Last week, the independent iFixit workshop discovered that iPhones have begun to alert users when the replacement batteries have not been approved by Apple or its authorized service engineers – a small fad that was hidden in iOS 12 and iOS 13, but only recently turned on. Now, Apple is defending the practice by claiming that it is a security feature, intended to protect customers from unauthorized repairs and unauthorized parts.
An Apple spokesperson suggests that the feature was originally "introduced" last year, and is now showing because Apple recently expanded its authorized service network to 1
However, for iFixit and other independent workshops, not only is business loss, but the broad brush Apple uses to paint "unauthorized" battery repairs as potentially unsafe – and the way it is portrayed as an established practice, when it was only recently turned on. According to Apple's statement:
Last year, we introduced a new feature to notify customers if we could not confirm that a new genuine battery was installed by a certified technician following Apple repair processes. This information is there to protect our customers from damaged, poor quality or used batteries that may cause safety or performance issues. This alert does not affect the customer's ability to use the phone after an unauthorized repair.
While Apple determines the standards and parts used by authorized repair shops, that is not to say that all or even most "unauthorized" stores keep users on used, damaged or bad battery packs. However, unless the iPhone battery is specifically checked in with Apple, the iOS-level notification suggests that battery replacement has not been done properly.
On the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max, a "Service" message appears under Battery Health, which if pressed explains that iOS does not "cannot confirm that this iPhone has a real battery. " Apple disables the device's Battery Health feature as a result, removing a feature it promised users back in iOS 11.3 in early 2018.
Batteries, even "real" Apple batteries, have been a major source of headaches for both the company and its customers over the last couple of years. Apple spent much of 2018 dealing with a self-inflicted disaster caused by its quiet performance that strangled iPhones with aging batteries, and finally offering discounted battery swaps to place angry customers and regulators. Recently, it has launched a recall program for certain MacBook Pro laptops, which can spontaneously burn due to battery pack expansion.