Apple replaced my iPhone 11 battery free of charge. My warranty was already expired.

Important battery message

Recalibration of the battery health reporting system was not successful. An Apple authorised service provider can replace the battery free of charge to restore full performance and capacity.

The text you see above. I had that one on my screen. My battery went from healthy to service after the IOS 14.5 update. Health capacity went from 91 percent to 94 percent. My battery got a higher capacity but went in service mode. What’s going here?

IOS 14.5 update

I have an iPhone 11. Maybe I’m brainwashed. But for me, this is the best phone for all my needs. It has enough energy to get through the whole day, the phone never shows any slowness and the cameras are good. They have even changed my holidays. I leave my normal cameras at home. I don’t even bring a power bank with me anymore.

The IOS 14.5 update came out on 26 April 2021. It’s was already hyped in the media for some week. It would support the new Airtags. It will tighten the privacy settings for apps and it will recalibrate the batteries for iPhone 11 users.

Yes. It was in the news. The IOS 14.5 will recalibrate the battery of all iPhone 11 users. Why? The support article (PDF) from Apple mentions the next text:

iOS 14.5 includes an update where the battery health reporting system will recalibrate maximum battery capacity* and peak performance capability on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate estimates of battery health reporting for some users. Symptoms of this bug include unexpected battery drain behavior or, in a small number of instances, reduced peak performance capability. This inaccurate battery health reporting does not reflect an issue with actual battery health.

I didn’t have any problems with my battery. I bought my phone in November 2019. As of April 2021, my iPhone reported that my battery had 91 percent health left. In my opinion, this is perfectly normal if you are using the phone normally. I installed 26 April this big update.

Problems

On 9 May the calibration was completed. There was an important battery message. My calibration was not successful. But somehow the maximum capacity (health) went from 91 percent to 94 percent. Something went wrong but I got more capacity. Okay.

The “more about service options” brings you to a support page where you can make an appointment with an Apple Authorised Service Provider (AASP for short) for a battery replacement. Here I had to take my first obstacle. All the AASPs didn’t have any free time slots to make an appointment. There wasn’t a free opening in the whole week. I tried it for a full week, but there wasn’t a free slot. Maybe I’m not the only one who needs a battery replacement? I gave up. The phone is still working fine.

A few weeks later I got weird messages. My phone asked me to go to low-energy mode because I had only 10 percent battery charge left. To have the same message one hour later that my phone was offering a low-power mode because I had 20 percent left. Normally I get the 20 percent question first and then the ten percent question. Not the other way around. This doesn’t feel right.

Then it hits me. Free of charge is so not Apple. You need at least a class action lawsuit or some exploding phones before Apple starts to replace batteries free of charge. Attorney 101 tells that companies will never admit that something is wrong. They keep it quiet or you solve it without making a big buzz about it. I need to replace my battery as soon as possible. Before it becomes a bigger problem or Apple makes that message magical disappear from my phone’s screen.

Apple Authorised Service Provider

Because of the covid19 I have all the time in the world. I used the link on the battery screen to find the nearest AASP in Ho Chi Minh City. Time to visit them. If I only knew I would spend from 14:20 till 17:40 in a waiting room that afternoon………..

Vietcomindo Apple Authorised Service Provider Ho Chi Minh

The helpful lady accepted my phone and ran a hardware test. The phone is good except for the battery. (DUH!) Before she can help me I had to give them my passport. I was a little bit annoyed. Why does Apple need to see my passport? They are always hammering on privacy etc. But this wasn’t Apple’s policy. But the AASP’s policy. After I had supplied my passport information she was handing me a receipt.

What is that receipt for I asked? She replied that replacing an iPhone 11 battery costs 90 US dollars. I showed her my phone again. The messages said clearly that the replacement is free of charge. Maybe they aren’t an official Apple Authorised Service Provider. The lady took another look in the system but she couldn’t find the replacement code or the repair program. The system didn’t have any entries about this subject. Apple has a replacement program that was not on their system.

She gave me a phone number which I could call. It’s the Apple service line.

The Applecare Technical Support

The Applecare Technical Support is the most advanced and futuristic helpdesk I have ever called. It knows your products. It will show an popup on your phone to confirm it really you who is calling.

The technical support was not ready for my question. They had never heard about my messages on my phone. I was transfered to a second-line expert. This support employee needed to do more research. He asked if I could send him a screenshot of my battery screen. I got an automatic e-mail from Apple with a link that I could use to upload the screenshot.

How hard I tried. I couldn’t use the Apple Technical support website to upload my screenshot. I tried it with a wifi connection or with a 4G connection. Finally after I had restarted the phone I could upload Apple’s own message.

Now, it was time to make a second phone call to Apple’s Applecare Technical Support. I was transferred to an expert in the Philippines. She started to research my message. It took a long time and she was assuring me that everything would be resolved. She had to make the correct ticket in the system so that the AASP in Saigon would get the correct code to replace the battery in my phone. I’m grateful for help of that lady because after the phonecall it was on the AASP’s screen.

Final verdict

I saw my phone taken to a backroom. It took 40 minutes for them to replace the battery. My phone returned. My battery messages was gone. The battery maximum capacity was 100 percent. The only cost I had was the investment in a new screen protector. The old one had to be removed for the battery replacement.

After spending so much time in the AASP I have the feeling that Apple wasn’t really willing to help me. There are too many obstakels to get the new battery

  1. Not possible to make an online appointment with the link on the battery message screen.
  2. The AASP wasn’t informed about this program
  3. The Applecare technical support helpdesk employees weren’t familiar with this program
  4. The special apple website for uploading the files didn’t work right away
  5. The time I had to spend to get the battery replaced. I was in the waiting room for 3 hours and 20 minutes. Lucky for me I had enough reading material with me.

It felt like an episode of the series “House of lies”. A group of management consultants has written the scenario to assure the public that there aren’t any problems. But if you want to solve it you have to sacrifice your time to get it solved. They are hoping people won’t have the patience enough and they will just pay for a new battery. But then they haven’t met me.

I have a new battery.

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