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‘We want it done properly’ – Apple defends iPhone battery replacement stance

Apple has defended its stance on third-party iPhone battery replacements, after a report exposed the company had been restricting access to the iOS Battery Health feature.

Last week iFixit highlighted a new practice which told iPhone users their battery needed service if they had an unofficial battery, or an official battery installed outside of the Apple repair ecosystem.

If your iPhone XS, XS Max and XR meets either of those criteria, you’ll be informed the battery cannot be verified when visiting the Battery Health section of the iOS settings, offering no insight into its current health.

Now the company admitted the practice is being used on 2018 handsets, and says it is being done with the safety of customers in mind. That suggests it’s here to stay.

In a statement to iMore, the iPhone-maker wrote: “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.”

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Initially identified by The Art of Repair YouTube channel last month, the issue raised concerns Apple was seeking to shutdown third-party repairs of iPhone batteries and keep them within its own Apple Store and Authorised Service Provider channels.

The company had previously relaxed its stance on repairing iPhones with third-party batteries, no-longer cleaning they invalidated the warranty. However, it now appears Apple is very much about ensuring it is the only doing the repairing.

That’s unlikely to please self-repairers and advocates for choice, but it’s difficult to argue with Apple’s framing of the discussion around safety. If there was a battery-related overheating incident, it’s likely Apple would be in-line for the flak rather than the user or the third-party.

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