Apple Software Locks iPhone Batteries to Prevent Independent Repair

Tim Cook CEO of Apple laughing
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Tech giant Apple is reportedly taking further steps to prevent iPhone owners from having their products independently repaired by locking iPhone software so it displays a battery warning message for an independently replaced battery — even if an original Apple battery is used.

iFixIt reports that tech giant Apple is taking further steps from preventing their customers from repairing the products they purchased. Apple is reportedly activating hidden software within iPhones that will display a message indicating that users need to service their battery if they replace the default battery with a third-party one, or even if the replacement is an Apple original battery, but the installation isn’t authenticated by an Apple service provider.

The “service” message appears in the “Battery Health” section of the settings and is usually an indication that the battery in the phone is degraded and needs to be replaced. Unless verified by an Apple employee or an Apple Authorized Service Provider, the battery health section of the iPhone will always show the “service message” and display no information about the third party battery.

The issue was first noted by the YouTube channel, The Art of Repair, and was verified by iFixIt. In the Art of Repair’s video on the issue, after swapping a genuine Apple battery for a third party battery in an iPhone XS, the phone displayed a “service” message followed by  an“Important Battery Message” stating that the phone is “unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery.”

The Art of Repair notes that Apple batteries contain a Texas Instruments microcontroller that provides information to the iPhone about the battery such as capacity and temperature. Apple uses its own version of this chip, but practically all smartphone batteries have some version of the same feature. Apple uses an authentication feature that stores info that pairs the battery to the iPhone’s logic board.

iFixIt has taken a stance on the “right to repair” for some time, and states in its article:

You bought it, you own it, you should be able to fix it. It’s that simple. Pairing batteries to iPhones is a gross overreach. It’s yet another instance of purchasing a product, and not being able to fully utilize it—like leasing a car, except you’re paying full price for it.

Fortunately, this is where Right to Repair legislation can step in and save the day. It’s trivial for manufacturers to lock down parts and tie them together, making it easy for them to prevent anyone repairing a device other than themselves for the sake of profits. Let’s do something about it: call your representatives and go to their town halls—state legislators are in recess and visiting their districts. They would love to talk to you.

Breitbart News will continue to report on the Right to Repair debate.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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