Apple has activated a dormant software lock on its iPhones that discourages users to get the battery of their iPhone replaced from third-party sources.
After a third-party battery replacement job, iPhones will now show a “Service” error with a message that it is unable to verify if the battery is a genuine Apple one or not. This Service message is shown under Settings -> Battery.
Up until now, Apple used to show the service message when the battery health had degraded significantly and required replacement.
iFixit has confirmed in its testing that even swapping in a genuine Apple battery will not remove the “Service” message. The message will only go when an Apple Genius or Authorized Service Provider authenticates the battery after a swap.
Swapping in a new genuine Apple battery from another iPhone XS resulted in the “Service” message popping up in the Battery Health section, followed by an “Important Battery Message” telling us that it’s “unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery.”
Apple is using the authentication feature of the TI microcontroller on the battery itself for this. It is locking down the battery to the iPhone’s logic board and if there’s an authentication failure, users will get the Service message. It is only when the battery swap is carried out by Apple’s Genius Bar or ASP that the microcontroller is updated with new information to ensure the Service error does not pop up.
On the bright side, despite the Service message, your iPhone will work just fine post the unauthorized battery swap. Its performance will not be affected in any way as well. It is just that you will not be able to see its health capacity from the Settings.
It is clear that Apple has made this move to block third-party battery replacement on iPhones. The Cupertino company could argue that it is doing this for user’s safety since authorized battery replacements can lead to the iPhone’s battery exploding or the phone malfunctioning. However, the company could have implemented this in a better way and been more upfront about it.