Last month, a number of iPhone users reported bugs, crashing, and overall performance slow-down in the wake of a new iOS update. Shortly thereafter, information came to light that suggested Apple's software was purposely throttling older iPhones in order to accommodate aging batteries.
In an effort to regain the trust of those who felt burned by the news, Apple announced that it would be lowering the cost of battery replacements for select iPhones (from $79.99 to $29.99) until December, 2018.
As the owner of an iPhone SE, I decided to take Apple up on its offer. My phone is coming up on two years old, and the battery's been showing its age as of late. Most notably, it won't hold a charge as long as it used to.
Having heard of iOS 11's rocky roll-out (and knowing that my two-year-old battery could very well trigger some issues), I held off on upgrading until after I received a new battery.
If you're not familiar with how the whole thing works, here's everything you need to know.
Which iPhones qualify for the $30 replacement?
The offer applies to the iPhone 6 and later, so if you're iPhone is on this list, it qualifies.
· iPhone 6
· iPhone 6 Plus
· iPhone 6S
· iPhone 6S Plus
· iPhone SE
· iPhone 7
· iPhone 7 Plus
· iPhone 8
· iPhone 8 Plus
· iPhone X
Unless your hardware is defective, you probably won't need to replace the battery for an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X until later this year at the earliest.
Step #1: The Apple Store
With my phone in tow, I made my way over to everyone's favorite existential nightmare: the Apple Store. After sitting in the waiting area (a small gathering of wooden cubes and medicine balls) for a few minutes, I spoke with a representative who arranged the details.
Due to the demand, you'll probably have to do what I did and wait for Apple to order your phone's battery—a step that could take as long as two weeks.
Nine days later, I got a call from the Apple Store informing me that my battery was ready to be installed and that I could swing by the store within seven days to authorize the installation—no appointment necessary.
Step #2: The installation
Before you hand over your phone to an Apple technician, I highly, highly recommend making a back-up to your computer or iCloud. Although it's uncommon for a repair such as this to cause any serious issues, you don't want to see your data lost at the hands of a simple battery replacement.
After backing up my phone, I arrived at the Apple Store and was fast-tracked to the front of the customer service queue. I signed off on the repair, handed over my iPhone SE, and was told to come back in two hours. Yikes.
Yes, it's a bit of a nuisance to relinquish both your phone and a couple hours of your day, but if it substantially extends the life of your iPhone (or corrects your iPhone's slow-down issues), you'll be glad you carved out the time. I recommend bringing a laptop and hunting down some free WiFi.
Using the Geekbench 3 app for iOS, I tested my iPhone SE's processor a total of three times: back in 2016 when I first purchased the phone, earlier this month before replacing the battery, and shortly after the new battery was installed. Here are those results:
· May, 2016 (shortly after purchase): 4419 (multi-core)
· January, 2018 (prior to the battery replacement): 4396 (multi-core)
· Shortly after the battery replacement: 4385 (multi-core)
Because I wasn't personally experiencing any performance issues before switching out the battery, the processor test results have more or less remained the same throughout the duration of my iPhone's life.
That said, the iPhone users who reported performance problems did so after upgrading to iOS 11—something I intentionally neglected to do for fear of those same issues. I obviously can't guarantee that I would've suffered the slings and arrows of software slow-down had I upgraded to iOS 11 with a nearly two-year-old battery, but it certainly appears as though I avoided any problems that would've potentially resulted from a new version of iOS.
I've also heard from people who were, in fact, experiencing these issues, and a new battery brought their iPhone back to working order.
Here's what I have noticed in the days since receiving a replacement battery: My iPhone is back to holding a charge for as long as it did when I first purchased the phone nearly two years ago.
Before replacing the battery, I also experienced inconsistencies in iOS's battery meter (the thing that displays an estimated remaining percentage of battery life). In some cases, my iPhone would jump from 10% to 1% in mere seconds. Other times, my iPhone would hang on to 1% battery for absurdly long periods of time.
With a fresh lithium-ion battery under the hood, my phone is back to generating consistent estimations of its remaining battery life.
Should you get a new iPhone battery?
Yes, unless you own an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, or if you bought an older iPhone within the last six months.
Even if you haven't experienced the sluggish performance or software bugs since installing iOS 11, if your device is at least a year old, the upgrade makes too much sense to pass up.
Under usual circumstances, iPhone battery replacements are costly endeavors—especially if you go to an Apple Store, where they typically charge $80 for the procedure.
Between now and December, the cost to rejuvenate your iPhone is just $30. If your phone's been on the fritz ever since you outfitted it with iOS 11, that $30 could very well be the cost of solving your problems. But even if you haven't had any issues with iOS 11, a new battery will be a welcomed breath of fresh air.
Simply put, it's a no-brainer.