When Apple promised to replace old iPhone batteries for $29 after its slowdown debacle, there was always going to be a queue for new parts. Well, for owners of the iPhone 6 Plus, the queue will likely be a bit longer than expected. According to internal documents seen by MacRumors, Apple wont have batteries in stock for the 2014 device until late March to early April. Wait times for replacement batteries have understandably fluctuated as Apple adapts to this unexpected increase in demand. When the $29 replacement offer was first made in December, the company said the batteries would be available in late January, before updating that timeframe later in the month to available right away. Now, in an internal document distributed to Apple stores and authorized service providers, we have the latest estimates for wait times. As per MacRumors write-up, that means approximately two weeks for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s Plus; a late March to early April date for the iPhone 6 Plus; and batteries for the iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE will be, in Apples own words, available without extended delays. Whatever that means. These estimates are for the US, and there are likely to be regional variations across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Weve contacted Apple to try to confirm times. Apple first made the offer for $29 battery replacements last December, after benchmark tests showed significant slowdowns in old devices after they received the latest software updates. Although this finding seemed to confirm the Apple slows old iPhones meme, the company said this throttling was needed to compensate for the (unavoidable) degraded performance of old batteries. In other words, Apple decided on behalf of its customers that theyd prefer an iPhone that performed worse for the same amount of time, than an iPhone that performed just as well for a shorter amount of time. Its a decision that does nothing to dispel the characterization of Apple as a company that does what it can to push customers into buying new phones. But at least now you can get a $29 mea culpa from Apple — even if you have to wait for it.
6 Plus battery supply is limited, but other models are still mostly on schedule. When Reddit users and a Geekbench developer discovered and shared that Apple's approach to mitigating the aging of batteries is partly responsible for the gradual performance degradation that iPhone users have sometimes experienced, Apple made an effort to explain its choices. The company promised to add software features to give users "more visibility into the health of their iPhones battery" and offered a discounted battery replacement program: new batteries for affected devices will be just $29 through the end of 2018. That means users could reclaim some of that performance. However, an Apple Store memo obtained by MacRumors suggests that owners of the iPhone 6 Plus in some regions (including the US) will have to wait until March or April to replace their batteries. According to MacRumors' report, Apple believes its supply of batteries for these devices will not meet demand in the beginning of the year. Other models are not expected to see such significant delays. For example, the iPhone 6 and 6S Plus are expected to take around two weeks to become available to customers who purchase them, and batteries for all other affected iPhone models should have a quick turnaround time. The revelation that Apple deployed software updates to throttle performance on some iPhones in order to maintain battery life as the battery degrades angered many consumers. They suspected Apple had done so to deliberately shorten the life of devices to encourage upgrades. Lawsuits and government questioning arose. Apple denied this consumer suspicion, saying: First and foremost, we have never—and would never—do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. In addition to offering discounted battery upgrades and promising a software upgrade to add more transparency to its approach, Apple said it will provide batteries at the discounted rate even if the batteries to be replaced appear healthy in its Genius Bar tests. iPhone owners have until December 31, 2018 to upgrade their batteries at the reduced cost. After that, the cost will return to $79. So even with the delay, there's plenty of time. But if your iPhone 6 Plus is running slowly, you'll have to deal with it a little bit longer.