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Logically it seems that either the indicator failed to detect a failing battery, or the battery was fine but the hardware component of the indicator failed. According to the Genius, the latter is part of the battery assembly, so I guess I'll never know.
Apple's battery health tool seems to me a lot like SMART is for storage. If it reports a problem, then you've got a problem. But failure to a report a problem does not necessarily mean everything is OK.
 


This will be an unusual (for me) callout!

I've avoided replacing my battery since last year, since the only Apple (type) store here is in the mall, in the center, and I hate malls. And this store is known for talking all day to fix anything, and frequently sending stuff away to their repair facility for days.

Then I found out Best Buy does Apple-certified repairs.

I made an appointment online and was in and out of the store in less than an hour with a new $29 battery. They're over-lighted and noisy and confusing to be in. But they were very polite and very fast.

Best Apple repair experience since 1985! Who'd have thought!
 


A quick comment on my iPhone 6 battery replacement mission today: Went to the W 14th St Apple Store and, after a short wait, was assisted by a very nice Apple guy. He ran diagnostics on my phone, which was housed in a nice, sturdy Speck case. The battery checked out as near-perfect, despite 3 years of use and evidence that I had observed that not all was well with it.

He was very thorough and examined other possible reasons for it to drain quickly, then said that they would replace the battery anyway. He took it out of its Speck case, and said something like “Whoa, that’s why your battery is not behaving normally.” The phone now had enough of a battery bulge that there was a significant gap showing on that side. When it was in the (did I say sturdy??) Speck case, it was perfectly flat and functioning well except for subpar battery function.

He said they couldn’t replace the battery but that he could give me a replacement phone for $29. I agreed to that, but I am somewhat regretting it. I wonder if I should have ordered a kit from iFixit and attempted the repair myself.

It was my old phone, being kept as a backup. To my surprise, after my iPhone 7 had been activated last March, which required a trip to the Sprint store and a new SIM, the iPhone 6 remained active, too. The replacement iPhone 6, with the SIM from the bulging phone in it, will not activate on the Sprint network. Otherwise, restoring from my backup worked fine. Presumably, if something happened to my 7, I could get Sprint to activate this one?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... The replacement iPhone 6, with the SIM from the bulging phone in it, will not activate on the Sprint network. Otherwise, restoring from my backup worked fine. Presumably, if something happened to my 7, I could get Sprint to activate this one?
There are two issues I see. The most critical is whether the new iPhone is compatible with Sprint or not (as Sprint uses different technology from some other carriers). I think you should see something like "LTE" if that's working - i.e. an indication that the phone is talking successfully with Sprint cell towers.

The second is registration of the phone's IMEI ID with Sprint (available via Settings > General > About). When I recently bought a refurb iPhone 7 from Apple and took it to be activated at a carrier store, they needed that number (which apparently was in microscopic print on the SIM tray, though I couldn't see it).
 


There are two issues I see. The most critical is whether the new iPhone is compatible with Sprint or not (as Sprint uses different technology from some other carriers). I think you should see something like "LTE" if that's working - i.e. an indication that the phone is talking successfully with Sprint cell towers.

The second is registration of the phone's IMEI ID with Sprint (available via Settings > General > About). When I recently bought a refurb iPhone 7 from Apple and took it to be activated at a carrier store, they needed that number (which apparently was in microscopic print on the SIM tray, though I couldn't see it).
The replacement 6 is an unlocked model, as was the previous iPhone 6, which I bought at the Apple Store and then took to Sprint for activation. Same procedure with my refurb iPhone 7. The replacement is getting no cell signal at all, although “About…” shows Sprint as the carrier, presumably because of the Sprint SIM transferred from the old phone. Will have to look at the SIM tray.
 



There are two issues I see. The most critical is whether the new iPhone is compatible with Sprint or not (as Sprint uses different technology from some other carriers). I think you should see something like "LTE" if that's working - i.e. an indication that the phone is talking successfully with Sprint cell towers.

The second is registration of the phone's IMEI ID with Sprint (available via Settings > General > About). When I recently bought a refurb iPhone 7 from Apple and took it to be activated at a carrier store, they needed that number (which apparently was in microscopic print on the SIM tray, though I couldn't see it).
According to the links you shared (thanks), the only difference between the AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon version and the Global/Sprint and China Mobile versions are support for TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE, both of which only seem to be used in China.

Sprint's wireless bands seem to mostly be compatible with all of the models. The big difference is that the non-Sprint models don't support LTE band 41, which Sprint uses for some LTE Advanced services (which they are marketing as "LTE Plus"). So the non-Sprint model should work, but may not be able to take advantage of Sprint's newest features.

Note that the "LTE" indicator in the upper-left corner simply means the phone is using LTE for its data network. Note that that indicator disappears when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. The carrier name and bars to the left of that indicator will tell you if you are connected to a wireless phone network.

I suspect the registration of the IMEI is more important. Sprint still relies on 1x (2G) and EVDO (3G) technology for connection to the voice network. As far as I know, they still have not rolled out VoLTE (voice over LTE). These 2G and 3G features probably don't use the SIM card, but need the phone itself to be "activated" on the network in the same manner as was the case for 2G and 3G phones.

Fortunately, you don't need to read micro-print in the SIM tray. If the phone boots up, you can go to Settings -> General -> About and scroll down to get the IMEI number.

I expect you will be able to call Sprint's customer support and/or bring the phone to one of their stores to activate it.
 


When it was in the (did I say sturdy??) Speck case, it was perfectly flat and functioning well except for subpar battery function.
While I am glad to see this post, I must admit it has scared me somewhat.

I own a 6 Plus, purchased in early 2015. It has served me well. Before it even arrived, I purchased a Speck CandyShell Grip case, because I am physically disabled, and would otherwise be in near constant (legitimate) fear of dropping it. The case has completely prevented nearly four years' worth of potential damage on that front.

But to read that the case could potentially disguise a swollen battery to such a degree?

Wow. My battery life seems (mostly) acceptable, though it does drop sooner than I would like at times. The capacity is listed at 87% and the battery supports "peak performance" according to Battery Health.

Do I need to rethink my choice of case?

I am scared to take the phone out of the case to inspect it, lest my experience be similar to yours – minus the nearby Apple employee. I guess I need to make sure it is backed up as the first order of business.
 


He said they couldn’t replace the battery but that he could give me a replacement phone for $29. I agreed to that, but I am somewhat regretting it. I wonder if I should have ordered a kit from iFixit and attempted the repair myself.
I had the same experience at our local Apple store. The bulging battery still worked perfectly, as did the phone, but the screen was popped loose along the left side.

I brought it in for battery replacement and was told that was not possible because of the risk of fire/explosion. Apple reportedly would not allow technical personnel to handle such a phone. The SIM was removed and the data was wiped before the phone was sent to the graveyard. I wonder how they contain and ship such a risky device?
 


While I am glad to see this post, I must admit it has scared me somewhat. I own a 6 Plus, purchased in early 2015. It has served me well. Before it even arrived, I purchased a Speck CandyShell Grip case, because I am physically disabled, and would otherwise be in near constant (legitimate) fear of dropping it. The case has completely prevented nearly four years' worth of potential damage on that front.
But to read that the case could potentially disguise a swollen battery to such a degree? Wow. My battery life seems (mostly) acceptable, though it does drop sooner than I would like at times. The capacity is listed at 87% and the battery supports "peak performance" according to Battery Health. Do I need to rethink my choice of case? I am scared to take the phone out of the case to inspect it, lest my experience be similar to yours – minus the nearby Apple employee. I guess I need to make sure it is backed up as the first order of business.
That Speck Candy Shell Grippy case is the one I have used with both phones. I think it’s probably safe to remove your phone and check for damage, after backing it up. I put the iPhone 6 into the current case this past summer, because the original case was showing some wear and tear. At that time, after more than 3 years of use, and with some noticeable but not critical reduction in battery life, the phone was not showing any sign of a bulging battery.

I did leave it connected most of the time, though, once it was no longer in regular use. Could that have caused the battery to go haywire?
 




Yesterday I visited the Brighton (UK) Apple Store for a pre-booked session to change the battery on my iPhone 6s Plus. The appointment was for 15:00. They collected the iPhone at 15:00 and told me it would be ready at 16:45. I gather the reason for the delay is to allow the new battery to be charged up to 30%, as they are not shipped charged, for air safety reasons.

I managed to wile my time at an Apple Watch session which was well presented and interesting; certainly answered a few questions.

The old iPhone battery was showing 80%, and the new one is 100%. Finally the iPhone is real snappy in performance. ...
 


That Speck Candy Shell Grippy case is the one I have used with both phones. I think it’s probably safe to remove your phone and check for damage, after backing it up.
As a follow-up, I never did get around to removing it from the case for inspection. Last week, we went out to a restaurant we rarely visit; it's only 6 miles away. We couldn't remember where to make a specific turn, so I used my iPhone 6 Plus, which happened to have a 51 percent charge, to navigate. By the time we got there (no real traffic to speak of) the charge was only 38 percent. Alarmed, I turned it off and did not power it up until I got home. The charge had dropped to 33 percent, despite the fact that the phone was powered off.

According to the phone itself, the battery capacity was rated at 87 percent, and the battery was "currently supporting normal peak performance" (which strikes me as an uncharacteristically odd grammatical choice coming from Apple).

The replacement went fine, and the difference in performance is much greater than I expected. There were, thankfully, no signs of a swollen battery upon removal from the case.

The only strange after-effect is that the Health app is now under the false impression that I own two Apple watches: one before and one after the replacement. I am afraid to remove the "old" one, lest it take all the pre-replacement health data with it. I thought I had thoroughly unpaired the watch beforehand, but I guess I missed a step somewhere.
 



I tried to update the battery in my iPhone 6s, but when I arrived at the Apple Store for my appointment, they said I'd have to update my OS. After some back-and-forth and a trip to the back to consult with a tech, I was told they could "try" to upgrade the battery but that there would be a chance that their diagnostic tool they connect after the upgrade might prevent the phone from ever booting again (essentially bricking my phone). If that happened, they would give me a new (refurbished) iPhone 6s as replacement, but my data would be unrecoverable. My phone was recently backed up, but I decided I didn't want to take the risk. My battery is still adequate for now, so I'll just pay the extra $20 if/when I decide to relinquish favored older apps that aren't compatible with the new OS.

But, what the heck diagnostics tool are they employing after a battery replacement that it would risk bricking my phone? And how the heck did they accomplish battery replacements back when my OS was current-at-the-time? I've had iPhone batteries replaced in the past on those older OSes, and nobody ever raised a concern that it would brick my phone.

(Side note note on batteries... my wife had also brought in her phone for troubleshooting an iCloud backup issue. The backup size reported by her phone was well under the available space in her iCloud account, but the phone wouldn't back up. The Apple employee helping us was pretty uninformed about iCloud backup. I had to show him where the relevant screens were where the space was reported. And his only suggestion was to reset the phone. Overall, not a very favorable "genius" visit.)
 


My iPhone 6+ had a pregnant battery with expanding of the case. It was immediately replaced with a refurbed unit (like new). I installed a new Zagg screen protector and new Mophie battery case (it was pregnant also and was replaced at no charge by Mophie) and basically have a new system in addition to the iPhone 7+ and 8+. I acquired a new Max with the 7+ as a trade. The 6+ is going to go to my daughter in law. The 8+ will be the backup phone, once I get the backups accomplished.

So the replacement iPhone 6+ for $29 and 90-day warranty is a real good deal.
 


I was in the Apple Store yesterday to get the battery and screen replaced on an older iPhone 6. I didn't buy this new. They refused to repair it, because it had 3rd-party parts, even though I wanted the parts replaced.

Is this normal? Seems odd to me.
 


After reading some favorable reports about older iPhones and iOS 12, I finally bit the bullet and drove down the Apple iOS upgrade one-way street with my iPhone 6 (iOS 10.3.3 to iOS 12.1.2).

I wanted to know what my battery life was before the Dec. 31 deadline for the discounted replacement. For some strange reason my Battery Health > Maximum Capacity is shown as 100%. I know I've treated it with kid gloves, but this seems very unrealistic. I restarted the phone and also did a hard reset, with no change to the status. Any thoughts?
 


I was in the Apple Store yesterday to get the battery and screen replaced on an older iPhone 6. I didn't buy this new. They refused to repair it, because it had 3rd-party parts, even though I wanted the parts replaced.
Is this normal? Seems odd to me.
The same thing happened to my son with his iPhone 6. The very, very frustrating thing was that we are 99.9% sure that the phone had never been opened before. For him, the tech said it was just the battery that was third-party, but even when my son offered to pay the normal, non-discounted price for the battery replacement, the tech refused. With new iPhones costing $750+, this is a really great way for Apple to make its customers leave their ecosystem.

On a related note, buyer beware of any "refurbished" iOS devices available at eBay or Amazon. If this is now common practice, Apple will not repair them if they don't have "genuine" Apple parts inside!
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Tim Cook's stunning letter to investors about Apple's revenue shortfall has raised additional questions.
ZDNet said:
This is why Apple doesn't want you fixing your smartphone
... Apple listed several reasons why it had to backtrack on its 60-day old revenue guidance to issue the profits warning, but one of the reasons listed seemed particularly candid [emphasis added]:
"While macroeconomic challenges in some markets were a key contributor to this trend, we believe there are other factors broadly impacting our iPhone performance, including consumers adapting to a world with fewer carrier subsidies, US dollar strength-related price increases, and some customers taking advantage of significantly reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements."
Apple introduced this reduced pricing for iPhone battery replacements following the discovery of code in the iOS operating system that throttled the performance of iPhones if the battery was showing signs of wear (which itself appears to be a side effect of Apple's pursuit of thinner and lighter iPhones).

Now, this statement about battery replacements having an impact on iPhone sales raises a number of questions....
 


According to the links you shared (thanks), the only difference between the AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon version and the Global/Sprint and China Mobile versions are support for TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE, both of which only seem to be used in China. Sprint's wireless bands seem to mostly be compatible with all of the models. The big difference is that the non-Sprint models don't support LTE band 41, which Sprint uses for some LTE Advanced services (which they are marketing as "LTE Plus"). So the non-Sprint model should work, but may not be able to take advantage of Sprint's newest features.
Note that the "LTE" indicator in the upper-left corner simply means the phone is using LTE for its data network. Note that that indicator disappears when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. The carrier name and bars to the left of that indicator will tell you if you are connected to a wireless phone network. I suspect the registration of the IMEI is more important. Sprint still relies on 1x (2G) and EVDO (3G) technology for connection to the voice network. As far as I know, they still have not rolled out VoLTE (voice over LTE). These 2G and 3G features probably don't use the SIM card, but need the phone itself to be "activated" on the network in the same manner as was the case for 2G and 3G phones.
Fortunately, you don't need to read micro-print in the SIM tray. If the phone boots up, you can go to Settings -> General -> About and scroll down to get the IMEI number.
I expect you will be able to call Sprint's customer support and/or bring the phone to one of their stores to activate it.
A follow up to this discussion of iPhone battery replacement: I noticed recently that my replacement iPhone 6, which had stubbornly refused to re-establish contact with Sprint after the SIM from my deceased iPhone 6 was transferred into it, has at some point since then reconnected to the Sprint network. I don’t think I did anything that would have caused this to occur. It seems to have just automagically happened. Go figure.
 


I have a perplexing problem and would be grateful for others' experiences and/or recommendations.

Last year, my iPhone 6S started to suffer from fast battery drain. As Apple had the reduced price battery replacement programme, I took it to my local Apple Store and - after the Genius agreed that the battery showed degraded performance - it was replaced.

When there was marginal (if any) change to the speed of battery drain*, I tried reinstalling iOS after putting the phone into Recovery Mode (to force a complete wipe and download). Apart from signing-in to iCloud and pairing my Apple Watch, I managed with the stock apps for a week. Again, nothing changed. The Apple Store changed the battery again (even though I was pretty sure this was going nowhere) and nothing changed.

I decided at that point to re-install my apps one-by-one from the App Store and wait for iOS 12. When this came along, nothing changed, so I went through the backup/restore, wipe/reinstall apps processes again without any success.

After emailing to Tim Cook explaining my predicament, Executive Relations contacted me and asked me to work with second-level support. After several weeks, this resulted in agreement that the handset had a hardware issue, and it was replaced. This is where the perplexing part comes in: nothing changed.

I eventually got a new SIM - even though my carrier said it could not be to blame - so there is none of the original hardware. I've explained to Apple that (to me) this means there's a software problem and that, if it's not a fatal alignment of the hardware and the OS, it must either be something app-induced or - because it manifests with the stock apps - something bad in data that's being synced across iCloud.

I'm heavily invested in Apple's 'ecosystem', but I am loath in these circumstances simply to buy a new iPhone because there's no guarantee that anything will change. Short of going back to Tim Cook, I'm stuck.


*Typically, the battery drops quickly from 100% to 80-ish% after coming off charge and will be well under 20% within 5-6 hours. I am not a heavy voice or data user, but I do use location services for geofencing. I spend most of my day at a single location with excellent WiFi coverage and a decent 4G signal. None of these factors have changed since I bought the phone. I have not noticed any correlation between the amount of voice traffic or explicit data usage (emails, browsing, etc) and the speed of drain.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have a perplexing problem and would be grateful for others' experiences and/or recommendations....
One thing that can drain batteries quickly is simply using the iPhone as a phone. How much time you spend on actual phone calls?

Did Apple replace your iPhone 6S with another iPhone 6S?

And, have you checked the Settings > Battery > Battery Usage by App to see what that says?
 


One thing that can drain batteries quickly is simply using the iPhone as a phone. How much time you spend on actual phone calls?
Did Apple replace your iPhone 6S with another iPhone 6S?
And, have you checked the Settings > Battery > Battery Usage by App to see what that says?
Hardly any time on the phone most days - perhaps 15-20 minutes.

Yes. Another iPhone 6S.

Nothing stands out in the battery usage section: last 10 days:

Safari 17% (2h 13m on screen)
Mail 15% (1h 42m on screen, 28m background)
Calendar 7% (8m on screen, 46m background)
Phone comes in 5th (1h 18m on screen)

(Actually, it would be interesting to see what comes in at top of other users’ lists.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have a perplexing problem and would be grateful for others' experiences and/or recommendations....
And what cellular carrier service do you use?

Assuming the second iPhone 6S isn't defective, it seems to me that there must be some unusual drain involving radio communications. I'd try turning off Bluetooth, if you haven't already (although it's probably more than that). You could also turn off WiFi as an experiment.

I'm very curious to know if the iPhone drains at the same rate when you're in an entirely different location with good cellular service.
 


Being in a fringe-reception area for your carrier or frequently passing through carrier "dead spots" also will chew up battery time as the phone resorts to less-efficient radios or constantly trying to touch a tower.

Also, how are notifications and background refreshes set? In my experience, every iOS app assumes I'm breathlessly awaiting every morsel of information it can provide. :-p
 


And what cellular carrier service do you use?
Assuming the second iPhone 6S isn't defective […] I'd try turning off Bluetooth, if you haven't already (although it's probably more than that). You could also turn off WiFi as an experiment.
I'm very curious to know if the iPhone drains at the same rate when you're in an entirely different location with good cellular service.
I am on 3 in the UK on an unlimited data plan.

I know I was originally told by Apple to switch off Wi-Fi when away from Wi-Fi networks and cellular data off when in range of one. It made no difference. I’m not sure I’ve tried that with the new handset. Bluetooth is an option, though of course it’ll cut off the Apple Watch (which was changed from a Series 2 to Series 4 - non-cellular - during the saga.)

Of course, killing the radios is going to also not going to rule-out a data-induced error.

Drain seems fairly constant(ly fast) no matter where I am.

I suppose it’s possible that I have a second defective phone, but I’d like some more anecdotal evidence before approaching Apple with that idea!
 


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