Apple blocks iPhone feature if you go elsewhere to replace the battery

Apple blocks iPhone feature if you go elsewhere to replace the battery
Apple is looking to prevent iPhone users from having aftermarket batteries purchased and installed on their handsets. According to iFix it (via 9to5Mac), unless the original battery on an iPhone is replaced by Apple itself, a message will appear in Settings > Battery under Battery Health. The message will warn you that the battery needs to be serviced and usually appears when the battery on an iPhone is weak enough to negatively impact the performance of the phone. But now the message is appearing even if a new battery has been installed- unless it has been installed by an Apple Genius or an authorized service provider.

So far, this has been seen only on the Apple iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. The message reads, "Important Battery Message, Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery." Apple is doing this to have greater control over the type of batteries used inside its devices, and the qualifications of the person installing the part. Even if you were to exchange an official Apple battery from one unit to another, the message will come up unless the exchange was done by someone that Apple approves of; again, that would be an Apple Genius or someone working for an authorized service provider.

In 2016, Apple punished those who used a third-party repair shop to fix a problem with the Touch ID button


What makes this message show up, says Justin at The Art of Repair, is a Texas Instruments bq27546 microcontroller that is part of the battery. Besides passing information about the battery such as its temperature, capacity and the time remaining until it is fully discharged, the TI chip authenticates the battery being used with the phone's logic board. If the chip isn't there, the "service battery" message goes off. Keep in mind that the message doesn't actually mean that the new battery isn't working. It just means that if you don't play by Apple's rules when it comes to replacing the battery on a 2018 iPhone, you won't be able to use the Battery Health Indicator to know when it is time to replace the part. And since iOS 10, third-party battery apps cannot count the number of cycles an iPhone battery has had. This data is required to calculate whether a battery is ready to be exchanged for a new one.


Back in 2017, Apple discovered that some iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models were shutting down when confronted with a complex task. The company figured out that this was happening because the batteries inside these units were getting old and weak. Unable to generate enough power to drive the processor to complete these tasks, the phones shut down. So with the iOS 10.2.1 update, the company secretly installed software that allowed it to throttle the CPU speeds on these models. At the end of the year, Apple admitted what it had done.

To make amends with an upset customer base, Apple apologized and offered discounted $29 battery replacements, a $50 discount from the regular place. The special price lasted for one year. And to allow iPhone users to judge for themselves whether their battery needs to be replaced, the company added a Battery Health Indicator in iOS 11.3. But it is this indicator that Apple is blocking access to by those who don't have an Apple Genius or authorized service provider handle the replacement of the battery on their iPhone. And if this also sounds familiar, in 2016 those who had a faulty connector on their iPhone's Touch ID/Home button fixed by a third party were punished. An error 53 message bricked those units that weren't repaired by Apple or an authorized center. This was a feature that Apple had designed into the phone in order to have a say in who was able to fix the device.

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50 Comments

1. tangbunna

Posts: 474; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

sue apple for monopoly and anti-competitor practice.

4. oldskool50

Posts: 1386; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

They will be sued. That most certainly has to be illegal.

10. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

If you ask me, there are better ways to waste money, but for you this could be as good as any. Who has monopoly? a company that owns 20-30% of the market? Get real, dude.

13. mackan84

Posts: 386; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

These actions from Apple certainly makes me question if my future tech should be bought from Apple. If the T2 chip implode in the newer MacBooks and you ask for service at Apple and they blame water damage, you are effed. Nobody will be able to fix it. Check out Louis Rossman on YT and yes he has a reason to be p*ssed but what about the customer in said video?

14. mackan84

Posts: 386; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Video named “Apple users have no one to blame but themselves.”

17. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I was rooting for "error 53" to be a feature, because that would mean that an stolen iPhone would have been useless and people would stop stealing them (even for parts) and return them to their owners. This is what will happen with MacBooks: you got yours stollen, fry it's T2 chip and the new owner can throw it away. I've seen that video and I can't tell if it was water damage or not (I'm not a specialist and I don't know how it would look like), but I also don't think Apple will do that, because a Mac is expensive and at least one person would pay for expertise and sue the crap out of them (and it's not the trial that would be a problem but the authorities - I only speak about EU, because as I understand, the ones in US are next to useless).

16. vikingsfootball09

Posts: 112; Member since: Oct 02, 2013

its not about market share...its about apple's business practice...greedy AF...yes, i agree, they are a monoply...anyone who says otherwise is an apple azz licking worshiper

18. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Monopoly means a single company that sells a product; we have hundreds of OEMs that sell phones.

22. tedkord

Posts: 17320; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

But a monopoly isn't a requirement for anticompetitive practices.

26. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

You are right. But can you name the market you're talking about? But bear in mind that "repairing Apple products" is not a market, repairing electronic devices is one.

43. tedkord

Posts: 17320; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Why isn't it? Because you don't want to call it one? If there are businesses that do the work, and a company makes it so they can't in order to corner the market, it's anticompetitive.

49. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I have told you why: because the market is called "repairing electronic devices" (of whatever brand).

19. TheOracle1

Posts: 2223; Member since: May 04, 2015

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the origins of this story in these comments. Which is, why an approximately two year old battery can't handle basic phone functions and shuts down in the first place? Apple's solution was to use a battery counter. No problem there. But they then force you to buy the same $hit battery otherwise the counter won't work? That's just sleazy. I have a 5 year old tablet I use mostly for media with the original battery and it keeps on ticking along despite the old battery. I don't expect it to perform like new but it's never shut down on me. It's clear Apple uses inferior batteries and is doing everything possible to sustain their service revenue numbers. After all they dropped behind Oppo to number 4 in 2nd quarter sales so the decline continues.

27. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

That had nothing to do with the age of the battery but to recharge cycles. You do know that you can charge a phone 2-3 times a day and deplete 500 complete recharge cycles in 1 year or keep the phone in the charger and destroy the battery cells faster, right? PS: Oppo sells in China/Asia, so virtually nobody cares about that company.

31. TheOracle1

Posts: 2223; Member since: May 04, 2015

Leo: 1. Stop splitting hairs. The age of the battery gives a rough indication of recharge cycles. 2. You can keep a phone on the charger these days Leo because the software allows it. 3. Oppo sells in India, China and MEA. Because you don't care it doesn't make the second largest phone group (BBK) irrelevant. I'm sure you used to laugh at Huawei. Now we're laughing at the iPhone.

34. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

1. No, it doesn't; I had a phone with 800 recharge cycles after less than 2 years of usage (Apple's warrants 500 with over 80% power) yet my battery was over 90%; what do you think I would have had to do about it? 2. Yes, it does, but the cells still deteriorate faster. 3. Oppo (BBK and whatever) that sell (mainly) 50€ phones in poor markets are nobody (except in those markets).

37. TheOracle1

Posts: 2223; Member since: May 04, 2015

1. Don't you understand English? A rough indication, average or normal use. Duh! 2. I'm doing ok after 4 years. You must be referring to the crap in your precious iPhone. 3. BBK is nobody? Lol. Apple make $1,000 phones that are slowly becoming completely irrelevant except for lemmings like you.

39. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

1. My employees use 6s phones (I had one of my own for a year) - none of them were throttled; of course, my experience is not definitory, but I have not heard of a "average or normal" used iPhone being affected, only those that had bad batteries (and bad batteries had the ones abused - which is, again, not "average or normal use"). 2. I'm sure you do, except there is no escape from the laws of physics, no matter what the name of the device and the laws of physics clearly states that li-ion/poli molecules lose their properties when kept fully charged; you can troll all you want, but that's just how it is (even your precious Samsung perform exactly the same). 3. Have you heard of QQ? It has about 900M users but do you know anyone that uses it outside China? While Huawei is WeChat (some people use it, some don't), BBK is like QQ - nobody outside China. I agree: the 1k$ iPones are irrelevant, that's why I got the 750$ XR as my personal device.

48. TheOracle1

Posts: 2223; Member since: May 04, 2015

1. It was bad enough for Apple to throttle with a universal update. I rest my case. 2. I haven't used a Samsung in 6 years so try another lame talking point. 3. QQ, Weibo etc? I bet your hero Tim Cook would love some China/Asia sales right now. Heck, he'd like any sales for the overpriced mid-range housewives iPhone. Right now BBK (Oppo/Vivo/Oneplus) are the second largest phone vendor (and probably the most innovative) in the world and your myopic assessment is naive. Google the denigration of the rise Toyota and Honda in the US. History is repeating itself. P.S. Congratulations on your $750 XR. The new ones are coming out soon so I hope you have a big tub of lube to take another one "where the sun don't shine" for another $50 increase from your deity. Ok, the last paragraph will require you to search the colloquialisms since you don't understand English properly.

50. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

1. Read it slowly, maybe it's easier to understand: no iPhone with good battery was throttled; none, zero, zilch. 2. I reformulate: "even your precious whatever brand performs exactly the same". 3. Maybe, who the fk cares what Cook would prefer? Oppo is still nobody outside China (and the world is bigger than US, way bigger). I can get this years XR for free, because that's how Apple's pricing works once you get an iPhone; let's see what it brings to the table.

2. tiz_meh

Posts: 76; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

My op1 battery still funtion normally only its sot is shorter.

5. mel0524

Posts: 72; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

That is called greed. They want all iPhone users to pay $80-$1XX for battery replacement lol at their authorized repair shop that cost them $5 or less to build in China then give 90 day warranty after that if it goes bad again then you pay another $$$

6. TBomb

Posts: 1419; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Gotta meet those services revenue numbers!

7. PhoenixFirebird

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

I won't go back to Apple until Apple changes its nefarious behaviour

8. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1248; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Actually this level of screwing their customers is NOT enough for die-hard apple fans, imho. Even if apple made the iPhone to burst, after showing this error message, most of its customers will again buy a new iPhone saying, "Bursting of phones is very normal and it is a special iPhone only feature. Samsung has only managed to do once, but our lord Apple can do any number of times". Hence they are called as....

9. matistight

Posts: 982; Member since: May 13, 2009

Who's the idiot that took their iPhone XS, XR, or XS Max to a third party to change the battery??? Apple will do it for free, all of them are still in warranty until at least until September 21st 2019

42. mel0524

Posts: 72; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

matistight, FYI! apple wont replace your iphone battery by just appointment, going there then tell them "HEY replace my battery is draining so fast " they will check if your battery health until say " SERVICE " ( that you see only once it goes to 7X% or lower ) then you see SERVICE word next to "BATTERY HEALH " word. most of iPhone battery after lower than battery health 87% you will notice is already draining fast but unlucky iphone owner apple will not budge replacing your battery until " SERVICE " word is there lol, I know this because my wife has iphone X and has only 86% already ( is just 6 months old ) then brought to apple but they didnt replace battery because it doesnt say SERVICE yet!

12. Leo_MC

Posts: 7269; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

When you do that with a laptop, you loose the OEM Windows license - it's the same, but you know to little about those things or you're to biased to care. With the battery exchange, you just get a message and a information - the phone still works, you just won't get some official info about the battery, that's it.

15. c.m.s

Posts: 236; Member since: Dec 10, 2017

Yeah. I don’t really see what the issue is. If the battery being used is missing some hardware to get correct information about battery health then so be it. It still works fine to use a non-Apple battery as far as I understand?

23. tedkord

Posts: 17320; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I've had laptop batteries changed and never lost my Windows licensing.

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