Apple store employee: iPhone battery replacement is a mess


Genius Bar expert says Apple has "no real plan" to deal with problem.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple was quick to rectify the “random shutdown” problem affecting some iPhones by offering in-store battery replacements for affected customers. Unfortunately, it seems that already-busy Apple store employees aren’t too happy about the replacement program.

Given that each replacement takes between 20 and 45 minutes, and staffers are doing 15 to 30 replacements per day, it’s quickly adding up to “more than we [can] replace,” according to a longtime Genius Bar guru.

It would be one thing if this was only affecting employees. But customers are also bearing the brunt, reportedly facing lengthy delays and other challenges.

The iPhone random shutdown problem, and the resultant gripes about backups at Apple stores, is just the latest black eye for Cupertino. In recent weeks, complaints about pricey but glitchy MacBook Pros and irritation over long-delayed AirPods have tarnished Apple’s reputation for delivering impeccable hardware and meeting deadlines.

Apple originally said the battery problem in question existed only in a small quantity of iPhone 6s units produced between September and October 2015, which it committed to replacing for any customers who had experienced the fault.

  However, in a subsequent statement aimed at the Chinese market (which Tim Cook has been outspoken about believing will soon be Apple’s largest), the company admitted that a “small number of customers outside of the affected range have also reported an unexpected shutdown.”

The iPhone battery replacement might be fixing one problem, but seems to have created another.

“There is no real plan on how to actually get these done,” the Apple store employee told Business Insider. “Most stores are short-staffed, and they book us too much for appointments, so Geniuses are taking two to three appointments at a time. But we have these [battery replacements] come in nonstop.”

iPhone battery replacement comes at bad time of year

Of course, things will vary depending on where you live and the distribution of affected iPhone models. Nonetheless, this isn’t ideal for the always-hectic holiday season. Especially for a company that has always prided itself on its stellar customer service.

Have you been affected by the iPhone random shutdown problem, or have you noticed your Apple store being busier than normal? Leave your comments below.

Source: Business Insider

  • Nick Hurrell

    I feel fortunate that I did my own battery replacement now.

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  • Vann

    Took 10 days. 5 days to get an appointment. Then 5 days waiting for the battery to be delivered to the store. And that’s through a fairly low volume store.

  • Rick Gold

    BETWEEN 20 AND 45 MINUTES? I fix this stuff for a living… literally 6 screws, pull two tabs.. out. Apply new adhesive, slap new battery in.. 5 mins. Evening accounting for testing and such.. 20 minutes is ridiculous!

    • lucascott

      according to my internal sources, that also includes time to charge the batteries now that they can’t be shipped with a full charge. they are often at 0-5% when they arrive at the store. and they aren’t allowed to let someone walk out with a dead battery cause they need to make sure the phone actually turns on

      • Rick Gold

        Thanks for the info! That makes sense!

  • HMX

    Outrange iPhone 6+ same problem with shutting down. fighting with apple since July, when updated to beta 10 iOS. Loads of on all tests. Now under 10.2 they ve build in some battery test, which generate battery logs troubles. Allready sent, waiting for the files analyse. But it’s important to says that phone is almost unusable below 10 degree Celsius.

  • Raul Corona

    Yup! Shut down and they are going to give me a new one. They told me it has to arrive as a replacement and not from their stock which I find that annoying, it’s been two weeks already!

  • Jimm Freedman

    I brought my iPhone 6s in on Friday, was called on Monday when the part was in. It took a bit over an hour to do. But here is the interesting thing, my wife’s 6 was doing the same thing. The phone would go to black and the battery icon would show up on the screen as if dead. Hard restart would fix it (actually was 53% of battery life left.) Apple replaced the 6 with a 6s for our trouble. Awesome!

  • Peter Hosking

    I have a 6s and took it in and they replaced the whole phone as they were too busy to get it fixed. Was in and out in less than 20 mins including backup.

  • NoNonsense74

    whew, i am on SE. so far so good.

  • Janet Jones

    Did mine with a certified apple repair location. They were a million times more helpful then AppleCare over the phone. They ordered the battery , called me , then did it while I was out for lunch. It’s like having a new phone , battery is much better all around. Apple is spending too much time on Apple Watch everything else seems to be suffering.

  • Brenda Murphy

    My daughters iPhone 6 just randomly shut down. Black screen with an outline of a battery and a line red line on the side of the interior of the battery outline. The first Apple Rep I spoke to was very nice and even though there are no appointments for 3 days, she suggested I should go into a store at an off peak time and I wouldn’t have to wait as long. I asked if Apple has any type of adjustment or something for the ‘inconvenience’ of not having a phone and taking time off to have it repaired. As soon as I said that, the “senior advisor’ was not very nice, began to argue with me and then stated I would have to pay for the battery. I received an email the this Sr. Advisor has ‘taking ownership’ of my case and so now, I take time off of work to sit at an Apple store for time between 1 and 3 hours, then pay for a battery which I had no control over the fact it failed. I own 1 iPhone 5, 2 iPhone 6 and 1 iPhone 6s and an iPad. I’m so upset and disappointment that Apple would not only have a Sr. Advisor who would speak to a customer this way but now to have this ‘black mark’ for lack of a better term on my account and to be sure that I pay for this battery. It’s a shame.