Apple is adding a new security measure (that is yet to be released) in its latest set of iPhones, which will effectively discourage any third-party from replacing or repairing iPhone batteries.
A “dormant software lock” will be installed in all upcoming iPhone batteries Specifically, the lock will be introduced to iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max models with the latest iOS 12 version or the iOS 13 that’s set to be released.
The lock will disable access to battery health data from users, which includes cycle count, indicators of how much a battery may have degraded, or the max capacity and peak performance capability.
In particular, blocking users access from these data hopes to discourage the urge to have them replaced through third-party technicians, which are often the choice of regular consumers.
Notably, replacing batteries will continue to work, and users will experience all of the benefits that come with a new battery. Take note, this will not throttle the iPhone’s performance.
The only fallback, however, is that users won’t be able to view battery data, which is practically essential, like checking how much battery you have left.
Through the new lock, unless Apple or an authorized service provider have installed the replacement, your iPhone will not recognize the battery.
Instead, the iPhone with the newly installed unauthorized battery will display a “Service” message that reads as follows:
Important Battery MessageUnable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery.
Even using another Apple battery doesn’t work, as a replacement battery can apparently only be authenticated using the company’s internal tools.
All of this stems from a Texas Instruments microcontroller on the battery itself, which includes an authentication feature that contains details for pairing the battery to the iPhone’s logic board.
“The only way around this is—you guessed it—paying Apple money to replace your iPhone battery for you.,” iFixIt says.
“Presumably, their secretive diagnostic software can flip the magic bit that resets this “Service” indicator,” the source added.
Ultimately, users generally have no choice other than to approach Apple themselves or any other Apple Authorized Service Providers.
The iPhone company’s argument for this software lock likely stems from the safety concerns that arise when replacing a battery. For instance, a video last month showcased why Apple doesn’t even perform in-store replacement of swollen batteries.
Nonetheless, this new practice only further reduces repair options for iPhone owners amid the “Right to Repair” battle.
Apparently, Apple users are clamoring for their right to have iPhones, which they bought, to be repaired in any way they prefer.
Considering Apple’s relatively expensive repair costs in their centers or authorized third-parties, users often opt to have them repaired by cheaper alternatives such as a man who just so happens to have the know-how of how phones work.
Meanwhile, some argue that Apple’s strict guidelines against third-party repairs, where warranties are voided afterward, are being called out as a greedy move.
Similarly, Apple decided to pair Touch ID home buttons to the logic board, which evidently puts an end to any third-party replacement. Recently, Apple started disabling TrueTone on replacement screens, even if you’re using a genuine Apple screen.
In Apple’s defense, it was never about earning more money for charging more in their repair centers, but the company wants to ensure that repairs are done at par to Apple standards.
Furthermore, Apple cannot be completely responsible for compromised situations such as third-party technicians may tinker with the device without the user or Apple’s knowledge.
“We want to make sure our customers always have confidence their products will be repaired safely and correctly, and in a way that supports recycling,” an Apple spokesperson told Axios when asked about letters and testimony provided by the right to repair advocates for an upcoming House Judiciary Committee hearing. “We are continually growing our network of certified technicians and most recently announced that any Best Buy store in the U.S. is now an authorized service provider.”