Apple's cheap iPhone battery replacements were wildly popular - 10 times as many people replaced their battery as normal

Tim Cook


  • In 2018, Apple offered iPhone users a new battery for $29, down from the previous $79 price.
  • Apple replaced 11 million batteries through the program, up from the 2 million it normally would, according to remarks made by Apple CEO Tim Cook reported by Daring Fireball.
  • It shows that more people would replace their phone batteries if the price was lower.
  • Apple's $29 battery program is over, but it has quietly reduced the price for battery replacements: To replace the battery on an iPhone that came out this year costs $69, and older model battery swaps now cost $49.

Last winter, Apple faced one of its toughest scandals yet.

People had discovered that Apple had updated its iPhone software to slow down the top speed of its processor to save battery health on older devices.Advertisement

The revelation caused an uproar - one of the oldest Apple conspiracy theories, that it slows down old phones through software updates, seemed to be true.

Apple's response was to discount some battery replacements for a limited time, slashing the price from $79 to $29. This was done for many reasons, including to regain consumer trust and to fend off pending class-action suits over the software.

Apparently, people took advantage of the offer. Apple replaced 11 million batteries in 2018 under the program, Daring Fireball's John Gruber wrote on Monday. Citing remarks made by Apple CEO Tim Cook during an internal all-hands meeting, Gruber reported that he said that Apple would only normally replace 1-2 million batteries.

The number of battery replacements isn't surprising. In January, shortly after the program was announced, Apple Stores were slammed by customers looking for cheap new batteries, Business Insider reported. Some stores had to set up triage-like systems, with dedicated stations or tables devoted to helping people who want a battery replacement, retail employees said.

Gruber writes that the battery-replacement program may have impacted iPhone sales, which is one reason why the company said earlier this month that it had collected at least $5 billion less in revenue during the holiday quarter than it had previously told investors to expect. The battery-replacement program was even mentioned in Cook's letter to investors as one reason for the miss.That's possible if a large percentage of 11 million battery upgraders decided to pass on this year's new iPhone models, figuring that a new battery made their old phones feel like new. But it also underscores that there is considerable consumer demand for smartphone battery replacements, and that Apple's traditionally high prices to swap a battery may convince consumers simply to get a new iPhone. Advertisement

Apple's $29 battery program is over, but it quietly reduced the price for an out-of-warranty battery replacement. Replacing the battery on an iPhone that came out this year now costs $69 through Apple, and $49 for older iPhone models.