Myjust celebrated its third birthday, which is significant for a couple reasons. First, it's the longest I've ever held onto a single phone; usually I upgrade every year or two. Second, like any three-year-old model, its battery ain't what it used to be.
Thus I found myself thinking about a new phone, an extremely common reaction to poor battery life. Check out the results of a Twitter poll I conducted recently:
The thing is, I really like my iPhone X. It's plenty fast and fits perfectly in my pocket. It takes great photos, including portraits. It doesn't support 5G, but so what? I don't need it, at least right now.
Best of all, it's paid for. So do I really have to buy a whole new phone just to get a new battery? It's not like I can pop the back off the X and swap out the old one. Not easily, anyway -- I tried this delicate surgery a few times with earlier-generation iPhones and was never successful.
Fortunately, Apple offers in-store and mail-in battery-replacement service. And most local phone-repair shops will do this as well. Because I'm the Cheapskate, of course I shopped around first. Apple would obviously be the most expensive option (because it's Apple!), so I asked for quotes from three nearby shops. To my surprise, the rates ranged from $89 to $129 -- on the high side, I thought, but still far cheaper than buying a new phone.
Then I checked with Apple, and surprise, surprise: $69. (Prices vary depending on age and model; Apple charges only $49 for the iPhone SE, iPhone 8 and most earlier models.)
The other win: I felt a little more comfortable with Apple doing the work. A few years ago I hired a local shop to replace my daughter's phone battery; it came back with a broken front camera. Around the same time, my sister used a different shop for a replacement battery; a couple months later, the phone started coming apart due to faulty glue.
This is not an indictment of phone-repair businesses, merely a bit of anecdotal experience. And the better pricing available from Apple proper made this a no-contest choice, at least for me.
My date with Apple
Using Apple's online scheduling tool, I quickly and easily set up an appointment at my local Apple Store. I was actually able to get a same-day appointment on a weekday. (Your mileage may vary, of course, same as with this entire experience.)
When I arrived at this formerly bustling store, I discovered that it had two queues set up outside: one for online-purchase pickups, one for Genius Bar appointments. Due to COVID, it's no longer a retail operation, having been condensed down to about eight walk-up windows.
A security guard checked me in, and although there were about four people ahead of me in line, I waited only about five minutes. Once I got to the window, a friendly employee ran a few diagnostics on my phone, verified that it would benefit from a new battery, and sent me on my way.
I was told the repair would take about two hours; I was to return at precisely the time given, at which point I could skip the line and go straight to a pickup window.
And that's exactly how it went down. The entire transaction was smooth and efficient, and $69 later my iPhone X feels like it just came out of the box -- at least from a battery perspective. Normally, by 5 p.m. I'd be down to about 10% remaining. Yesterday, I still had 55% -- at 8 p.m.
Will this buy me another three years? Quite possibly. Even if I keep the phone just another year or two, I think this was the smart move.
So before you toss out your old phone because of a failing battery, I highly recommend investigating your battery-replacement options.
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