Following the controversy over Apple slowing down older iPhone models, the tech giant offered angry consumer groups an olive leaf – for a limited time, out-of-warranty iPhone owners could get a discounted battery replacement.
The offer came after Apple, contrary to claims that it was cynically trying to manipulate customers into upgrading to newer iPhone models, explained that the slowdown was an attempt to offset the negative effects of ageing lithium batteries in devices. But recognising that its choice of remedy probably wasn’t its greatest piece of customer service ever, it launched the battery replacement scheme as a goodwill gesture.
Up until December 1st 2018, owners of all iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7 handsets can get their battery replaced at an authorised dealer for just £25 – compared to the £79 Apple usually charges for the service. But what happens when that deadline expires and you don’t fancy paying the full fee should your battery be on the wane? Or what if you own a later model? What are the alternatives?
The batteries themselves are low cost components. Depending on what model you have, you can easily pick up a replacement iPhone battery for under £10. The issue then is whether you are confident doing the replacement work yourself.
The challenge with iPhones is that, unlike the majority of Android phones, they are sealed units – you cannot simply slide the case off and take out the old battery. Arguably the biggest concern in replacing an iPhone battery is opening the case without damaging it, which could end up costing you more than a battery replacement.
To get the case off and the old battery removed, you need some tools – a small Phillips 00 screwdriver, something plastic with a little give in it to pry the casing apart without it snapping, a suction cup and a special Pentalobe screwdriver. The latter is required to remove the unique Pentalobe screws Apple uses on the bottom of the casing, and has to be bought as part of an iPhone repair kit. These are also cheap and easy to pick up, and are often sold along with a battery.
Once you have switched your phone off and removed the Pentalobe screws, the delicate operation of prising the screen away from the casing begins. This is where the suction cup comes in. Use it at the base of the phone near to where you removed the screws. The aim is to create just enough of a gap to get your prying tool into. It is important not to pull too hard, otherwise you could damage internal components.
When you can get your prying tool into the gap between screen and chassis, work it around the edges until you can lift the screen out so it stands vertically. It will still be attached at the top of the casing – you can use the Phillips screwdriver to remove it completely. The battery should have a release catch, but will often have become stuck into place. In that case, it is again a matter of using your prying tool to – very carefully – push between the battery and the chassis and gently ease it loose.
The secret is not to rush. The insides of your iPhone are quite delicate, so approach the task with care. If at any point you feel you are in danger of doing your iPhone some damage, stop and take it to an authorised repair centre.