As most of you are aware, Apple does not look kindly on the independent repair industry. It has a fairly long history of being unfriendly to unauthorized repair- from the notorious Error 53, to the throttling issues on iPhone 6, all the way back to the very first iPhone with its choice of using a non-replaceable battery (a somewhat unusual feature for that time). Well, it looks like Apple is at it again. This time with an iOS 12 feature that disables XS, XR, and XS Max battery health data for any batteries that were not installed by Apple, or an Apple-authorized service provider.
As iFixit reports, this affects both original and aftermarket batteries, and Justin, from The Art of Repair YouTube channel, claims that this is due to a microcontroller on the battery, which allows it to be paired with the phone during installation. Once a non-matching battery is installed, the phone flags it, and the “Service” message is displayed.
The good news is that these batteries still work for the time being. Sure, the phone lacks any sort of health or diagnostic data, but it still powers on and functions. Also, we were able to confirm that usage data still works, as our XS Max test unit has had one of our batteries installed for a while now.
An image of our XS Max test unit, showing existing usage data for a locked-out battery.
Currently, there aren’t any practical solutions to this issue. iFixit claims that battery health data can still be accessed by connecting the device to a Mac and using a third-party app like coconutBattery. The only true fix (other than taking it to Apple) is to remove the cell from the device’s original battery, and soldering in a new one. According to Justin, this is a prohibitively complicated (and risky) procedure that can result in a battery fire if done improperly. Most technicians will probably want to avoid that route.
We will continue to watch this situation as it unfolds, and hopefully the aftermarket community will develop a solution soon. In the meantime, it seems that repair shops can continue to perform battery replacements. As alluded to earlier, we have tested our batteries with our own XS Max and XR, and while the battery health is blocked, the batteries do still function appropriately. But we want to make sure our customers are aware of this issue so that they can notify their clients and address any questions or concerns.
And as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at email@example.com.