When news broke out yesterday of Apple’s decision to reduce out-of-warranty battery replacements by $50, making the $79 fee a more palatable $29, I felt pretty okay with it. There was some backlash about the battery replacement not being completely free, which is understandable, but if we’re being completely honest, a $29 battery replacement is actually quite kind of Apple, relatively speaking. In that regard, I don’t think there’s too much of a reason to be upset.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any reason to be upset. Every comment section on any website reporting this news was filled with a lot of backlash, much of which was warranted. Backlash about the batteries not being free, backlash about which phones qualify for the $29 replacement (iPhone 6 and above), and backlash about Apple probably making money off a problem that they themselves created. The one point that really got me was that this “fix”, however cheap or expensive you might consider it, comes a little too late for many. People have already upgraded their slow iPhones to something else at this point, and those phones are likely long gone when they could have been saved.
I like iOS. I like the iPhone. But I am not happy with Apple right now, and I wasn’t even directly affected. If I still owned my iPhone 6 and found out mere weeks or months after upgrading that the only thing I needed to make it perform normally again was a $30 battery replacement (or heck, even a $79 battery) as opposed to a however many hundreds of dollars it costs to upgrade to something else, I would be pretty upset.
I tend to upgrade my phone every 6 months because phones are kind of my hobby. I enjoy seeing what different phones have to offer, so something like this doesn’t really affect me. I never keep a phone long enough to know what a true slowdown is. But most people aren’t like me and would prefer to hang onto their investments for as long as possible, and considering iPhones are some of the most expensive phones out there, it’s easy to understand why so many people are upset.
Any other time, a $29 battery replacement would be nice. But it’s only available for less than a year (late January 2018 to December 2018) and it’s only available for certain iPhone models. Even those who already upgraded to something newer like an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X likely won’t be able to take advantage of this, which seems like it might pose a problem in the future when people’s iPhones slow down and they remember this incident again.
I get the need for the update for older iPhones. At the end of the day, preserving the battery – the very thing that makes the phone operate – is more important than preserving the speed. But if a battery replacement was all it took to restore the performance to normal, then people should have had the information and the option to do that before the release of new iPhones. It just doesn’t seem like the best solution they could have come up with.
For those who want to preserve their older-than-iPhone 6 devices and were left out of this offer, iFixit has reduced the price of their do-it-yourself battery replacement kits for iPhones as old as the 4S, with prices ranging from $24.99 to $29.99. Of course, this takes a little bit of handiwork on one’s part as oppose to Apple’s professional installation, but it’s an option (and likely worth the investment if the alternative is to upgrade to a new phone).