What to Know Before You Try to Replace an Old iPhone Battery

What to Know Before You Try to Replace an Old iPhone Battery
Photo: Primakov, Shutterstock

Today’s tech lasts a long time. Gone are the days of needing to upgrade your smartphone every other year; now, an iPhone from 2015 might be serving you just fine, save for maybe your battery. Luckily, replacing it is much cheaper than buying a new iPhone. And while you should absolutely replace an old battery rather than upgrade your phone, there are some things you should know before jumping in.

You won’t be spending much

We mentioned that replacing your iPhone battery wouldn’t cost nearly as much as upgrading the device; it’s really no comparison. First of all, if your iPhone is still under warranty, the repair will cost $US0 ($0). That’s a pretty good deal.

Of course, if you’re rocking an older iPhone, you likely aren’t covered by a warranty anymore. In that case, if you have a Face ID iPhone, your battery replacement will cost $US69 ($96). If you have a Home Button iPhone, your repair will only cost $US49 ($68). It’s one of, if not the cheapest repair Apple offers, and can dramatically improve the speed and performance of your iPhone (if iOS is slowing things down due to an old battery).

You can take a look at Apple’s pricing here, for a full list of iPhones and their costs.

You might not be taking it to Apple

We don’t all have Apple Stores in our vicinity, but for those of us that do, the Genius Bar was the place to take an iPhone for repair. Sure, Apple’s repair centre was the subject of criticism and mockery, but hey, it was reliable. If you had a problem with your Apple device, you took it to Apple.

These days, that doesn’t appear to be the case. For one reason or another, the days of choosing from an array of appointments from the Genius Bar are gone. Sure, you still can, but you might end up seeing a host of additional, third-party stores to choose from instead. You might not even see the Apple Store as an option at all.

The main reason is likely due to COVID restrictions affecting Apple’s ability to triage most of their customer’s issues in their own stores. Plus, Apple has always had a list of authorised repair stores the company approves to take care of repairs on its devices; what’s new here is Apple having you make an appointment with these shops like its the Genius Bar.

Since all you’re looking to do is get your iPhone’s battery replaced, it really isn’t a huge deal who does it. However:

Always ask ahead if the repair shop has your part

While Apple isn’t perfect, they have a good system in place for repairs. When you make an appointment for your specific product, the store you’re going to will know whether or not they have the part you need. If they don’t have it, they’ll be able to order it up so they can complete the repair.

That won’t be the case everywhere.

I have a friend who set up a battery replacement for their iPhone 8 through the Apple-authorised Best Buy in our area. When they showed up for their appointment, Best Buy informed her they didn’t have the part in place, so they couldn’t do the repair. Sorry. You would think if you made an appointment with a repair shop for your product, they would check to see if they had the part before making you come in for it.

Since there are clearly no guarantees here, you should call ahead to make sure they have your part. Not to mention, because iPhones are lasting longer and longer, there are more and more devices to keep up with for parts. The chances that your repair shop doesn’t have the battery for your five, six, or seven-year-old iPhone is pretty high; if you’re lucky, they’ll make sure they order the part for you before your appointment. To make sure you don’t waste your time, call ahead to confirm.

Don’t take no for an answer

When dealing with an Apple-authorised repair store, repair techs might give you a hard time in the name of Apple regulation. For example, this Redditor was turned away from their Best Buy battery replacement because Apple supposedly wouldn’t authorise a repair on an iPhone with 87% battery health. Apple does tend to wait to replace a battery until you hit 80% battery health (or 1,100 charging cycles) but that only applies to repairs within warranty.

Since this iPhone was out of warranty, the Redditor should’ve been able to replace the battery if they wanted to. If the comments are to be believed, the repair shop may have jeopardized their Apple certification by refusing such a repair. If you know your iPhone’s out of warranty, you have every right to get its battery replaced.

Mail your iPhone to Apple for a repair

If you don’t want to deal with a third-party store, or any in-person store for that matter, you can always set up a mail-in repair through Apple. You can choose that option when setting up a repair through Apple’s site here. The main drawback here is, obviously, you need to part with your iPhone for an extended period of time, so I’d only recommend this method if you have a backup phone you can use.

You can always replace your iPhone’s battery yourself

Paying someone to replace your old battery isn’t your only option here; it might seem intimidating, but you can crack open your iPhone and fix the battery yourself.

My favourite resource for this type of Apple tinkering is iFixit. The company produces guides on repairing all kinds of devices, and even sells kits with everything you need to complete the repair.

I won’t lie; replacing an iPhone battery isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially if you’ve never worked on tech before. Batteries can be dangerous, which is why it’s important to follow the directions exactly — you don’t want it to explode as you replace it. Doing it yourself isn’t impossible, though. If you carefully read through the instructions, which often include both a video and detailed write-up, you could replace your iPhone’s battery all on your own.

Because you’re doing everything yourself, this method is by far the cheapest. If I wanted to replace the battery in my 8 Plus, for example, I could buy iFixit’s repair kit for $US29.99 ($42), which is $US20 ($28) cheaper than going through Apple. Still, if you do choose to replace your own battery, be careful.

  

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