You don’t have to replace your iPhone’s battery at the Apple Store if you don’t want to — a $105 fix from Apple if your newer iPhone is out of warranty. If you do purchase a battery elsewhere, however, your iPhone is going to warn you that your new replacement battery needs service. Don’t stress about it. That’s just an annoyance from Apple’s new iPhone battery-verification process.
According to a report from iFixit, Apple appears to have a software check that authenticates batteries in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. If your battery isn’t “legitimate” — as in, an Apple technician hasn’t flagged the battery as authentic via their diagnostic software — you’re going to get an annoying message in the Battery section of iOS’ Settings app that your battery needs service, even if it’s a brand-new replacement.
Will your iPhone still work? Absolutely. However, you will be unable to use your iPhone’s Battery Health report to see how your battery is doing and when, or if, it might actually need to be replaced again. Do not try to spend money, or half a day at the Apple Store, to fix this “service issue” that does not actually exist. As iFixit’s Craig Lloyd writes:
“...this is a huge problem for iPhone owners who may not know about this new, sneaky lockdown, and it will undoubtedly cause confusion: they’ll replace their own battery and notice the “Service” message, then begin troubleshooting a problem that isn’t there.”
This whole verification issue was originally surfaced by YouTube content creator Justin Ashford, also known as TheArtofRepair. If you’re curious about the details, like how even a replacement Apple battery from another iPhone won’t pass this verification check, check out his full explanation:
While there’s no indication that Apple might go this route, it is concerning to think about what the company could do for iPhone owners with “illegitimate” batteries. Perhaps one day, in the name of device safety, Apple will throttle your iPhone’s performance if it can’t verify that your battery is an authentic replacement. Maybe it won’t allow your device to boot into iOS at all, or you’ll be locked from future iOS versions until you fix this “damning” issue with your device.
Apple’s stance on right-to-repair issues is fairly well-known, including what it isn’t saying: Repairing iPhones means fewer iPhone sales, and self-repair or third-party repair takes away money that could have been Apple’s. If you’ve been following the company for any length of time, however, get used to statements like the one Apple recently provided to Axios:
“We want to make sure our customers always have confidence their products will be repaired safely and correctly, and in a way that supports recycling. We are continually growing our network of certified technicians...”
To us, the concept of “battery verification” feels pretty silly. A battery is a battery. There shouldn’t be anything special about it that requires your iPhone to verify where it came from — it’s your phone, after all, and you should be free to use an Apple-bestowed battery or a third-party battery however you want.
This issue isn’t about the actual health of the battery itself, because Apple even flags its own batteries as not authentic and in need of “service.” Authenticating batteries is a “feature” that isn’t designed to enhance an iPhone user’s experience. It’s meant to scare people back to an Apple Store.