Apple Announces iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program
Eric Hopton for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Apple has confirmed that a number of iPhone 5 devices have been sold with defective batteries. The company is offering to provide a free replacement battery for those affected, but only where certain conditions are met. Any customers who bought an iPhone 5 between September 2012 and January 2013 may be eligible for the replacement.
Most people would accept that actual battery performance is unpredictable but often falls short of the battery life that manufacturers advertise for many devices, including phones and laptops. As a guide, however, PC Magazine last year gave Apple’s own estimated battery life figures. The 5s “should get an average of 10 hours of talk time on 3G, up to 250 hours on standby, 8 hours of internet use on 3G, and up to 10 hours on LTE and Wi-Fi.”
In their October 2013 article, PC Magazine reported that Apple had acknowledged a small batch of iPhone 5s devices were shipped with a fault which resulted in battery problems. Manufacturing issues were blamed for the reported rapid battery drain. In this instance Apple replaced the phones where necessary.
The current problem only affects a “very small percentage” of phones. Only devices within a limited serial number range are eligible for the replacement. Apple has provided a serial number checker for those who think their iPhone 5 may be affected by shorter battery life or need charging more frequently than would normally be expected. Where users have paid for replacement batteries and fulfill the eligibility criteria, they will be able to apply to Apple for a refund of the cost of the new battery.
Crucially, Apple also stresses on the same page that the phones must be “in working order” and states “If your iPhone 5 has any damage such as a cracked screen which impairs the replacement, that issue will need to be resolved before the replacement of the battery. In some cases there may be a cost associated with the repair.”
Another limitation imposed by Apple is that the program “doesn’t extend the standard warranty coverage of the iPhone 5.” This means that replacements are only offered for up to 2 years from the date of purchase or until March 1 2015, whichever is longest.
Three service options are offered where repair is needed. Users can contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider here, take the phone to an Apple Retail Store (appointments can be made here), or contact Apple Technical Support.
Before using any of these options Apple recommends that you back up your data to iTunes or iCloud, turn off Find my iPhone, and erase data and settings – Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings.
The battery replacement process was available from August 22 in the US and China and will roll out in other countries by August 29. International users should be aware that Apple “may restrict or limit repair to the original country of purchase.” PC Magazine reporter Stephanie Mlot recommends that international users contact Apple for clarification before applying for a repair.
With the March 2015 date restriction on repairs, the caveat on devices needing to be in working order, and Apple’s statement that repair will not extend the warranty period, a lot of affected iPhone 5 owners may not jump at the repair option. Some may take advantage of current knock-down offers on iPhone 5 or even prefer to wait for the eagerly awaited iPhone 6.
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