Following battery backlash, Apple offers a $50 refund to some customers

At the end of 2017, Apple admitted to slowing down older iPhones to preserve battery life and stabilize performance. Customers were upset about Apple’s lack of transparency regarding the issue, and the company apologized by offering to replace batteries for a reduced fee.

But Apple later said that if it finds any phone damage that could hinder the replacement process, it will have to make the necessary repairs — and charge for them — before it can fit the battery. While that may sound reasonable, the company was quickly accused of being overly harsh in implementing the terms of the replacement service, with some iPhone owners claiming they’re being asked to pay large sums of money without good reason. So in an attempt to appease these folks, Apple is offering a $50 credit to those who paid for “an out-of-warranty battery replacement for iPhone 6 or later devices between January 1, 2017 and December 28, 2017.”

The credit will be awarded either as an electronic funds transfer or as a credit to the card used to pay for the battery replacement process. Keep in mind, however, that you must have purchased your battery replacement at an eligible Apple authorized service location to qualify for this refund. Folks who are affected by this rebate should receive emails from Apple sometime between May 23 and July 27, with further instructions on how to obtain the credit. If you don’t end up getting an email, but feel this was in error, you need to be sure to get in touch with Apple by the end of the year, with proof of service at an Apple authorized service location.

Previously, an investigation carried out by the BBC revealed a range of stories from U.K.-based iPhone owners who said that Apple has been finding “unnecessary faults” with their handsets, with the company refusing to replace the battery unless they paid for the repair first.

In the U.K., Apple reduced the fee for a new battery from 79 pounds ($107) to 25 pounds ($34) until the end of 2018.

Josh Landsburgh told the BBC he feels he’s been treated unfairly by Apple. Landsburgh said he sent away his iPhone for a new battery, but a short while later received an email from the company pointing out a small dent on the edge of the phone. The tech giant said he’d have to pay 200 pounds ($270) to fix the dent before it could replace the battery at the reduced fee.

Landsburgh refused to pay, and had the battery replaced locally without any issues. The action meant, however, that he voided his Apple warranty.

“They’re trying to regain trust and they come back to you with, ‘Give us more money than you were planning to initially,'” he told the BBC.

Phone fault?

Another customer, David Bowler, said Apple found a fault inside his phone — with the speaker and microphone — and told him he’d have to pay 250 pounds ($340) to sort it out before a new battery could be fitted. Bowler insisted there was nothing wrong with his phone, a claim verified by the BBC when it sent the handset to an independent repair specialist.

On its website, Apple states: “If your iPhone has any damage that impairs the replacement of the battery, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement.” But the BBC’s investigators suggest that in some cases, the phone’s fault — if indeed there is one — has no apparent effect on the battery-replacement procedure, and that in light of the controversy that prompted Apple’s discounted offer, the company should be willing to deal with the issue in a more favorable manner.

While it would obviously be unacceptable for the company to “make up” faults with the phone, it would be equally concerning if it was charging customers for repairs that weren’t entirely necessary in order to replace the battery. With the BBC’s investigation having just been broadcast on a consumer affairs show, it will be interesting to see if the turmoil surfaces similar claims among others who have requested a new iPhone battery.

Battery bother

At the end of last year, Apple admitted to slowing down old iPhones. The company said it did so to preserve battery life and stabilize the handset’s performance, as a well-used battery could cause apps to suddenly crash.

Many iPhone owners were upset that Apple hadn’t been clearer about its actions when it began throttling older iPhones via a software update in 2016. Some accused the company of deliberately — and secretly — frustrating users with under-performing handsets to encourage them to fork out for an upgrade, a strategy known as planned obsolescence.

Apple has insisted the system is supposed to benefit customers’ user experience by preserving battery life and reducing the chance of sudden shutdowns with old phones. But the resulting backlash prompted the company to slash the cost of its battery replacement service for iPhones — in the U.S. from $79 to $29 — until the end of 2018.

With the introduction of iOS 11.3 in March, Apple gave owners of its handset more battery data as well as the option to disable throttling.

Updated on May 23: Apple is offering a refund to owners who purchased a battery replacement.

Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.

Apple Pay will be available at 70 percent of U.S. retail locations this year

Apple Pay is growing rapidly, so we've built a list of all the vendors, retailers, and companies worldwide that plan to support Apple's burgeoning mobile payment platform or already do.
Smart Home

The best smart locks to increase your home security in 2019

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.

Apple's iOS 12.2 brings support for Apple News Plus and new AirPlay 2 features

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.

Apple News Plus gives you access to more than 300 magazines for $10 per month

At Apple's services event, the company unveiled a new news subscription service called Apple News Plus. The service gives you access to more than 300 magazines and newspapers and costs $10 per month.

Does the box for AirPods 2 reveal Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat?

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.

Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-orders will start April 26, with shipment on May 3

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

Huawei P30 Pro is a gorgeous-looking smartphone packed with camera ingenuity

Huawei has kicked off the new year by launching the new Huawei P30 Pro and P30. With upgraded hardware, new software tricks, and some absolutely stunning cameras, Huawei's new phones are serious contenders.
Product Review

Huawei re-engineers the camera on the P30 Pro for stunning night photography

Huawei’s P-series phones place an emphasis on the camera. That’s why the company partnered with Leica on the camera tuning. The latest phone is the Huawei P30 Pro, and it must fill the big shoes of last year’s stunning P20 Pro. Is it…
Product Review

Compared to the P30 Pro, Huawei may have stripped too much out of the P30 phone

Has Huawei pulled all the best parts out of the P30 Pro to make the P30, its cheaper, smaller sister phone? Yes, but the answer is more complicated than that. Here’s our look at the 6.1-inch P30.