Kudos to Apple for doing the right thing today. They’ve apologized for concealing the performance hit for older batteries, and they’re admitting that batteries are consumable. For a limited time, they’re offering some battery replacements for $29. Good on them.
If you’re new to the story, independent benchmarks released last week found that Apple was degrading the performance of phones with older batteries. Our research confirmed this. There are hundreds of millions of iPhones that need new batteries, but Apple’s only got 499 retail stores. Keeping all those iPhones operational is going to take a village — DIYers, independent pro repair shops, and of course Apple’s service centers.
We can handle that. In the last week, we’ve seen an incredible 3x increase in people using iFixit to replace their batteries. Installing a new battery has a big impact, and makes your phone feel good as new. Millions of people — most with no prior electronics experience — have learned how to repair their iPhone. Just this month, 171,221 people have used our iPhone 6 battery install guide. Across all iPhone models, 509,867 people have learned how to replace their battery this month.
Don’t want to wait for Apple? We’ve got batteries now.
In fact, $29 sounds like a pretty good price. Effective immediately, we’re cutting the prices on all of our DIY battery install kits to $29 or less as well. The kits include all the tools you need to open up and swap your own battery. We also have options for the iPhone 4S, 5, 5s and 5c — which are excluded from Apple’s new program.
When we ask our customers why they do the repair themselves rather than take it to Apple, they give us a few reasons:
- Convenience. No need to drive anywhere or wait in line; replace your battery from your kitchen.
- Availability. Many people don’t live near an Apple Store, and don’t have another option for same-day repair.
- Privacy. Some people aren’t comfortable giving their device to someone else.
- Fun. It’s interesting to open up your stuff, find out how it works, and make it function better.
This incident underscores the importance of maintenance and repair of electronics. Unfortunately, Apple has been leading the fight against Right to Repair legislation. That legislation would, not coincidentally, require Apple sell batteries directly to consumers and third party repair shops.
This public outcry, and the hard work of journalists around the world, has caused Apple to blink. That’s great, but their proposed fix is only temporary. Battery prices are going back up in a year, and Apple still won’t sell OEM batteries to independent shops. That needs to change.
It’s important to note that while Apple is improving their battery replacement program, every single Android phone manufacturer also refuses to sell consumers integrated batteries or other internal repair parts.
Twelve states are considering Right to Repair legislation. Manufacturers are not acting in the public’s best interest, and it’s time for that to change.