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Phones

How to get Apple's $29 iPhone battery replacement

What you need to know, and what you need to do.

iphone-battery-replacement-ifixit.jpg

Apple will replace your iPhone battery for just $29.

iFixit

Most phone owners come to realize that an old battery is a weak battery, one that gradually loses capacity. But it turns out that an old battery can also be a performance-killing battery, as evidenced by Apple's recent revelation: Owing to an intentional software feature, some iPhones will run slower if they have older, failing batteries.

Fortunately, there's a simple fix: Get a new battery. Previously, Apple charged $79 for such a swap, but effectively immediately, you can get a replacement battery from Apple for just $29. That's for any iPhone 6 ($259.99 at Amazon.com) or later. (A similar discount will be available outside the US -- for example, the replacement cost will be lowered to £25 in the UK and AU$39 in Australia -- and Apple says it will provide more details on its site soon.)

Do it. If your phone is more than a year old, it's no doubt lost some of its capacity (and, apparently, some of its speed). This is a cheap and easy fix, one that will not only extend the life of your phone, but also make it feel kind of new again.

There are three ways to get this replacement done (by Apple proper -- see below for another option):

  • At an Apple Store
  • At an authorized Apple service center
  • By mail

I strongly recommend against that third option. For starters, it'll leave you without your phone for at least a week -- and if there's any kind of problem, that could delay things even further.

To schedule an appointment locally, in a store or service center, head to Apple's support page, click iPhone, then click Battery, Power & Charging. Now choose Battery replacement and then Bring in for Repair.

Next, you'll need to sign in with your Apple ID and select the device you're bringing in. From there you can find the nearest available location and choose a time.

What happens next

Once you arrive for your appointment, the technician will likely perform a battery diagnostic. Don't worry about the results, though: Even if your phone shows it's retaining 80 percent or greater of its original capacity (which normally would preclude you from a replacement), Apple will give you the $29 deal.

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That's assuming the store has batteries in stock. CNET's Oliver Padilla went to one earlier this month and was told he'd have to wait for more batteries to arrive. (He was also assured he'd get the $29 replacement, even though his iPhone 6 showed "green" on the battery diagnostic.)

More recently, CNET's Anne Dujmovic related this account:

"I contacted Apple this week about getting a replacement battery for my iPhone 6. I called Apple Care Support earlier this week after looking online for an appointment and deciding I didn't want to wait a week only to show up and not get a battery because of a backlog. (I'd read there was a backlog.) I didn't want to have to go the Apple store twice. So... I called and they ordered a battery for me. I just got confirmation that one has been ordered and that once it comes in (in about 2 weeks) I can bring my phone in and don't need an appointment to have the battery replaced."

Consequently, she highly recommends calling first.

If the store does have batteries available, you could be looking at a wait of several hours or even days, depending on how many iPhones are in line ahead of you. Consequently, it might make sense to wait a few weeks before scheduling your appointment, as there's almost certainly going to be a land-grab (battery-grab?) in the wake of all this publicity.

Fortunately, the $29 replacement program isn't going anywhere: Apple plans to run it through December 2018.

More options

Is there an Office Depot or Office Max store near you? Ending Feb. 4, you can get an iPhone battery replacement done there for $27.99 (normally $49.99). That's not only a buck cheaper than what Apple charges, but it's likely to afford much faster turnaround.

For example, I visited an Office Depot in Detroit the suburbs on a weekday afternoon, and there was no one in line ahead of me at the store's tech-services kiosk. Unfortunately, because my iPhone had incurred a bit of unrelated damage, the tech told me he wasn't allowed to do the battery replacement.

What's more, make sure to call the store before visiting, as the techs may keep unusual hours. At that store, the guy was leaving at 2:30 p.m. Thursday and wasn't scheduled to return until Saturday.

The $27.99 battery replacement deal is good for the iPhone SE and later models.

Hit the comments and share your experiences. How long did you wait? What was the outcome?

Update, Jan. 29: Added More options section. First published Jan. 2.