabling microphones on some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus units. Apple mentions that some of the devices may require a repair, suggesting the software update could somehow be causing a hardware defect, but information is lacking.

Affected customers can schedule an appointment with an Apple Authorized Service Provider or with the Genius Bar at an Apple Store via the Contact Apple Support page: iPhone → Repairs & Physical Damage → Unable to Hear Through Receiver or Speakers → Built-in Speaker → Bring In For Repair.

Apple has not confirmed this issue publicly, but MacRumors has verified the document's authenticity with a reliable source. However, outside of our control, some Apple employees may be unaware of or deny the information. In that event, we recommend escalating your case to a senior AppleCare advisor if possible.

MacRumors has reached out to Apple for clarity on this issue. If and when we hear back, we'll update this article.

Relevant: Apple's support document titled Get help with the microphones on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: AASP

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Apple Launching Pilot Program Allowing Repairs of Soon-to-Be Vintage Mid 2011 iMac in United States

Apple today internally announced it is launching a new pilot program that will permit Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers to continue offering repair service for 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac models released in mid 2011, despite the fact they will be classified as vintage starting next month.


The pilot program will be available in the United States only between March 1, 2018 and August 31, 2018, subject to parts availability from Apple, according to the company's internal memo obtained by MacRumors. After the pilot ends, repairs will only be available in California and Turkey, as required by law.

Apple and Authorized Service Providers can usually repair an iMac's display and hinge, logic board, graphics card, hard drive or SSD, power supply, and other components, although the exact availability of replacement parts remains to be seen. It's unclear if RAM and storage upgrades will continue to be offered.

Apple typically offers repairs and replacement parts for a Mac until five years after it is no longer manufactured. Mid 2011 iMac models are now approaching this cutoff, as the last education-only configuration was discontinued in March 2013, but these machines will now remain eligible for service for an additional six months.

Apple didn't specify if the pilot program will eventually expand to other vintage products, or whether it will be available outside of the United States.

Related Roundup: iMac
Buyer's Guide: iMac (Caution)

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