Not to be confused with the recent iPhone battery issues that have made headlines, owners of specific iPhone 6s models who have experienced unexpected battery loss or shutdown issues can get a new battery for free.
First off, this is just for iPhone 6s owners, whose model numbers match devices within a limited serial number range that were manufactured between September and October 2015. As Apple says – it’s not a safety issue, nor is it connected to the deliberate battery slow down that you may have read about. Lastly, you do NOT need AppleCare to qualify for this repair.
The bug happens something like this: You’ll be using a relatively well-charged iPhone 6s, and then out of nowhere (often when using cellular connection) the phone will shut off completely. Plugging the phone in to charge then often shows the battery below 10%, but after a few minutes charging jumps back up to where you were before.
My personal experience has been that this is a very rare event; in the two years I’ve had the phone, it’s happened less than five times. What is often the case, though, is the iPhone 6s saying it has lots of charge (above 70%) and then when using an intensive app – such as Google Maps over mobile data – the battery indicator rapidly decreasing far quicker than it should. The final straw was making a FaceTime call with ~80% battery only for the iPhone to switch off after two minutes.
It had been on my long list to get the free replacement battery for a while, and with the sudden onset of people wanting the regular battery replacement at the discounted price of £25, I thought I’d best get in before the rush.
Booking your repair
Before anything else, confirm that your iPhone 6s is eligible for a free battery replacement by entering the serial number on Apple’s official support page.
From there you can book an appointment at your local Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. If you use the official link above it will automatically register the battery replacement as your issue.
Top Tip: It’s worthing noting that Apple may not have any correct batteries in stock when you visit, so be prepared that it might take two trips.
Before your appointment
Apple’s official advice is as follows:
To prepare your iPhone 6s for the battery replacement process, please follow the steps below:
- Back up your data to iTunes or iCloud.
- Turn off Find my iPhone
- Erase data and settings in Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings
The first two points are crucial – they won’t repair your phone without this. It’s common practice, however, that you won’t need to do the third point of erasing all your data. It’s an unnecessary risk, inconvenient, and, if they are insistent, could always be done in-store on the day.
- They will need your passcode. If you aren’t happy sharing your normal one, temporarily change it to something else.
- Make sure you know your Apple ID password (note: this may be different from your iTunes/App Store password).
- Take ID with you – you will need it to collect your iPhone once repaired.
At the Apple Store
There’s no doubting Apple Stores can be a daunting place – there’s no tills, no queueing system, and a definite sense of bewilderment for some people.
The first thing you need to know is that Apple’s idea of appointments is very loose. While you may have booked a time slot, they are notorious at not keeping to them, so be prepared to wait.
On arriving you can use the Apple Store iPhone app to check-in (there’s free Wi-Fi in every Apple Store if you need it), but in practice it’s a lot easier to ask a staff member. You might have heard these referred to as ‘Apple Geniuses’ with distinctive blue shirts, although depending on the store and time of year they might not be so obvious to spot. Each store has a dedicated ‘Genius Bar’ which is good place to wait by if you aren’t sure.
Once checked-in you will be assigned a staff member who will analyse your iPhone before its taken away for repair. The first step will be to confirm the issue verbally. Try to be concise at this point and mention the iPhone 6s shutdown issue from the start.
(Side note: My Apple support employee was excellent, but automatically started his spiel about the new battery revelations, assuming I was one of the usual panicked/confused customers. They are currently receiving a huge amount of people with various levels of limited knowledge demanding their batteries be replaced, often for wanting it for free. I had to cut him off and explain it was the iPhone 6s specific issue, something which is much rarer for them to see these days.)
Next they will, of course, check again that your serial number matches the iPhone 6s Program for Unexpected Shutdown Issues programme. Once this is verified, they will connect your iPhone 6s to their iPad and use Apple’s special battery diagnostics analysis tool to check the state of your battery. If you’ve been using the iPhone regularly for the past couple of years, it will almost certainly be well below the 100% capacity rate.
Top Tip: Do remember that free battery replacement programme is specifically for shutdown issues; if you haven’t been experiencing them but are still trying to claim a free battery there is every chance they will use the battery analysis tool to prove it’s unnecessary.
Once it’s confirmed you are eligible and your iPhone needs repair, they will check the current wait time – it’s likely to be at least two hours, but could be longer – and give you a slot in which to return to collect the phone. Your iPhone will then be assessed for any visible damage, and then be shut down and sealed in a protective case and locked shut with a tamper-proof barcoded label.
You will receive a duplicate of this label in case you need it when you pick up the phone later. They will also confirm how you wish to be identified on collection – by far the easiest is by ID, but there are are other options if necessary.
Collecting your iPhone
The simple bit. On returning to the Apple Store, find another Genius and say you are collecting a repair. They will look you up on the system, check your ID, and pop out the back to get your iPhone. You will be asked to check it over at that point, turn it on and enter your passcode. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
Top Tip: Due to a storage rule about batteries, Apple aren’t allowed to recharge the new ones on the shelf, meaning your ‘new’ battery may well be very low on charge when you first switch it back on – mine was returned with 4% power. If you are desperate for charge, they should be more than happy for you to charge it in-store with their chargers until you are good to go.