Apple not replacing all batteries on iPhone 5 defective list

dead battery

Apple isn’t replacing all iPhone 5 devices suffering from short battery life.

Earlier this week it was announced that Apple was replacing certain iPhone 5 models, sold between September 2012 and January 2013, due to a problem related to the devices’ battery life.

According to certain customers, however, things are not quite as straightforward as they may seem.

Some users, who fulfilled the criteria in terms of their iPhone 5 serial number, were still denied the free device replacement after Apple added additional tests. One iPhone user in Queensland, Australia said that she was told by an Apple Store employee that while the battery was “borderline” defective (it allegedly ran for only a couple of hours after charging) it was “not close enough” to warrant a free replacement. The customer was then asked for $99 in order for the Apple staffer to install a new battery.

“I’ve got friends on Facebook thinking they’ve got a ‘golden ticket’ with this Apple offer but that’s no longer clear,” the customer says.

Apple has yet to comment on the issue, but it’s worth noting that the company has previously run into problems related to its one-year warranty in Australia, which it has been forced to extend to two years in order to comply with Australian consumer law, stating that statutory warranties should stand for a “reasonable” period of time, even after the manufacturer’s standard warranty has expired.

For customers wanting to check whether their iPhone 5 might be one of the “very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices” affected by poor battery life they can check their serial number on Apple’s website to find out whether they, at least in theory, qualify for a free battery replacement. Serial numbers can be found by going to Settings > General > About > Serial Number on your iPhone.

The offer does not cover additional damage such as broken screens or cracked iPhone cases.

  • Bob Plank

    First off, I got my battery replaced. Yes, they did run a diagnostic test. Yes, they claimed it was just on the bad side of borderline.

    What I want to know is how do you crack the case of your phone? Does it require the use of a brick, a heavy stone, or a hammer? My phone is nearly 2 years old and looks pristine. It’s a fairly delicate electronic device. Treat it as such.

    • Arturo

      How long did it take to replace the battery?

      • nobby

        1 hour at an Apple store

      • Bob Plank

        It took about an hour.

  • Tom

    Mine was replaced. the tech said even when it was charged to 100% I was actually only getting 40% of capacity !

  • dec

    Sounds like the old bait and switch. “Your phone is entitled to a free battery replacement come down to our shop now!”, “Sorry your phone is not actually entitled to an replacement, that’ll be $99 thank you very much”

  • Dave

    Make sure to call the store first to make sure they have enough batteries in stock. I erased my phone (backed up first) and then got to the store to find out they ‘did not have enough to meet the demands of the free replacement’. You’ll be put on a queue list and be notified when you are deemed worthy of a battery.

    • Stacie Dennison

      Made appt 6 days ago. Drove over 2 hours and they did not have a battery for me. Wished I had known. Bad organization and bad management of the situation.

    • Kat

      Thank you for the advice! I called my local Apple store and found that they had implemented a waiting list. They will call me when they have a battery in stock. If I had kept the appointment I had scheduled, it would have been a wasted trip – with a small child in tow.

  • junebug

    Seems fishy, Apple doesn’t charge $99 for a battery replacement, it’s $80.

    • nobby

      $86.36 in Australia to be precise but no charge if your phone qualifies which mine did.

  • Kyu Kim

    I’m happy to report mine was replaced w/ appt at a local Apple Store in about 30 mins. You should back up your phone “just in case” but tech said in almost all cases they can simply swap out the battery. it is so nice not to have to charge 2-3x/day !

  • Kevin in Texas

    Definitely an apparent “Bait and Switch”. Apple store told me my phone didn’t qualify because when the opened it the water damage indicator was activated and that I’d have to pay $269 to replace the phone. However, the battery has been garbage since I bought the phone so I don’t see what any possible water damage could have to do with replacing the battery. Beside, the phone and all apps work fine. If Apple sold us an obviously defective part, why do they not replace it regardless of the condition.

  • joe

    even before this announcement i got my battery replaced at no cost. :)

  • joelbischoff

    What a debacle. I learned that my phone qualified, so I made an appt. w/ the Genius Bar at the 5th Ave Mac store in Manhattan. When I arrived, they explained that they were out of batteries, but would take advantage of my trip to the store to do all of the digital paperwork associated with the battery swap. I, and others, expressed our strong displeasure that they’d had us come into the store when they didn’t in fact have any batteries. The lady helping me realized my Sleep/Wake button wasn’t working properly, and said that we could send my phone to Texas to have both issues fixed, which would involve giving me a loaner in the meantime. Then they said they didn’t have loaners.

    Finally, someone found a loaner and I was on my way. Another irate customer complained about all of this until they called security (he’d been marching around the store, calling out the name of the employee who he’d previously been discussing his issue with), but at least he got a new phone then and there. I was surprised they didn’t do the same for me rather than mailing a 2 year old phone to Texas to fix two issues. Aren’t the new phones coming out in a few days? Give me a new one already!

  • JW

    Took mine in to local Apple store and they did a diagnostic check and said the battery was good but would still replace it. I had 52% battery charge on it and 45mins later I picked it up and left. I noticed it had 49% charge on it. Did they replace the battery or didn’t they. I’m sure If I asked they would of said yes and the new battery happen to be a few % charge from my old one. Watch your battery charge % when you take it in. Anyone else had notice this when they got theirs replaced??

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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