Apple Replaced 11 Million iPhone Batteries in 2018, Up From 1 to 2 Million

Apple replaced a total of 11 million iPhone batteries under the $29 battery replacement program that was introduced at the end of 2017 and ran through 2018 before ending on December 31, 2018.

The tidbit was shared by Tim Cook at a recent all-hands meeting with Apple employees and relayed by Daring Fireball's John Gruber, who heard the information from an unnamed source.

iphone 6s battery
Apple replaced approximately 9 to 10 million more batteries than it would have during a normal year, said Cook. Apple normally replaces 1 to 2 million batteries each year.

Cook cited the battery replacement program as one of the reasons why Apple's Q1 2019 guidance was cut earlier this month after poorer than expected iPhone sales. Apple now expects revenue of $84 billion, down from a November estimate of $89 to $93 billion.

It's not entirely clear why Apple didn't know how the battery replacement program would impact sales earlier in the year given that it ran throughout 2018, but Gruber speculates that while Apple knew battery replacements were higher than normal, the true effect of the replacement program did not become known until the new iPhone XS and XR models were released and fewer people upgraded.

Apple initiated the $29 battery replacement program after outcry over an iOS 10 update introduced a power management feature that slowed the performance of some older iPhones with degrading batteries. The power management features were designed to prevent unexpected shutdowns and prolong the iPhone's life, but some customers saw it as proof of planned obsolescence.

Apple apologized for the misinformation and introduced the discounted battery replacement program to appease customers. In a device with a degraded battery that is experiencing slowdown issues because of performance management software, replacing the battery restores full functionality, which undoubtedly led some customers to stick with an older iPhone rather than upgrade.

In February 2018, Cook said that Apple had not considered how the battery replacement program would impact iPhone upgrade rates, but it's clear it ultimately had an impact on Apple's bottom line.

"We did it because we thought it was the right thing to do for our customers," said Cook at the time. "I don't know what effect it will have for our investors. It was not in our thought process of deciding to do what we've done."

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Top Rated Comments

martyjmclean Avatar
72 months ago
"We did it because we were caught slowing down phones without telling users, and had our arses sued to hell and back". Fixed that for you Timmy.
Score: 101 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NinjaHERO Avatar
72 months ago
Or maybe the battery replacement helped keep IPhone users from jumping ship to cheaper non Apple devices. I know they want to point the finger at this being bad for future IPhone sales, but perhaps it kept some people in the Apple family who otherwise couldn’t afford to upgrade. Just a thought. I have no facts.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NetMage Avatar
72 months ago
Wouldn’t have done it at the old $80 price. Odd decision.
Better to spend $1,000 on a new phone then $79 on a new battery? Odd decision.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
allenvanhellen Avatar
72 months ago
"We did it because we were caught slowing down phones without telling users, and had our arses sued to hell and back". Fixed that for you Timmy.
My iPhone 6S Plus was shutting down and rebooting when the battery was low and the ambient temperature was very hot or very cold, until the update that "slowed down phones". Once I had installed that update, those issues stopped, but the phone ran slower. That's nothing to sue over.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sinsin07 Avatar
72 months ago
Tim: “Hey we’re gonna take a hit on this iPhone battery replacement program so let’s be magical and raise the price of iPhones to new heights to compensate.”

Oops
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piggie Avatar
72 months ago
Remember the good old days, before Apple started the trend of gluing things shut, when you could simply pop the back off a phone and replace the battery in seconds without any tools or worrying about breaking things.
Happy days.
I was more than Happy companies like Samsung kept their plastic backs so you could so easily do this, but again and again they were criticized for having a plastic back so they followed Apple's terrible route.

In reality so many people put their phone in a case anyway, and a easy to replace back gives you the option to change colors and replace a scratched back with a new one.

I'd happily go back to those days for the sake of perhaps 1mm
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)