When it comes to describing Apple products, “easy to repair” is not a sentiment you’d typically find on the web. Between the use of specialized parts, adhesive glue, and patented screws, Apple makes it a hassle — even dangerous sometimes — to disassemble its offerings. It’s not to say that they’re poorly made. Far from it, in fact. But it can’t be denied that Apple would rather have you visit the Genius Bar for support than work on your iPhone in your garage.
This line of thinking on Apple’s part has only grown with time, with a recent update to iOS being the clearest example of the company’s anti-DIY stance. Previously, if you installed a third-party battery in your iPhone, your device would alert you that its health cannot be verified. Now, on the latest version of iOS, you’ll get the same message with a genuine battery, too.
While the Genius Bar is still a great resource for Apple customers to get support for the products they own, this new notification is an unusual step for Apple to take. Does the company only want customers to visit Apple Stores for repairs? Based on the evidence, it sure seems that way.
An unusual message
The self-repair gurus of the popular iFixit website have discovered an unusual notification that seems to crop up when a user installs a new battery in an iPhone. The notification is only seen when a user attempts to check the battery health in the Settings application and replaces any information that users would normally see about the charge cycles of their battery.
“Important Battery Message
Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery. Health information not available for this battery.”
This message isn’t anything new for iFixit since it previously appeared any time a third-party battery was installed on an iPhone. Apple is notoriously protective of its engineering, and installing third-party equipment in its devices is often enough to totally void the warranty.
This has led DIY repair specialists to be especially cautious when altering an iPhone and helped create a booming online marketplace for genuine Apple parts.
But this alert isn’t only appearing for third-party batteries anymore. Now, any time a user self-installs a battery into an iPhone, they’ll see this notification and be unable to read the health of their new power supply. This means that if you want a battery repaired, you’ll have to pay the Genius Bar at an Apple Retail Store to do it for you.
This comes as a major shock and disappointment for DIY repair experts, as it seemed like Apple had been loosening restrictions on user-repair up to this point. Back in March, the company began servicing phones with third-party batteries installed when it had previously denied them warranty coverage.
Is DIY now MIA?
Apple has been open about its dissatisfaction with the emerging “right to repair” movement, which proposes that users should have the right to do as they see fit with products they pay for. A bill was even proposed in the state of California that would require tech companies to release schematics and repair guides for anyone who wants to try their hand at fixing their own phone.
Apple has fought this legislation fiercely with the help of lobbyists, and has warned consumers that self-repair leads to injury — citing burns from a punctured battery as an example of the dangers users face.
This updated notification should be taken as a sign of where things are likely headed for Apple’s products. The fact that it is simultaneously blocking users from self repair while accepting phones with third-party batteries leads one to believe that it would prefer to reverse any DIY “damage” that’s been done to its products.
Why it wants customers to visit its retail outlets over a local repair shop is unknown, but I think it’s safe to say that third-party repair shops don’t offer additional new Apple products or phone upgrades.
When you visit an Apple Store, they’re banking on you doing more than just visiting the Genius Bar counter. Otherwise, why would support services be free in the first place? But hey, that’s just business for you!