Take it as proof that phone users want to keep their phones longer than manufacturers would like, because Apple took another step toward forgiving users who’ve sought third-party repair for their iPhones.
Starting on February 28, Apple authorized its Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) to repair iPhones sporting third-party replacement batteries after previously instructing them not to. Before then, no matter what repair the iPhone needed, service was supposed to be refused if a non-Apple battery was found inside.
Now, however, a non-Apple battery is no longer a deal breaker, and even if the requested service is for a new battery, Genius Bars and AASPs are allowed to perform it (Apple itself still refuses to do it). If the service provider thinks the battery is unfixable due to broken pull tabs, missing adhesive, or too much adhesive? They can replace the phone altogether for the cost of a new battery replacement.
This comes on the heels of Apple shutting down its year-long battery replacement program, which itself came on the heels of verified reports that Apple was throttling the processing speeds on older iPhones due to degrading batteries. Battery replacement for models from the iPhone 6 and up was dropped from $79 to $29, a savvy bit of damage control that apparently cost Apple dearly in new iPhone sales.
Now that the program has ended, this seems like another move that shows Apple is coming to terms with the fact that a large segment of its userbase not only prefers, but actively seeks out third-party repairs. Apple made the leap once before in 2017, when iPhones with third-party screen assemblies were authorized for repair, and it’s making it again now. Is it all in the name of keeping users in its ecosystem? Considering Apple’s willingness to replace an entire phone if a third-party battery is poorly installed, and if Apple’s priority is truly shifting to its growing list of services, most likely.
Apple still refuses service to iPhones with other third-party components besides the screen and battery, but this is a welcome development nonetheless. The less barriers, the more willing users will be to get their iPhones and other devices repaired by third parties. Apple’s willingness to overlook third-party repairs should build confidence in shoppers who were previously intimidated into staying away from third-party repair altogether.