Tuesday January 30, 2018 9:43 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple is continuing to face scrutiny over the power management features it introduced in older iPhones last year, with the U.S Department of Justice and the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission launching an investigation into the company, reports Bloomberg.
The DoJ and the SEC are aiming to determine whether Apple violated security laws "concerning its disclosures" when it launched an iOS 10.2.1 update that throttled some older iPhones with degraded batteries in order to prevent unexpected device shutdowns.
According to Bloomberg's sources, the government recently requested information from Apple and the investigation is in the early stages.
Apple in iOS 10.2.1 introduced a new power management feature to address complaints of unexpected shutdowns in iPhone 6 and 6s iPhones. The shutdowns were caused by batteries below optimal health drawing too much power.
At the time, Apple did not make it clear that to solve the issue, it was throttling the iPhone's processor at times of peak usage to limit power draw, and that lack of information has led to the company's current predicament.
Apple has since apologized and made reparations in the form of a new no-questions-asked discounted battery replacement program available to customers who have an iPhone 6 and newer, and the company is planning to introduce much more detailed battery information in an upcoming iOS 11.3 update. iOS 11.3 will let customers know when their iPhones are being throttled due to battery degradation, and it will also allow them to opt out of the power management features.
Despite these efforts, Apple is still facing the aforementioned lawsuits and in addition to the U.S. investigation, the company will need to deal with inquiries in other countries including China, Italy, South Korea, France, Brazil, and more.
Wednesday January 24, 2018 4:42 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple today announced that iOS 11.3 will provide users with an iPhone 6 or newer with more information about the health of their device's battery, including a recommendation if it needs to be serviced. In the same menu, it will also be possible to see if Apple's power management feature is active and turn it off.
Apple is delivering on its promise to provide iPhone users with more visibility about battery health as part of an apology over its lack of transparency about power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1. Apple is also delivering on its promise of allowing users to disable the feature, although it doesn't recommend it.
MacRumors put together a list of frequently asked questions about Apple's power management changes for those looking for more information.
The first beta of iOS 11.3 will be seeded to developers later today, followed by a public beta soon. The software update will be released to the public this spring for iPhone 5s and newer, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, the fifth-generation iPad, iPad mini 2 and newer, and the sixth-generation iPod touch.
Apple says the battery and power management features will be coming in a later iOS 11.3 beta release, so they won't be available today. The option to turn off the power management feature will be available on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE.
Friday January 19, 2018 11:57 am PST by Joe Rossignol
If you have a damaged iPhone 6 Plus that qualifies for a whole-device replacement, Apple may replace it with an iPhone 6s Plus through March, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers today.
Apple specifically states that "orders for whole unit service inventory of some iPhone 6 Plus models may be substituted to an iPhone 6s Plus until the end of March 2018." MacRumors confirmed the memo's authenticity with multiple sources, who requested to remain anonymous due to their positions.
A previous internal document obtained by MacRumors states that Apple no longer manufactures the iPhone 6 Plus, so it likely has to reboot its production lines to replenish its supply of both the device itself and batteries, which would certainly take time. Apple did not respond to our request for comment.
It's possible that some customers who have visited a Genius Bar recently opted for a whole-device replacement rather than waiting until March or April for a new battery, which may have depleted the little supply of iPhone 6 Plus replacement units that Apple had, but this is only speculation on our part.
Apple and most Apple Authorized Service Providers can replace an iPhone's display, battery, speakers, rear camera, or Taptic Engine individually, while a defective Lightning connector, faulty logic board, and most other repairs are generally eligible for a whole-device replacement, our source said.
Your mileage may vary depending on the exact damage to your iPhone and the results of Apple's diagnostic tests. Apple Support can be reached on the web or by scheduling a Genius Bar appointment. Apple Authorized Service Providers can be searched for on Apple's Find Locations page under Service & Support.
The lower price, down from $49.99 regularly, is applicable to the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE, subject to battery availability and while supplies last.
Office Depot and OfficeMax promise same-day battery replacements. If the order is not completed by the end of regular store hours, the customer receives a repair discount of $25, according to fine print on its website.
One very important caveat is that Office Depot and OfficeMax are not Apple Authorized Service Providers, meaning their replacement batteries are not supplied by Apple, and having an aftermarket battery installed can void your iPhone's warranty, although iFixit argues that Apple cannot do so under U.S. law.
A spokesperson for Office Depot and OfficeMax informed us that their iPhone batteries are built to Apple's specifications for each iPhone model and added that all of their batteries carry a one-year warranty against defects.
We still highly recommend only having an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider replace your iPhone's battery, but Apple is currently running low on some batteries, and Office Depot and OfficeMax may be an option worth considering for customers with an iPhone that is already past its warranty.
For customers who want to keep things official, read our guide on how to get your iPhone's battery replaced with an appointment at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple also offers a mail-in option.
Thursday January 11, 2018 6:20 am PST by Joe Rossignol
iPhone 6 Plus users hoping to take advantage of Apple's discounted $29 battery replacements may have to wait a few months.
Apple says iPhone 6 Plus replacement batteries are in short supply and won't be available until late March to early April in the United States and other regions, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers this week and later obtained by MacRumors.
Apple's internal document quotes a shorter wait of "approximately two weeks" for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s Plus battery replacements, and adds that batteries for all other models like the iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE are expected to be available "without extended delays" in most countries.
Apple noted that lead times may vary in some regions, including the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Russia, and Turkey.
MacRumors has already received a few emails from readers with an iPhone 6 Plus who were quoted a late March to early April timeframe for the replacement service to be completed at Apple Stores in New York and North Carolina, in line with the information outlined in Apple's document.
A reliable source at an Apple Authorized Service Provider indicated that they recently received a package with dozens of replacement batteries, the majority of which were for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models.
As with any supply-demand situation, availability of replacement batteries will likely vary by location. Keep in mind that many Apple Authorized Service Providers like MacMedics and ComputerCare are able to replace iPhone batteries, so this may be an option worth considering beyond an Apple Store.
A source adds that Apple Authorized Service Providers are permitted to set their own prices for out-of-warranty parts and repairs, so some third-party repair shops are charging more than $29 for battery replacements, even if Apple might not prefer it, to ensure they are being fairly compensated.
Also keep in mind that Apple's discounted rate is available until December 31, 2018, so unless you absolutely need a battery replacement now, you may wish to consider waiting until later in the year to initiate the process.
To get started, read our guide on how to get your iPhone's battery replaced with an appointment at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. There's also a mail-in option, but we've heard that Apple's repair center may only be replacing batteries that fail a diagnostic test, and sending back devices that pass.
French consumer fraud group DGCCRF, part of the country's economy ministry, last week launched a preliminary investigation into Apple over "alleged deception" and "planned obsolescence" of Apple products, reports Reuters.
The investigation follows Apple's admission that it slows down some older iPhones with degraded batteries during times of peak power usage in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.
Apple introduced the power management feature in iOS 10.2.1 following complaints of unexpected shutdowns in the iPhone 6s, but Apple did not make it clear to consumers that it was due to battery deterioration nor did Apple inform customers that it could cause occasional performance slowdowns.
Apple has since apologized for its lack of communication and introduced a new policy that allows iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE owners to receive a one-timeno-questions-asked $29 battery replacement for their devices, as a device with a depleted battery that is affected by throttling will return to normal performance with a battery replacement.
According to Apple, the power management features that prevent unexpected shutdowns by occasionally throttling older iPhones with batteries in bad condition are designed to preserve the life of the iPhone for as long as possible and were not implemented to force upgrades. From Apple:
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. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
Despite Apple's efforts to correct the issue, in addition to the French inquiry, the company is now facing more than two dozen lawsuits accusing it of intentionally slowing down older iPhones and failing to disclose the changes that it introduced in iOS 10.2.1. One of those lawsuits also stems from France, filed by French consumer group "HOP," which translates to "Stop Planned Obsolescence."
The French watchdog's investigation could take months to complete, and based on the findings, the issue could be escalated to a judge for a more in-depth inquiry or dropped all together.
If Apple is found guilty of planned obsolescence in France, the punishment could be a fine of up to five percent of its annual sales.
Monday January 8, 2018 6:33 am PST by Joe Rossignol
iPhone users hoping to double dip on Apple's discounted $29 battery replacements this year may find themselves out of luck.
While we previously confirmed that Apple is offering $29 battery replacements to any customer with an iPhone 6 or newer regardless of diagnostic result, Apple has indicated that this policy can only be taken advantage of once, according to new fine print on its iPhone service pricing page.
In other words, after you've had your iPhone's battery replaced once this year, the device must explicitly fail the diagnostic test to qualify for any additional battery replacements for $29. If the test passes, a customer can still choose to have the battery replaced, but Apple's standard $79 fee applies.
While it's unlikely customers would need to have their iPhone battery replaced more than once in a year, some people may have planned on taking advantage of the $29 deal now, and then again near the end of 2018, as the combined $58 cost for two replacements would still be cheaper than the standard $79.
To initiate the process, read our guide on how to get your iPhone's battery replaced with an appointment at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider, or by mailing the device to an Apple Repair Center.
Friday January 5, 2018 8:18 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple now faces over two dozen lawsuits around the world that either accuse the company of intentionally slowing down older iPhones, or at least of failing to disclose power management changes it made starting in iOS 10.2.1.
The lawsuits include 24 class action complaints in the United States, with the latest two filed on Thursday by Marc Honigman and Lauri Sullivan-Stefanou in New York and Ohio respectively, according to electronic court records reviewed by MacRumors. Apple is also being sued in Israel and France.
An excerpt from Sullivan-Stefanou's complaint:
Unbeknownst to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s owners, Apple inserted code into iOS 10.2.1 that deliberately slowed down the processing performance of these phones by linking each phone's processing performance with its battery health. Absent the code inserted by Apple, the reduced battery capacity of these phones would not have negatively affected processing performance.
Many of the lawsuits demand Apple compensate all iPhone users who have experienced slowdowns, offer free battery replacements, refund customers who purchased brand new iPhones to regain maximum performance, and add info to iOS explaining how replacing an iPhone's battery can prevent slowdowns.
The legal action comes after Apple's revelation it may at times dynamically manage the maximum performance of some older iPhone models with chemically aged batteries in order to prevent the devices from unexpectedly shutting down, an issue that can be made worse by cold temperatures or a low charge.
Apple never mentioned the power management changes, which it calls a feature, when it released iOS 10.2.1 nearly a year ago. A month after the software update became available, Apple still only vaguely mentioned that it made "improvements" that resulted in a significant reduction in unexpected shutdowns.
Apple only revealed exactly what the so-called "improvements" were after Primate Labs founder John Poole visualized that some iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 devices suddenly had lower benchmark scores starting with iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2 respectively despite operating at maximum performance on previous versions.
Poole's analysis was in response to a Reddit user who claimed his iPhone 6s was significantly faster after replacing the device's battery. The discussion generated over 1,000 comments, and reinforced an opinion held by some that Apple purposefully slows down older iPhones so customers buy newer ones.
Honigman's complaint, edited very slightly for clarity, echoes this opinion:
Apple's intentional degradation of the iPhone's performance through the release of iOS impacted the usability of the device. Effectively, Apple has forced the obsolescence of iPhones by secretly diminishing their performance. Thus, Apple's admission has confirmed what iPhone users have long suspected – i.e., that Apple deliberately degrades the performance of older iPhone models through iOS updates to encourage users to buy new iPhones.
Keep in mind that Apple is not permanently or persistently slowing down older iPhones. Even if your iPhone is affected, the performance limitations only happen intermittently, and only when the device is completing demanding tasks.
iPhone users in most countries can initiate the battery replacement process online by scheduling an appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple Store. The reduced price is also available at some third-party retailers and repair shops, as long as they are designated as an official Apple Authorized Service Provider.
After this article was published, MacRumors received a tip claiming Apple has reduced the price it charges Apple Authorized Service Providers for iPhone batteries to $5, down from $55, but some repair shops are still charging more than $29 for replacements to maintain reasonable profit margins for time and labor.
Wednesday January 3, 2018 5:03 am PST by Joe Rossignol
By now, you've probably seen headlines about Apple slowing down your iPhone, but it's not nearly as simple or corrupt as it sounds. In this Q&A, we've taken the time to explain exactly what's going on.
Why is Apple slowing down some older iPhone models?
iPhones, like many other consumer electronics, are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which have a limited lifespan. As the battery in your iPhone ages, its ability to hold a charge slowly diminishes.
A chemically aging battery can also have increased impedance, reducing its ability to provide a sudden burst of power when demanded by other components in an iPhone, such as the CPU and GPU. A battery's impedance will also temporarily increase when it has a low charge and/or in cold temperatures.
A battery with a high enough impedance may be unable to provide power quickly enough to the iPhone when needed, and Apple safeguards components against the drop in voltage by shutting down the device.
Apple recognized that iPhones unexpectedly shutting down on users is not a good experience, and starting with iOS 10.2.1, it quietly implemented a power management feature to prevent these shutdowns. The update was released in January 2017, and a month later, Apple said it saw a major reduction in shutdowns.
How does Apple's power management feature work?
Apple says it looks at a combination of an iPhone's internal temperature, battery percentage, and battery impedance, and only if a certain criteria is met, iOS will dynamically manage the maximum performance of some system components, such as the CPU and GPU, in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns.
Does my iPhone have this feature if needed?
Apple said the power management feature applies to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE models running iOS 10.2.1 or any newer software version. The feature was also expanded to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models running iOS 11.2 or any newer software version.
Any older iPhone models are currently not affected, including the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 3G, and the original iPhone, even though some of those models have also experienced shutdowns. The latest iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are also currently not affected. ➜ Click here to read rest of article...
Tuesday September 12, 2017 5:09 pm PDT by Juli Clover
With the introduction of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, Apple has lowered its prices on previous iPhone models, introducing a new iPhone lineup that offers devices at a range of different price points.
The 4-inch iPhone SE continues to be Apple's most affordable iPhone, but it has a new lower price point. Pricing on the iPhone SE starts at $349 for the 32GB version and goes up to $449 for the 128GB version. With carrier financing, prices start at $14.55 per month.
The iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus are the middle-tier devices, available in 32 and 128GB capacities. Pricing on the iPhone 6s starts at $449 ($18.71/month with carrier financing), while pricing on the iPhone 6s Plus starts at $549 ($22.88/month with carrier financing).
Apple is continuing to offer the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, also in 32 and 128GB capacities. Pricing on the iPhone 7 starts at $549 ($22.80/month with carrier financing) and pricing on the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $669 ($27.88/month with carrier financing).
Apple's new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are available in 64 and 256GB capacities. The iPhone 8 is priced at $699 for the 64GB model and $849 for the 256GB model. With the iPhone Upgrade Program, prices start at $34.50 per month.
The iPhone 8 Plus is priced at $799 for the 64GB model and $949 for the 256GB model. With the iPhone Upgrade Program, prices start at $39.50 per month.
The iPhone X is the new flagship high-end iPhone, available in 64 and 256GB capacities. The 64GB iPhone X is priced at $999, or $49.91 per month with the iPhone Upgrade Program, while the 256GB model is priced at $1,149 or $56.16 per month with the iPhone Upgrade Program.
The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus will be available for pre-order on Friday, September 15, with the devices launching on September 22. The iPhone X will be available for pre-order on October 27 ahead of a November 3 launch.
To help out with the search for the best trade-in values, we've decided to look at some of the most popular recycling websites to see how much you can get back for the iPhone 7 32GB, iPhone 7 Plus 128GB, iPhone 6s 32GB, and iPhone 6s Plus 128GB. Although not all-encompassing, this should provide a helpful glimpse at where to start shopping around for the best value for your current iPhone as you make your upgrade plans for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus.
A few things to note -- although each website's trade-in process differs, prices on average centered on a device in "good" or equivalent condition. Prices sometimes fluctuate depending on color (albeit not by much), and if the option was available "Black" was chosen for iPhone 7 devices and "Silver" for iPhone 6s devices. Quotes are also subject to change over time.
Check out how the prices compared in the charts below:
iPhone 7 32GB
iPhone 7 Plus 128GB
iPhone 6s 32GB
iPhone 6s Plus 128GB
A few of the reseller sites also have some notable discounts and special programs running as we enter iPhone launch season. Gazelle lets you lock your top-tier quote on an iPhone from now until September 22, and you'll have until October 22 to mail it in.
This extended grace period is Gazelle's way of ensuring customers can get the most for their old iPhones (or any smartphone) right now, before the prices depreciate after the announcement and launch of the iPhone X. If you trade in your old smartphone during this time frame, you'll also be entered into Gazelle's Paid to Trade sweepstakes, which will offer three winners the "approximate value" of an iPhone X.
If you decide to go with MyPhones Unlimited, the site has an exclusive offer for MacRumors readers: add an extra $10 to your quoted trade-in price with the promo code rumors.
Apple has an iPhone Trade-Up program of its own as well, which will net you an Apple gift card for the value of your old iPhone. Regarding the iPhone models listed above, Apple's program will see average trade-in values of $375 (iPhone 7 32GB), $425 (iPhone 7 Plus 128GB), $215 (iPhone 6s 32GB), and $260 (iPhone 6s Plus 128GB).
Carriers themselves also have their own trade-in programs with quotes that mostly hit around the prices offered by the previously listed reseller sites. AT&T and Verizon were the best in this regard, with AT&T offering $270 for an iPhone 7 32GB from AT&T, and Verizon even beating that price (for an AT&T-locked device) at $302. On the opposite end, Sprint's quote for the same phone was $165.
If you're willing to enter sites like eBay and Craigslist, there's the usual opportunity to get well above the prices displayed in these charts. Quick quote searches on each site averaged prices between $500-$550 for an iPhone 7 32GB on AT&T, $200 above the highest trade-in price that we found from MyPhones Unlimited.
Of course, the eBay and Craigslist marketplaces come with the usual added risk of selling items to other consumers online. You'd have to part with your current iPhone immediately, and potentially be without a smartphone for the amount of time it will take the new device to come in, which in the case of the iPhone X could be weeks or even months. With trade-in sites like Gazelle, you have the option to lock-in a price ahead of time, and then receive a grace period (usually around 30 days) in which you have to send your old device in.
Notable too is eBay's "Quick Sale" storefront, which acts more like trade-in sites than the traditional eBay marketplace. Here you can type in the brand, storage, carrier, and other relevant information for your smartphone, with quotes averaging about $60-$100 above competitor sites for iPhone 7 devices. Older phones aren't supported, however, so the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus can't be traded in to eBay's Quick Sale valet program.
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