Today, Apple published an open letter over the fact that as of iOS 10.2.1, some iPhones are effectively throttled to keep them from shutting down under high CPU load thanks to worn batteries. While this allows a customer to use their iPhone for longer without crashes, it’s clear that public was unhappy.
We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.
First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
Apple taking three steps forward concerning the issue:
Apple is reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement by $50 — from $79 to $29 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January and available worldwide through December 2018.
As noted on support.apple.com, the company will replace an iPhone battery at no charge if it retains less than 80 percent of its original capacity and its under AppleCare+. This program is not new, but is a feature of AppleCare+ I had missed.
Early in 2018, we will issue an iOS software update with new features that give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery, so they can see for themselves if its condition is affecting performance.
Good. This could have avoided a lot of pain.
As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age.
Clearly this is a problem when you pair desktop-class silicon with mobile-class batteries. The fact that iOS 11.2 looped the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus into the CPU smoothing program shows Apple is still concerned about this. I hope they can improve it in the future.
In addition to its letter and revised repair costs, Apple has published a new support document explaining how batteries age over time. It walks the line of appropriate nerdiness pretty well.
All in all, I think this is a pretty good response.
However, I’d like to see the $29 battery repair be available for a set amount of time after purchase. Someone who just unwrapped an iPhone 7 may run into this problem sometime in 2019, after the repair discount window has closed.