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iPhone 6S battery woes force Apple to recall thousands of devices in UAE

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Late in November, Apple announced it had determined that a “very small number” of iPhone 6S units were unexpectedly shutting down and the company would repair the batteries of affected devices free of charge. According to United Arab Emirates publication Khaleej Times, Apple now could lose as much as $7 million for the recall of about 88,700 units in the country.

On its support page, Apple explains that this is not a safety issue and that it has localized the problem to iPhones manufactured between September 2015 and October 2015. Users can enter the serial number of their device on the website to determine if theirs is part of the recall. Apple says it will replace the defective batteries free of charge, but if a phone has any damage that would impede the repair — like a cracked screen — it would have to be fixed beforehand.

In a statement, Hashim Al Nuaimi, director of the UAE Ministry of Economy’s Consumer Protection Department, said the recall was the result of one of the Ministry’s routine industry watchdog testing campaigns. He also corroborated Apple’s claim that it was not motivated by safety concerns.

The cost of battery replacement in the UAE is 289 Arab Emirates Dirhams according to Apple’s website — the equivalent of $79, which is also the price in the United States. Across nearly 90,000 devices, that could mean a loss of $7 million for the company in the UAE alone. It is not known how many total units are affected globally.

For reference, Samsung’s recall and then discontinuing of its exploding Galaxy Note 7 in 2016 was estimated to have cost the company $17 billion.

Shortly after Apple’s repair program began in November, 9to5Mac reported the company was experiencing a shortage in battery stock, even giving some customers brand new phones in limited circumstances. Apple has said it will continue fixing the detective units for up to three years after the initial sale of the phones, which began retailing in September 2015.

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