The teardown group has discovered that an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, or iPhone XS Max that has had its battery swapped by anyone other than Apple or an Apple authorized service provider will now display a message saying their battery needs servicing.
The message appears in both iOS 12 and iOS 13 beta, even if the replacement is a genuine Apple battery, and prevents the user from accessing the Battery Health features in Settings. The "Service" message reads as follows:
Important Battery MessageiFixit says the message doesn't appear to affect the functionality of the battery, but makes it harder to know when a replacement battery installed by a third-party needs to be replaced.
Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery.
YouTube channel The Art of Repair has discovered the source of the message to be a Texas Instruments microcontroller installed on the battery itself, which authenticates the battery as an Apple one and provides the iPhone with information about battery capacity and temperature. Presumably Apple uses special diagnostics software to reset the "Service" status when it undertakes an in-house iPhone battery replacement.
The message appears designed to deter battery replacements using third-party repair kits like the one sold by iFixit, and to discourage customers from getting a third-party repair shop to swap out their iPhone battery.
Apple would probably argue it is doing it out of safety concerns surrounding the replacement of swollen or damaged batteries. Nonetheless, it places further restrictions on the options available to iPhone users looking to get their battery replaced by anyone except Apple.
The practice also harks back to a similar third-party iPhone repair controversy: Error 53, widely publicized in 2016, caused some iPhone 6 users who had the Home buttons on their iPhones fixed by a non-Apple technician using non-original parts to see their iPhones bricked following a software update.
When the error code first surfaced, Apple said that error 53 was a protective security feature meant to prevent "malicious" third-party components from potentially compromising a user's iPhone.
However, after public outcry, Apple released a software update restoring functionality to bricked iPhones. Following the software update to unbrick iPhones, Apple claimed that the error 53 issue was meant to be a factory test and never should have impacted consumer devices.
This article, "iFixit: Apple 'Locking' iPhone Batteries to Discourage Third-Party Replacements" first appeared on MacRumors.com
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