Apple warns iPhone users against third-party battery repairs

Apple has activated a “dormant software lock” that effectively kneecaps third-party replacement batteries on some newer models of iPhone, according to a report from iFixIt on Wednesday, by disabling access to battery health data unless the replacement has been installed by Apple or an authorized service provider.

iFixIt wrote that this appears to be an intentional feature in which replacement batteries lacking a Texas Instruments microcontroller with a unique Apple authentication key are locked out of providing certain battery health data to users. That includes cycle count, which indicates how much a battery may have degraded, as well as max capacity and peak performance capability. In its place users are greeted with a “Service” indicator in a not-so-subtle hint that they should take their phone to a Genius Bar or authorized Apple repair service.

It seems that Apple is trying to scare off iPhone owners from getting a battery swap done at anywhere other than an authorized service provider. On the other hand, authorized repair outlets are guaranteed to use official parts and to perform repairs according to proper routines.

iFixit called the new battery message “user-hostile” and said the decision to add a warning after legitimate repairs is not about protecting users but is actually about “preventing you from having any autonomy with a device you supposedly own”. Apple continues its fight against the right to repair movement which campaigns for the right of users to modify and repair technology that they own.

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