New menu settings inside Apple’s iPhones display a warning sign if the device’s battery is not recognized as authentic. Other smartphone manufacturers are curbing users and unauthorized repair shops from replacing the battery.
Why it matters: Smartphone manufacturers and Apple say that their actions guarantee the integrity and safety of the batteries by preventing the possible use of counterfeit batteries. Some users have objected citing a right to repair.
Users perceive batteries as consumable:
- Historically, smartphones had externally removable batteries.
- After the introduction of the iPhone, all smartphone OEMs followed Apple by making the battery non-removable.
- This design change was necessary to make smartphones thin and light.
- Batteries are sophisticated components inside a precision-engineered smartphone. Much like other internal components, such as memory or display, they are increasingly difficult and expensive to replace.
- A botched battery replacement can lead to a fire.
- The historical perception of batteries as consumables is no longer true.
Why fake batteries are a real problem:
- Fake replica batteries are inexpensive counterfeits largely from China, made by manufacturers with limited control on quality.
- Statistics show that counterfeit batteries have a much higher prevalence of fires than authentic batteries.
- Detecting counterfeit batteries is not easy without the use of battery intelligence.
Why smartphone OEMs do not sell batteries:
- Replacing the battery inside a smartphone is a complex operation with risk of damage to the battery.
- Recall the Samsung Note 7 fires were connected to the mechanical sizing of the battery inside the smartphone causing a mechanical dent in the battery.
- To be safe, smartphone manufacturers direct users to qualified repair shops.
What smartphone owners can do:
- Take actions to ensure that your battery outlasts the rest of your smartphone. Avoid super fast charging if you can. Avoid charging overnight to 100%. Avoid hot temperatures.
- If you ever have to get your battery replaced, get it done at an authorized repair shop where the battery can be traced to a trusted manufacturing source.