Apple is offering free replacements of iPhone 5 batteries for affected phones that burn through batteries and need to be recharged often. That may sound like everyone’s iPhone, but Apple clarifies this is a specific set of iPhone 5 phones sold between September 2012 and January 2013. Apple even knows the exact serial numbers of the phones with these faulty batteries.
To see if you qualify for brand new batteries at no cost, visit Apple’s iPhone Battery Replacement Program and submit your phone’s serial number. If it qualifies, you will be referred to an Apple store, an authorized Apple service provider, or Apple technical support, who will need to inspect your phone first to confirm it is eligible for the replacement program.
Be sure to back up your data before you mail your phone away or walk it in because data will be lost when batteries are replaced. Apple also recommends turning off Find My iPhone and erasing all data and settings. There may be some costs for the replacement if your phone is damaged in a way that affects access to the batteries. The program does not extend the standard warranty, but it does cover defective batteries for two years or until March 1, 2015, whichever comes first. It is currently only open for users in the U.S. and China. Other countries will be added starting Friday, August 29. If you previously paid for Apple to replace your iPhone 5 batteries, you might get a refund.
Apple insists this issue affects “a very small percentage” of iPhone 5 devices. This follows the previous iPhone 5 Sleep/Wake Button Replacement Program, which similarly affected “a small percentage”. Last May, Apple announced that those phones built through March 2013 had a defective sleep/wake button that sometimes worked or didn’t work at all. The program allowed eligible users to have the button replaced for free. The iPhone 5 was discontinued after barely a year of being on the market, one of the shortest windows of availability for an Apple iPhone. The model was replaced with the simultaneous release of the iPhone 5S and 5C in September 2013.
Since 2010, when the iPhone 4 infamously came with a defective antennae, Apple has had to deal with an increasing number of recalls, as outlined by CNET. Last year, the iPhone 5S also had battery issues. In 2005, nearly 2 million batteries were recalled due to overheating PowerBooks and iBooks. Flash drives and power adapters have also been recalled due to splitting.
Apple will unveil the iPhone 6 next month, amid much speculation on price and features. With luck, the iPhone 6 won’t include a recall of batteries.