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Apple pulls a dirty trick to clamp down on unofficial iPhone batteries

Apple is clamping down on third-party iPhone battery replacements, according to a new report.

The teardown specialists at iFixit say Apple has unlocked dormant software within iOS, which means only Apple batteries installed by Apple will work properly in iPhone handsets.

The report filed this week says the Battery Health app in iOS will tell users a brand new third-party battery requires service. The message even appeared when iFixit performed the test with a genuine Apple battery it had installed

So, the long and short is, unless an authorised Apple Service Provider, or one of the firm’s Genius technician installs the battery, the Battery Health setting will always tell users their battery requires service. “It’s not a bug; it’s a feature Apple wants,” the report says.

Related: iPhone XR vs iPhone XS

The Art of Repair YouTube channel seems to have discovered the new tactic from Apple, after noticing the “Important Battery Message” telling the user that the phone is “unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information is not available for this battery.”

Right now the issue only seems to affect the 2018 iPhone XR, XS and XS Max handsets, running iOS 12 and the iOS 13 beta. However, if Apple has recently added this feature it’s likely to be a staple on the 2019 models too.

Essentially Apple is locking the original battery to the phone you purchase and the only way to bypass the service message is to allow Apple to replace the battery for you. It appears the company is able to use its own diagnostics tools to register the new battery to the phone.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to use third-party batteries or slip in genuine batteries yourself. However it does mean those people won’t be able to access the battery health tools introduced with iOS 11.

In March this year Apple finally relaxed its policy on fixing iPhones with third-party batteries. For years the company has denied repair service to those using batteries from third-party sources due to voided warranties. However, while the company will now service those phones, it appears it is still reluctant to treat phones with unofficial batteries equally.

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