/ Technology

Is it time to replace your iPhone’s battery?

Has your old phone become frustratingly laggy? It might be time for an expensive upgrade… but is there another option?

My iPhone’s been really struggling lately: apps take a noticeable time to open and often crash, it’s laggy when I’m typing and taking spur of the moment photos just isn’t possible anymore (having to hang around for 5 or 6 seconds for the camera to start working).

I’d been aware for some time that I really needed to upgrade my phone, which I bought in 2015, but had been putting it off: nearly £1,000 for a new iPhone seemed a horrendous price to pay (I always buy my phone outright and get a pay-as-you-go contract).

Read: Which? Best Buy mobile phones

So I struggled on with my four-year-old phone, convincing myself that slightly longer load times and an inability to take photos were a small trade off for what was basically a functional phone.

Power problem

Then one day looking through settings, I came across information on my phone’s battery, and this message:

‘This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to delvier the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to prevent this from happening again.’

With a bit more research I worked out what ‘performance management’ meant: my phone’s processing power was being limited by the operating system because my battery was degraded.

Although I’d had the phone since 2015, it hadn’t occurred to me that the battery might be affecting performance – I didn’t know it could.

But in fact it turns out that Apple deliberately slows processing speeds in older phones to prevent iPhones from randomly shutting down due to lack of juice.

This makes sense, but it wasn’t ever exactly made clear to me that the phone had been locked at a lower processing speed: I’d thought my phone was obsolete rather than just limited.

Apple juice

With this knowledge in mind, I realised I had a new option open to me (beyond splashing out a grand on a new phone): I could simply get my current phone’s battery replaced. So that’s what I did.

I booked my phone into a third party repair centre near where I work the next day for a battery replacement. It was cheap and hassle free – costing £35 for parts and labour and taking a couple of hours.

The only slightly laborious thing was I had to backup my phone before and restore it afterwards – they wipe the memory when repairing it (but you have to go through this process with a new phone as well) .

And is the phone running at a higher performance now? Yes, significantly. Opening and switching between apps is almost instantaneous again and there have been no crashes: not bad for a four-year-old phone.

Repair, recycle, reuse

My regret is that Apple never made it clear to me that my phone had been limited and that getting a battery replacement was necessary to ‘unlock’ the processing power I’d lost.

Apple confirmed in 2017 that for a year they’d been slowing iPhones in order to ‘smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions.’

As far as I remember, this news was never passed on to me – and in my opinion it probably should have been.

But it makes sense from their perspective I suppose – Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said that the company’s sales of new phones had been affected by ‘some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements.’

So it looks like other people are getting their iPhones repaired rather than buying new ones, which can only be a good thing in terms of sustainability – and avoiding unnecessary new purchases.

But what do you think? How old is your mobile phone – does it still work well for you? Will you be getting your iPhone repaired after reading this?

How old is your mobile phone?
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Comments
Member

My iPhone 5S is five years old and the battery has recently deteriorated. This morning it showed 10% charge and cut out as soon as I tried to make a call. I expect that I will be able to replace the battery myself, but Apple do not make batteries available to the public, so it will need to be a third party replacement. There are helpful YouTube videos showing how to dismantle my phone. Although I can still update the phone for security and other reasons, I doubt that this will be possible for much longer.

Oscar has prompted me to take action, but knowing that lithium batteries can be a fire risk I am not sure where to buy from. Suggestions would be welcome.

Member

Hey Wavechange,

Good to know I’ve spurred you to action! You can sort an out-of-warranty repair (both in-house and third party) through Apple here: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/iphone/repair/battery-power

But there’s no reason you can’t just go directly to a third party repair centre.

Member
DerekP says:
11 January 2019

I’ve never owned an iPhone.

New York based Apple PC repair guru Louis Rossman speaks well of ifixit, who do a lot to encourage DIY repairs:

ifixit.com/Guide/How+to+replace+your+iPhone+5+battery/10587

Member

Thanks Derek. My phone is the 5S model, but iFixit has instructions for that too: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/How+to+replace+the+battery+in+your+iPhone+5s/19239
As I had expected, the pentalobe case screws can be removed with a watchmaker’s screwdriver. 🙂 The process looks straightforward but I need to find a trustworthy source of a battery.

Member

Thanks Oscar, and thanks for this Conversation. What annoys me is that Apple will not sell me a replacement battery so that I can do the job myself. As the link above shows, it’s a fiddly job but not difficult and I have a bit of an obsession about doing things for myself if I can. Just before Christmas the dishwasher died, so with a little help from YouTube videos I fixed it and learned a bit about what else can go wrong with dishwashers.

I wish Which? would work with other consumers’ organisations to force manufacturers to make parts available, which would help third party repairers and people like me who want to do their own repairs.

Member
DerekP says:
11 January 2019

In the future, perhaps more manufacturers, even fruity ones, will follow Motorola’s lead:

/ifixit.org/blog/11644/motorola-ifixit-partnership/

Member
Bob Bailey says:
12 January 2019

I recently had a similar problem with my 3 year old I-phone 6. Slow to charge, especially after complete discharge, and would not last a day, whereas it previously lasted several. Also everything was really slow to load.
Went to I-phone website, on-line chat with advisor, who took me through the procedure to check my battery’s performance, not surprisingly, it was knackered ! The advisor made an appointment at Apple store in Manchester, duly arrived, prepared my I-phone then asked me to call back in 45 minutes. I phone was ready and waiting, they took me through the set-up procedure, and my phone works like new. Cost £25, although I think this price ends soon.
Excellent , effortless service.

Member

I suggest there is going to be an increasing move towards requiring repairable and more durable products, with manufacturers being required to co-operate by designing products to be repaired, providing the spares necessary for a sensible time (and at sensible prices), and by providing adequate instructions to allow anyone to attempt a repair.

When I buy a product it becomes mine and I should be allowed to do what I like with it, and not be impeded by an uncooperaive supplier. However I must accept that doing it myself will be at my own responsibility, both for function and for safety.

A good product to include from the outset would be a mobile phone. They seem to me to be a terrific waste of a resource if we are expected to replace them when the battery begins to fail, simply to sustain a profiteering manufacturer’s inflated income.

There is a problem sourcing components online. I replaced my Samsung battery but only after a good deal of searching did I find what I hoped was a source for a genuine one – but who knows. It would be useful if Which? developed a “trusted supplier” data base perhaps so we could find legitimate products. Or, as most of us use Amazon, perhaps they could mark products known to be genuine, and guarantee them as such.

Member

I agree, Malcolm. Do you have any tech products that you have had repaired, instead of simply replacing?

Member

Not many. Years ago I had the head replaced on a video recorder by a one-man repairer at a sensible price. I’ve repaired a couple of power tools, a dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, condensate pump – not what I’d class as tech products but I like to try to keep products going rather than scrap them. I suppose I’ve been lucky with most products or by buying recommended brands have reaped the rewards.

Member
TimG says:
13 January 2019

I recently bought a Moto G5 & one of the considerations in buying is that the battery is easily user replaceable whereas the G6 is not. I expect kit to last for a long time.
Apple have long had a policy of making their kit virtually impossible to upgrade & difficult for third parties to repair, sealing & glueing components in. Maybe I’m being cynical but their recent T2 security chip is another step on that road. Any attempt by third parties to effect a repair will trigger this chip to think tampering is taking place & will brick the item rendering it useless. Not sure if its in their phones yet but is being incorporated into computers

Member

Very interesting Tim keep up the good work !
For those not au fait with this here is the background , you dont need to ask my opinion on this as it should be obvious.-
https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/12/18077166/apple-macbook-air-mac-mini-t2-chip-security-repair-replacement-tool

Member

The T2 chip is central to the security of an Apple product and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone other than Apple to effect a repair on my machines. This innovation is going to further ensure Apple owners enjoy the most secure mainstream computer environment around.

Not that any of my machines has needed a repair; they just keep going.

Member
DerekP says:
13 January 2019

I guess Apple would see the improved security and the blocking of 3rd party repair as a win-win.

My poor old MacBook has a mechanized “letter box” optical drive that no longer works – another triumph of snazzy design over simple functionality. But I can, at least, plug in a USB one. And, thanks to Linux, I can also run a still-supported OS on it.

Member

Derek- I guess etc etc – exactly, a lot of tech sites agree with you -if many people have the same result in thinking especially in the technical field it means you are either “have the second sight ” or you are thinking like an engineer.

Member
DerekP says:
13 January 2019

“great minds think alike but fools seldom differ”

Member

That made me laugh !

Member

Derek – If you want to install software on a MacBook with a faulty optical drive or on modern ones without one, this can be done from another Mac or a PC: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT203973 It’s a bit slow but has worked fine for me.

Member
DerekP says:
14 January 2019

Thanks wavechange – that’s interesting.

I think it also used to be possible to do similar things with Windows PC’s.

These days, just plugging in a USB optical drive usually seems to provide an easier solution.

The only exception to that seems to be when you need to boot some old PC’s from optical media, if any internal CD driver is either absent or not working and when the machine’s bios does not allow booting from USB devices. For those cases, workarounds can include booting via a floppy disc or temporarily moving the harddrive to another PC.

Member

No-one should need to mess around with spudgers and tiny screwdrivers to replace a phone battery. I would like to see a requirement for phone batteries to be replaceable without the use of tools. I believe that Apple was the first to bring us phones with batteries that could not be replaced easily but others have followed and now all the popular makes and models of smartphones have non-replaceable batteries.

Member

This partly depends upon how good a seal you might need against water and dirt ingress. Screws are a good way of compressing a seal if correctly tightened. However I question the need; all my phones have sliding covers that do not seal particularly well but I have never suffered water ingress; partly because I take care when using them and I don’t keep them in a back pocket from where they can fall in the toilet.

Member

From memory, your Samsung phone is at least five years old. As far as I am aware, their current models do not have readily exchangeable batteries.

A year or two ago I offered to look at a friend’s handheld VHF marine radio. It was designed to be submersible in seawater yet the lithium battery pack could be swapped without the need for tools. Sometimes it would help for manufacturers to look at completely different products and adopt good design practice.

I suggest that phones should be designed to be capable of surviving use outdoors, on the basis that it occasionally rains.

Member

Indeed my Samsung S4 is a few years old and, incidentally, does all I need of it. Newer models do not have easily-replaceable batteries. My oldest phone is 12. I use all my phones outdoors – that’s often where they are most needed – and it does rain but I’ve protected them sensibly and never had water ingress as I said.

Member

There are plenty of comments about how to deal with phones, including the S4, that have become wet, so the fact that you and I have not had a problem might not be relevant. Perhaps all phones should be required to be water resistant to a certain IP rating or better, especially since they are expensive purchases.

Member

I recommend iFixit as the go-to place for all things Apple in repair terms. They make outstanding videos for step-by-step repairing of most Apple equipment.

Member

As is normal in the USA 15 lawsuit’s are in action against Apple for keeping quiet about it from the start .
For US citizens the genuine article Apple battery is- $29 (approx £25) but pre iPhone 6 phones have to pay -$79.
Now I know -old model hard to get parts -bull ! I checked in China as thats where they have their factories
and a replacement OEM is a lot cheaper than direct from Apple but you do have import costs and it might not be too legal.
Anyway I agree with Ian on iFixit where US citizens are charged- 29 bucks .

The reason given for not having a simple slide in battery is exactly as malcolm says –he,s right !
If you buy 10 iphone 5s batteries its -$2.5- $4 —-in China export but they are “not” *
Apple.
* factory in China brands then OEM and nobody,s sued them yet.

Brand Name:
OEM

Model Number:
5C/5S

Rechargeable:
Yes

Use:
Mobile Phone

Type:
Standard Battery

Place of Origin:
Guangdong, China (Mainland)

Compatible brand:
For iphone

Standard voltage(V):
3.8V

Color:
Black

Protection:
Double IC

Battery Capacity:
1560mAh

Warranty:
12 Months

Charging life cycle:
Over 800 times

Condition:
100% Brand-new

Packing:
OPP and Carton Box

I have a vast number of factories supplying those batteries on mainland China .

By the way that city in China outputs the biggest volume must be many factories there.
After checking yes many different named manufacturers but all in the same city.

Member

I believe that Apple charge less for replacing the iPhone 6 battery is because of the negative publicity following the reports that performance is degraded without the permission of the owner when the battery performance has declined.

My problem is to find a source of a battery that is both safe and has good performance.

Member

You could go here, Wave; iFixit members recommend them.

Member

Thanks Ian. I’ll order a kit. Unlike the later iPhones and laptops, the 5S does not seem to provide information about the remaining capacity and cycle count.

Member
Charles says:
12 January 2019

I fix Phones, Laptops Tablets etc. It’s pretty bad that in some of the Apple models components are glued down. Not a friendly glue either. I mean glued tight! Nightmare. Bring back the days of the 5210. I’ve still got mine. Still works never failed me! When we see the next wave of new tech hit the phones there will be no other choice apart from main dealer repairs.

Member
SteveGS says:
12 January 2019

I have the knowhow to replace a phone battery, but lack the dexterity owing to (my) increasing age. So having a difficult-to-replace battery is age discrimination!

Member

Hi Charles,

Interesting. Is there any justification for gluing components down that you know of?

Member
DerekP says:
14 January 2019

Hi Oscar, from an engineering standpoint, gluing components together is a respectable way of making permanent connections (and/or repairs).

Also, some glued joints can use glues like those used on masking tape, to make demountable fastenings.

Inside a PC or laptop, special kinds of sticky tape are often used to secure things like screen and power cables to secure them in place but not at the expense of making them impossible to remove, should repairs ever be needed. In contrast, if things get glued together permanently, repairs still may be theoretically possible, but will be hard to do economically.

As the owners of their brand and the designers of their products, Apple have to decide whether or not they expect their products to be repairable and, if so, by whom. But this is where they fall into conflict with “right-to-repair” advocates, who would say that customers should have the right to repair any Apple products that they own.

Member

In many cases, there are better alternatives to using glue. Some years ago I dismantled a TomTom sat nav and found the battery was glued on the back cover. A better alternative would have been to have a moulding to hold the battery in place and better still would be to have a battery compartment allowing the user to exchange the battery.

Member
SteveGS says:
12 January 2019

My iPhone 3G is a hand-me-down from my partner when she took out a new contract. It’s now in the antediluvian age range and its battery is totally shot. However, I can’t read its minuscule screen without a magnifying glass so the exercise has taught me to keep my brickie’s Nokia 3330 as a phone, a proper camera to take photos with and a tablet with a legible screen for emails etc. when the PC is switched off. However, that old iPhone does have a use – when away on holiday. There’s no sensitive information in it, so it wouldn’t be a catastrophe if I lost it. It only works with an external power supply attached (though its own battery can still keep its settings when not in use). I use a 30Ah ‘power bank’ bought from eBay for about £13 with Apple’s USB lead – a bit of an encumbrance but doesn’t need charging every 6 hours or so that a normal ‘smart’ phone battery requires.

Member

I believe that in the USA Apple were replacing iphone batteries for $25 in their nstores.

Member
Roland Hobden says:
12 January 2019

I have an early iPhone 5. the battery was not holding it’s charge. I took it to an Apple store for replacement. Cost £80. Now works perfectly again and well worth the cost. They did ask me to back it up but no data was lost during the process.

Member
DerekP says:
12 January 2019

Interestingly, £80 is also now the typical price for a refurbished iPhone 5.

Member
Nigel Withyman says:
12 January 2019

I have as yet to replace batteries in my mobile phones but have tackled the job on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2S without any difficulty and the aid of many instructional videos on You Tube.
The danger, as others have pointed out, is of course that the replacement battery might not meet OE manufacturers’ build and safety standards – even something advertised as being ‘Samsung original’ should not be trusted.
In closing, I must say that I’m becoming increasingly miffed at the continuing and sometimes subtle habit of ‘Which?’ ‘pushing to the front’ the name of Apple products. This is a case in point; take the closing sentence of the item above, it reads “Will you be getting your iPhone repaired after reading this?”
It cannot be denied that Apple are usually excellent products even though you might not like some of their design features – eg no memory expansion SD card facility, no headphone socket, changing connector design etc but the alternative Android and Windows market is HUGE!
Come on ‘Which?’, you’re being somewhat unbalanced and elitist .

Member

Yes – but this is comparatively recent. For years they utterly ignored Apple and its offerings in favour of MS. And to be fair this entire topic is about iPhones – nothing else, so they haven’t really ‘pushed’ the name; it’s there – in the title.

Member
Nigel Withyman says:
12 January 2019

That rather makes my point Ian; I appreciate that this is a story specific to an Apple phone user but surely the situation he talks about is relevant to all phones and tablets – why restrict the topic to just one manufacturer when there must be a score or more out there all of whose products will eventually have the same problem?

Member
DerekP says:
12 January 2019

Nigel, overall I think Which? is not unduly biassed towards Apple products.

That said, its central aim seems to include covering it’s subscribers’ interests, so if they include a lot of Apple fans, then Apple related content can be appropriate.

Member

I have continually praised Which ? for allowing me to criticize multi national US companies that Which could benefit from financially .

I dont think anybody here quite understands what goes on in many American tech websites who are sponsored by Google- MS- Amazon etc .
I have been “booted off ” several for criticizing their financial backers (quite legitimately ) ,even one high prestige one wont allow MS to be criticized.

As long as Which ? allows criticism of them I personally dont mind how much money they make from any of them. Thats only fair and equitable.

Member
DerekP says:
13 January 2019

Duncan – Which? is supposed to be independent of “big business” and sponsorship from such sources. Its relationship with Amazon has attracted a lot of negative comments, here on W?C.

Member

I understand Derek but contrary to what some people think I am not against capitalism as long as its with a small “c”.
What I think many want here is a “pure ” charitable organization, if you check most of the other charities (registered ) in this country they have gone down the American advertising market street —full blown, since I knew what they started out as .
Which ? is no different its just conforming to life in 21cent. UK.
I know it upsets many but I have tried to be honest and down to earth ,if you want that changed back then you will need to take over the boardroom, I honestly dont see it happening unless the members make it happen and history dictates that the people of this country aren’t as keen on revolutions as the French.

If you have a solution to it I will listen ?

Member
DerekP says:
13 January 2019

Duncan, as you may already know, I voted with my feet and left the ranks of Which’s subscribers.

Member

I don’t agree that Which? has “have gone down the American advertising market street —full blown”. Its charitable status has always been contingent on its educational remit. It doesn’t appeal for donations and its income comes from subscriptions and the various levies it imposes on those who register to display Best Buy awards and those who sign up to the various Trader schemes.

I am waiting to see what changes, if any, Amanda makes after she finishes what I’m pretty sure is a very detailed and thorough review of the way in which Which? has been operating.

I’ll say only one thing: Which? has to make far, far greater use of its members, and it has to do so in several ways. It needs to decide how far it’s prepared to encourage member participation and it absolutely must not confine that participation to answering surveys.

Member

Ian-quote-from me- other charities –have gone down etc etc . I did not say Which had -interpretation = other charities have done so and they have gone the full distance like Age Concern -check out their full cost aids compared to others–their flashy advertising , their incessant “letter boxing” .

Member

I do expect Which? to behave as an independent organisation with no allegiance or links to any commercial organisation. I want honest, expert, thorough and unbiased work carried out and reported by them. Their Ordinary members (those who show an interest in Which? by enrolling) can assist Which? in its endeavours if only they were involved. I, too, hope the new regime will focus more on members and fritter away less of our subscriptions on badly thought out commercial ventures – such as India and Mortgage Advisers – for which they have seem ill-equipped.

I raised a question at the AGM about how Which? now propose to fulfil the promise made at the last AGM of greater Member involvement, particular since the Members Governance Committee failed to attract any contributions. The reply included the information that they had, now, in fact received a contribution. However, it was a contribution criticising the need for anyone making a contribution needing 24 other Ordinary Members written support.

I’m equally concerned with Members being welcome to interact with Which?’s in its normal business. A real time dialogue with Which? staff, particularly in Convos, would be much appreciated but, despite promises, does not often happen.

Member

Hey Nigel,

Thanks for your comment. Point taken. But if anything I’m criticising Apple here, not ‘pushing’ them. Colleagues at Which? use a variety of different brands, but I’m an iPhone user so the story is focused on getting an iPhone repaired; I’ve not any experience of how the same process works for Samsung, Huawei etc. Also, the bit about phones with ageing batteries having their processing speeds slowed is specific to Apple, as far as I’m aware.

Perhaps we could get @adam-gillett (not an Apple fan) on here to say something about the repairability of other devices?

Member
DerekP says:
14 January 2019

Thanks Oscar.

I have some limited experience with inexpensive Android phones. mostly Alcatel but some other makes too.

Quite often, usable spare parts are available and can sometimes be used to make economic repairs. But, if, for example, a new screen costs £60 for a phone that only costs £60 to buy new, then repairs are not worthwhile.

I’ve also seen perfectly functional Android devices loose their “smart” capabilities because software support and app downloads are no longer available. When it comes to planned obsolescence via the early withdrawal of software support, Apple might not be the worst offender out there…

Member

My iPhone 5S is about five years old and can still be updated, though probably not for much longer. Replacing the battery is a fiddly job but looks straightforward. With other phones it is necessary to apply heat to the screen and pull it off to be able to replace the battery – not something I would try myself.

Member
DerekP says:
14 January 2019

With cheap Android phones, screens are usually secured by screws and/or demountable sticky tape – and batteries are easily user replaceable – i.e. there won’t be any soldered joints, glued fastenings or funny screws to complicate the process.

Member

Hello!

Oscar is right – anyone who has seen me wrangle with an iPhone will attest that I’m not a fan. I find the experience of using one inefficient, counterintuitive and dated. Apart from a dalliance ten years ago with a sliding device that ran on Windows Mobile (a truly awful experience of constant crashes and slowdowns – not to be confused with Windows Phone, which was just about okay) I have been an Android user and supporter since the early days of Google’s OS – I currently use a OnePlus 5T, which I really like.

For me the decision isn’t just about price (although that is a huge factor) – it’s about the flexibility and customisation available in the software – the fact that it will let me tinker and extend its functionality as I like. And the hardware comes in a multitude of shapes and styles at a much more reasonable price, without demanding that I extend the ecosystem of the phone onto my other devices (no need for iTunes, for example). I appreciate that it’s less secure out of the box, but I’m also technically adept enough to be able to implement my own measures to guarantee privacy and protection.

All of that is rather beside the point here, however. When it comes to repairability, I have to hold my hands up and say that most phones that run Android are truly no better any more, and often worse than Apple’s phones.

There was a brief golden age where Android OEMs tended to keep the back removable and the battery exposed and replaceable by hand, as had been the case back in the days of the Nokia 3310 and similar simple phones – while Apple had already moved to a sealed unibody design. In this period I owned a Samsung Galaxy S3, and often carried two charged spare batteries with me on hikes or weekend trips – the ability to go from zero charge to fully charged with a few seconds’ work is still something I remember with fondness.

That period really came to an end around five years ago. One justification might be that the increased efficiency of phone hardware gives the battery a much longer life – they run cooler and use less power, so the battery cycles and physical wear and tear are greatly reduced. Another factor is quick charging technology, which has come a long way and can now be almost as good as a battery swap in daily use. But the greatest driver, to my mind, is an effort by Android phone manufacturers to compete with Apple for ‘premium’ customers. Android devices are just as capable as Apple ones, but have often been made with cheaper materials (i.e. flexible plastic backs). This failed to attract people wanting a device that was just as much for show as function. The materials also weren’t the most efficient for cooling a device without fans, something which bears noting in an age where high performance 3D gaming on mobile is a reality. A metal or glass unibody/shiny look is just more monolithic and seamless, and hence more attractive to some eyes.

This trend is also very visible in laptop manufacturing, where (often in the name of thermal efficiency/compatibility) RAM and storage are now frequently soldered to the motherboard and a huge number of devices are extremely hard to open, use proprietary screws or come with ‘tamper’-proofing and BIOS whitelists which prevent users from expanding and extending devices. Apple has actually got particularly bad for this in the laptop realm, even while it has improved the repairability of its phones.

Personally, I would take repairability over premium materials – I wouldn’t buy a laptop unless I could expand it, upgrade the wireless card/memory/storage, and I take the same approach to phones. It’s still true that some Android phones are easier to repair than iPhones. But there is a definite trend towards the same approach of soldered and encased components that should definitely be easier to access. I really wish Android phone manufacturers would go back to leading the way – if they support customisation and open source in software, I believe they should do so in hardware. I’d also like to see the option to trade a larger battery for a slightly thicker phone – devices have got so thin now that a few thousand mAh extra for a millimetre or two would be worth it for me.

I’m glad Apple is providing cheaper support to replace batteries and has loosened its grip on third party screen replacements, but I don’t think they’re likely to go much further, given their model (and there are still lots of things about repairing Apple devices that aren’t great). I think it’s time more Android manufacturers worked with IFixit and others to take back the crown, both for repairability and for recyclable and upgradeable components. Phones that don’t require a heat gun, spudger, guitar picks and star-head screw bits to open, and which can stand on performance and flexibility alone. The niche of users may be slim, but we’re waiting!

That’s my two cents, anyway…

Member

As individuals we cannot simply vote with our feet and search out products that are readily repairable and upgradable if they do not exist. On the other hand, Which? could start a campaign.

Member

There is a European move towards durability and repairability under the EU supported by ANEC / BEUC. It is starting, I believe, with refrigeration appliances, dishwashers and washing machine/dryers. I hope Which? is a part of this.

One mistake I believe they are making is a requirement for compulsory 5 year guarantees. While that may look good at first sight for,say, fridges that are essentially working continuously, washing machines and dishwashers, like many appliances, are used intermittently and subject to greater or lesser usage depending upon the household size and needs. I suggest these need guarantees based on cycles / time in use, not a fixed term of years,to be fair to both user and manufacturer but with a 5 year limit.

Long guarantees are likely to impact most heavily on the manufacturers of cheap appliances, and their less-well-off purchasers who, inevitably, will find prices increasing to cover the cost of in-guarantee repairs or for the inclusion of better quality components. Will they want that? What about very low users, holiday home owners and others who use an appliance relatively little and for whom a cheap appliance may well be adequate? On balance I’m more in favour of better quality appliances than in satisfying that market.

A 5 year guarantee will see more failures due to neglect and abuse and owners making a claim must expect the supplier to be quite careful in deciding whether a claim is valid or not. Paying up front for a repairer’s visit, refundable if the claim is sustained, seems a way to deal with that but repairers may face some hostility 🙁 when they give an unwelcome verdict.

Member

“Campaigns” are generally based on a very very small proportion of the population, and in Which?s case if based on members, maybe not representative.

Member

I’ve frequently advocated a minimum of a five year guarantee for white goods and other major appliances. If manufacturers want to put a limit on usage/number of cycles, then that information can be provided at the time of sale, in the same way that a car guarantee is often for a fixed number of years or miles, whichever comes first. We must move forward to prevent waste.

This Convo is about replacement of phone batteries. Although phone contracts that include a phone is the main driver for replacing phones, the cost and inconvenience of replacing batteries is another factor.

Member

Hopefully we will have a Convo that also deals constructively with repairability and durability in general. The problem is far wider than iPhones. https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/iphone-battery-replaced-power/#comment-1556005

Member

When the battery in my iPhone needs replacing, I will go to the Apple shop (about 3 miles away), and let them deal with it. At least I will know it has the correct battery etc., and fitted properly!

Member

The reduced price by Apple for its batteries ends now according to Business Insider , brought in to counter people leaving Apple because the public thought they were throttling old phones to help sell new ones .
This is a US report but I dont see the UK base overruling its headquarters giving UK citizens cheaper batteries than US citizens –unless you know different ?-quote-

The most important part of Apple’s informational letter was an offer toward the end: Apple said it would reduce the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement to $29 from $79 “for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, available worldwide through December 2018.”

And so if you own an iPhone 6, an iPhone 6s, an iPhone 7, or any other phones made after that and are experiencing battery issues — maybe it’s draining faster than it used to — head to an Apple Store before December 31.

It also seems the number of apps running in the background isn’t helping the battery drainage situation .

Meanwhile China Apple,s biggest market is switching to home produced Heuwei phones which are not only much cheaper but have the latest new apps –this is worrying the NYSE.
Of course we are all “know ” they are full of spy devices –dont we ?
Reminds me of “fuel security ” which isn’t about politics but the globalisation battle.

Member
DerekP says:
13 January 2019

Interesting news – thanks Duncan. Perhaps Tim Cook is setting out to do for Apple, what Steve Ballmer did for Microsoft.

Twenty years from now, I bet we’ll all be happily using our Huawei devices and trying to remember Apple and Microsoft devices, along with Spectrum’s and Beeb’s and Amigas and so on.

Member

Thanks Duncan, but if the offer was until December 2018 .. we have missed the boat (or battery!).

Member

A yes, Steve Ballmer. This reminds me of the fine line between genius and insanity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I14b-C67EXY

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DerekP says:
13 January 2019

OMG! ROTFLMAO!

Member

I was mildly bemused and surprised it didn’t end with a cardiac arrest.

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DerekP says:
13 January 2019

Ian, I’m guessing you’ve not often or ever had to attend that kind of company meeting…

Member

You guess right, Derek. Seems quite bizarre…

Member

Hey,

Just checked and, yep, you’re right Duncan: the price was £25 until December 31 – and has now jumped to £45 (or £65 for iPhone X models).

Member

Again backing up what malcolm said in relation to waterproof-v- battery replaceability the new iPhone Xr
has in its spec-quote-
iPhone Xr is splash, water and dust resistant and was tested under controlled laboratory conditions with a rating of IP67 under IEC standard 60529 (maximum depth of 1 metre up to 30 minutes). Splash, water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear. Do not attempt to charge a wet iPhone; refer to the user guide for cleaning and drying instructions. Liquid damage not covered under warranty.
Note-
Qi wireless chargers sold separately.
* £499 reflects price of iPhone Xr after trade-in of iPhone 7 Plus 32GB. Additional trade-in values available at Apple Stores only for a limited time and require purchase of a new iPhone, subject to availability and limits. Trade-in values vary based on the condition, year and configuration of your trade-in device. You must be at least 18 years old. In-store trade-in requires presentation of a valid photo ID. Additional terms from Apple or Apple’s trade-in partner may apply.
Siri-restaurant reservations are not available in the UK.

Member
DerekP says:
13 January 2019

Jolly good. I’m posting this from my Lenovo Model B, which has has also demonstrated some resistance to dust and water ingress, has user replaceable batteries and cost all of £25 brand new.

Member

Scratching my head – agree with malcom -get marked down , somebody not like malcolm ?

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DerekP says:
13 January 2019

I’ve reversed that out for you.

Member

Merci beaucoup Derek !

Member

I’m puzzled by this, what does it mean – is it a correction of a misplaced ‘thumbs down’ or…….?

Member

Nwithyman – I posted a comment agreeing with malcolm on replaceable iPhone batteries lowering the ability to waterproof their phones and even quoted from Apples own website .
It must have been either somebody “not happy ” with malcolm or somebody that doesn’t like Apple and thought I was advertising them.
As everybody knows I am not a fan of Apple and I only posted their advertising to show that their products are really only “splash-proof ” not waterproof as they use the well though out advertising excuse of “resistant ” used many times in the old days in regards to mechanical watches .
Waterproof is a UK Standard all of its own and requires a high spec.

Member

Waterproof has no official meaning. Protection against ingress of water has to be linked to the specific condition meant – for example protection against splashed water (IPX4), temporary immersion up to 1m (IPX7), continuous immersion under agreed conditions (IPX8). Tests are all defined in BS EN 60529.

Member

Thanks for that malcolm I was always under the impression many decades ago when so called “waterproof ” Swiss watches turned out to be not waterproof that there was an industry standard for it .
Bit confused malcolm this US website -ATLabs testing gives the definition in Standards on the words- Waterproofing & Waterproof giving examples – IP 65-IP66-IP67-any comment ?-
https://www.atslab.com/environmental-testing/waterproof-testing.php

Or how about a British company ?-BS EN 60529:1989- IP 68 that looks pretty “waterproof “.-

https://www.rainfordsolutions.com/ip-enclosure-ratings-and-standards

Member

The EN standard gives the correct wording and tests.

Member
Angie B says:
14 January 2019

I have always been told that the battery could not be replaced in an iphone. That my only option was to upgrade every 2 years. Please confirm that all models can have replacement batteries installed.

Member

Hi Angie,

On their website Apple say they can repair the following models:

iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and ‘other eligible models’.

What model do you have?

Oscar

Member

Instead of the weak willed anti public NGO.s in this country and their apologists here is how its done in the Home of Capitalism where the “small guy ” still has some backing from his own government-
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmqa49/washington-right-to-repair-iphone-cpu-throttling

And for those wanting to replace the batteries themselves a step by step diagram from the “lovers ” of MS who booted me off their forum.-
https://www.howtogeek.com/340270/how-difficult-is-it-to-replace-an-iphone-battery/

Member

I thought this was interesting to see – people are holding on to smartphones for longer: https://www.economist.com/business/2019/01/12/apple-succumbs-to-the-smartphone-malaise

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This is hardly surprising because the advance in technology has slowed and having the latest phone seems to be less of a status symbol. Not so many years ago, few would have believed that it would be possible to take very respectable photos with a phone.

Member

Mine is probably ten years old now and I was able to buy a new battery for it a few years ago. This is still holding its charge and the phone with its touch screen is working well and is internet capable should I so wish. It has a real keyboard. Why change?

Member

You probably have no reason to change, Vynor, but in the same way that a box of the 100 best classics would not satisfy your listening pleasure, an older phone is of limited use to many people who make considerable use of their smartphones and their capabilities.

Member

VynorHill, if it does all you need then why change? I agree,. Many are driven by new novelties that they didn’t know they needed and probably don’t. Others find apps more useful than they imagined, but not essential. As a family we use whatsapp for instant messaging and pictures – it works fine on my old Samsung. I miss a real keyboard; the onscreen one is not for human fingers.

Member

There have been a number of Conversations about apps, but, strangely, most of them are rarely used. Many people take pictures, but at least as many probably don’t. Playing music, using the internet, or watching films on a phone are possibly also minority interests. If I had not lost my old mobile phone, which did nothing much more than phone calls and text messages, I would have been perfectly happy to keep it until it died naturally.

I would guess that the biggest use of mobile phones is for interrupting people going about their daily lives and wasting their time with inessential conversations. I support the right of people to do that, of course, but it’s not my idea of a good time.

Member

Can anyone say whether the replacement of the battery would speed up any phone or is it just Apple phones?
I have a Nexus 6 (Google) which will be 4 years old in Feb and it has slowed up quite dramatically of late. With the help of You Tube I’m willing to have a go at the battery replacement but want to expect some return for my effort.
If the answer is No then I’ll go with my new Nokia 8.
It would be nice to have the Nexus as a back-up.

Member

It is a fact of engineering life that old phones have less powerful processors and unless somebody has invented perpetual energy transfer speed is relative to the processing power of the CPU just like a computer .
New apps might slow down old phones or dont have the processing power to make them work .
Also Apple use smaller batteries which look nice and slim but dont last as long as other systems .
For Wavechange and others -beware its technical ! –
https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

And slightly less technical –
https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa16/2016/11/28/why-do-phone-batteries-die/

So the answer to your question Alec is yes a new battery will make a difference , make sure though that its at least the same amp/hour or better than the one being replaced OR pay more for a quality make with near the same amperage.
ifixit website has replacement instructions .
In the US a replacement battery (genuine ) is 20 bucks .
A Nexus battery is 3220mAhour given a good write up.

Member
DerekP says:
15 January 2019

Alec,

Overall, I doubt that a new battery alone will radically speed up your old phone.

I didn’t remember seeing any suggestions that other phone manufacturers are deliberately slowing down old phones, but then I found these articles:

theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/24/apple-samsung-fined-for-slowing-down-phones

signalbooster.com/blogs/news/do-smartphone-manufacturers-purposely-slow-down-your-old-phone

As noted in those articles, upgrades and apps developed for newer, faster phones may not run so well on older hardware.

You might also find that it helps to give your old phone a good spring clean by doing a full factory reset gets rids of unwanted apps and parasitic bloatware. If you do this, make sure all your personal data is backed up first – and that you know how to restore it afterwards. (If you already back all you data up to Google’s cloud, this should be relatively easy to do.)

As I mostly only use cheap Android phone with limited storage and processing power, I find that I do need to limit the number of apps that I install. I also regularly close down all my apps to maximise the phone’s free RAM.

Member

Over the Christmas holidays my phone battery required frequent charging. I have now disposed unwanted photos, deleted unused apps and turned off those I’m unlikely to need for a while. The battery is back to powering the phone for more than a day on a charge, so I will postpone replacing the battery for the time being.