It’s no surprise to repair techs that when Apple finds the opportunity to sow distrust in third-party repair, it’ll do it. The only real surprise is in how Apple does it, and it often reveals the company’s most pressing concerns. As evidenced by this month’s revelation on YouTube channel TheArtOfRepair? It’s battery replacement.

Now, when a replacement battery is installed by a third party on an iPhone XSXS Max, or XR, the iPhone permanently displays a service message in the Battery Health section of the phone’s settings. An Apple certified technician is able to turn off the message, but for the rest of us, we’re out of luck. The message reads:

Important Battery Message: Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery.

The battery’s Maximum Capacity and Peak Performance Capability fields are left blank, and the latter is followed by another dig: “This iPhone is unable to determine battery health. An Apple Authorized Service Provider can service the battery.” As if no one else can service the battery, certainly not the person who already has, and is now blindsided by this mysterious error message.

Apple’s response to the expected backlash mixes self-promotion with fearmongering. It touts the number of authorized service providers in the US while fretting about quality and safety, saying it wants to “make sure any battery replacement is done properly… [and] protect our customers from damaged, poor quality, or used batteries” [emphasis added]. The blaring subtext takes direct aim at third-party repair, undercutting the reputation of repair techs and quality of replacement parts.

The most insidious detail found by TheArtOfRepair is how Apple augmented a battery-mounted microcontroller (the Texas Instruments bq27546-G1) to pair to the phone’s logic board and authenticate the original battery. The repaired iPhone is perfectly capable of reporting battery health. Apple just doesn’t want it to. It’s all a very deliberate ploy to drive users back to Apple for repair.

The silver lining is that battery functionality is not stopped or hindered by a third-party repair. The issue also only affects the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR for now, as stated above, but you can bet it will be present in the iPhone 11 and up. It’s more of a nuisance more than anything else, but it gives us the opportunity, once again, to declare the importance of third-party repair as a convenient, affordable solution for consumers everywhere.

We believe in third-party technicians’ abilities to “properly” perform repairs, and we do our part in supplying you with parts that are not “damaged, poor quality, or used.”

We’ll keep you updated on replacement batteries for affected iPhones and any related news about the iPhone 11. Until then, keep repairing!

Shop for Apple iPhone Replacement Parts

AppleBattery replacementBq27546-g1Iphone xIphone xrRepairReplacement partsService messageThird partyXsXs max