What you need to know

  • Apple's mobile software allegedly activates dormant software to lock iPhone batteries.
  • The software will show a "service" message even on brand new batteries.
  • The only way to get rid of the message is to get a repair performed through Apple or an authorized repair service.

According to a report from iFixit, Apple is disabling access to battery health data when battery replacements aren't performed by Apple or an authorized dealer.

Apparently, when a brand new battery is swapped for one that has degraded, Apple's software will show a "service" message in the settings. The message appears even when a genuine Apple battery is used.

It's not a bug; it's a feature Apple wants. Unless an Apple Genius or an Apple Authorized Service Provider authenticates a battery to the phone, that phone will never show its battery health and always report a vague, ominous problem.

iFixit's report verifies an earlier claim from The Art of Repair, who said the message currently shows up in iOS 12 and iOS 13 on iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max.

While Apple is seemingly blocking access to battery health information, your battery replacement will work; iFixit said it confirmed performance isn't throttled. You just won't be able to see when it's time to replace your new battery.

The practice essentially discourages people from replacing their own battery, forcing users to pay Apple or an authorized service provider.

"You bought it, you own it, you should be able to fix it," iFixit writes. "It's that simple. Pairing batteries to iPhones is a gross overreach. It's yet another instance of purchasing a product, and not being able to fully utilize it—like leasing a car, except you're paying full price for it."