Apple Is Locking iPhone Batteries to Discourage Repair

Just wow. I guess we should have seen this coming, based on their latest earning reports, that the only real growth is in “Services” (which includes repair).

In reaction to this on Twitter, someone shared this talk (by the guy famous for the Jeep hack) on hacking batteries via DRM. If Apple is truly concerned about safety, doesn’t including DRM open a new attack vector that didn’t exist before?

Waiting for Kyle (iFixit) and Right to Repair panel at Defcon to address Apple’s FUD and scaremongering about third party batteries. Also, is there an actual register of cases of mobiles exploding due to third party batteries? Or even infamous stories?

I find the coverage of this issue, like for most of Apple #gate issues, too often biased (either way) and/or over simplistic.

The problem the crypto token in the battery controller addresses is much more likely to do with validating the information presented by the battery than about safety. Our professional phone repairer friends say it is all too common for them to get batteries advertising themselves as having much more capacity than they truly have to the point that find they cannot rely on the battery-provided information and have to measure the battery’s current over a charge/discharge cycle to have a correct understanding of the battery’s performance. With a battery underperforming compared to what its controller states, you’ll get worst performance and possibly random shutdowns but it’s unlikely you’ll over charge such batteries as they’ll pretend to be charged when they’re not. In any case the only (known) difference in the iOS software is that if the crypto tokens don’t match, iOS won’t display helpful information, the battery will function the same way - whether it is safe or unsafe.

So in my view what is evil is not the use of this crypto token, but a) for iOS not displaying the battery health information when the crypto tokens do not match; it would be much better to display the battery information with an additional text explaining that the information comes from the battery and cannot be validated (in a much less scary and more accurate way than the current text visible in iFixit’s article), and b) for Apple to sell genuine spare parts, especially batteries, to all.

The reputable Battery University states:

From 1991-2016, 138 airport and flight incidents involving lithium batteries occurred. These include 13 E-cigarettes, 7 mobile phones/tablets, 7 spare batteries and 4 laptops. E-cigarette incidents increased the most.

(That’s just for airports. There are news stories in tabloids, but that’s not reliable. Also notice the use of the term ‘incident’ as it covers ‘explosions’ and also slower fire with thermal runaway.)

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I actually think the average person will be scared off by this service message.

And Apple’s fallback position on everything related to spare parts and right to repair is to suggest phones will blow up. So they are getting a taste of their own medicine here.

Yes, but even for their own, OEM batteries? Why does the battery need to be paired with the device? This seems to be a clear tactic to prevent any kind of reuse…

yes the Battery University has some good info on it. Should we add a link from the wiki?

Indeed it deserves link/s! @philip’s already added a couple of prominent ones. He’s a big fan too