How Apple will handle replacements for iPhone 5s units with battery problems


Earlier this week, Apple confirmed that some iPhone 5s units are affected by battery-life issues due to a manufacturing glitch. Apple said that customers with affected units would be contacted to receive a replacement device. Now, sources have shared some details into how exactly that process will work. Besides what is listed in the quote from Apple’s PR department, Apple has told AppleCare representatives that the issue can cause “shortened battery life, longer charge times, or a battery that will no longer charge…”

Apple will personally contact customers who own iPhone 5s units with affected serial numbers via a phone call. If a customer feels that their phone is affected, but has not yet received a call, they may feel inclined to call AppleCare. If they do, the AppleCare representative can enter their serial number into the system and check to see if their phone is eligible for a replacement. If the phone is not deemed to be in the group of units with the manufacturing issue, AppleCare is instructed to troubleshoot the phone with normal guidelines.

If the phone is eligible for a swap, the AppleCare advisor will be able to organize a replacement via one of several options. The representative can organize a Genius Bar appointment for the replacement to be conducted, or arragne for a replacement at a local authorized reseller. The third option is to send a replacement phone directly to the customer’s home. The customer will be given shipping material to send back the affected device. AppleCare representatives will recommend that customers backup their phones before having them replaced.

Apple has not disclosed an exact number of affected devices, but based on claims from early reports and the fact that customers will be called personally, the number seems to be in the low-thousands range.

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  1. Robert del Junco - 9 years ago

    What about iPhone 5’s. My battery life is terrible after iOS 7 and was great with iOS 6

    • Michael Rygaard - 9 years ago

      on my phone and 3 others there are absolutely NO – NON – ZERO difference between battery life and iOS6 vs iOS 7 (it showed 1 or 2 % during a whole day, but that is under what is statistic significant, and could be due to more wet weather)

      The biggest issue of all – is your carrier, if I have my phone idle no wifi, no BT, not App running (and left alone near a window) – My iPhone will use 0.5% battery pr hour while on 3 (Danish Carrier) and will use close to 8% pr hour when on Telia – I live 5 KM from the Center of Copenhagen, so its not because im at some strange rural area.

      But that is pretty significant to me ! (got about the same numbers on iOS 6 and iOS 7 – Both tested on iPhone 5s (1 of thouse) and tested on 3x iPhone 5)

    • bwulfe - 9 years ago

      There is a major distinction between the small percentage of 5S devices with defective batteries and overall battery life that is universally impacted on virtually all iOS handsets due to code in a new OS. It’s nothing out of the norm for a major OS upgrade (iOS, Android, Windows or any other platform). The same thing happened with all existing iOS devices in the initial move from iOS 4 to 5 and 5 to 6. Early versions tend to have bugs (often related to new features) and code that has not been fully optimized. It’s nothing intentional; rather there are simply too many variables to fully test within the certified developer community, prior to launching a major OS upgrade. You will see lots of early updates within the first couple of months as Apple finds and fixes battery sucking code; along with discovering and patching other glitches. (And they still do a far better job with the initial rollout of their consumer products than the bureaucrats seem capable of doing with their new UNaffordable healthcare system … as a man; it’s so reassuring to know that my 100% more expensive insurance will cover me if I ever get pregnant …. but I digress out of frustration, so back to the topic at hand …)

      Your battery life will also be impacted by some of the background processing and user interface “enhancements”; specific to iOS 7. You should be able to regain much of your lost battery life if you turn off the Parallax and other UI sugar coating by going into settings->general->accessibility and turning on the “Reduce Motion” option. Turning off features such as automatic background app updates and disabling background app refresh will also gain you additional battery life.

      It’s reasonable to expect that if your phone is continuing to work in the background; then it will require some additional power to accomplish that work. It’s a trade-off; better features for slightly reduced available battery time. Considering the size of the handset; iPhone’s tend to get far better battery life than competing platforms.

      Anyone who regularly visits 9-5 mac or any other Apple-centric Blog / web site should instinctively know that if device stability and battery life are truly critical; you should never install version X.00 of any OS upgrade. Wait a few weeks for them to work out most of the major bugs. Personally; regardless of the OS version, I always utilize my device so much that I never rely solely upon the built-in battery. Every time i upgrade handsets; I also purchase a case that includes a secondary battery. (For my new 5S, I chose an i-battz model that uses an inexpensive LiPo cell that you can quickly change out. It comes wit two 2200 mAh cells and I was able to purchase an additional 2 2300 mAh cells and wall charger (via Amazon) for $13.99. With approximately 5X the stock battery power on-hand at any time; I never have to worry about my iPhone running low on battery life. Considering the initial cost of an iPhone (not to mention the monthly carrier voice & data fees) it seems short-sighted not to invest a little more into a case that will not only protect your phone; but keep it running longer as well. (JMHO)

  2. Mr. Grey (@mister_grey) - 9 years ago

    Apple’s policy for in store replacements due to manufacturing defects has always been to replace it with a refurbished “genius stock” item. If I had a phone with this problem I would make sure to do it by the mail route just to make sure that you are actually getting a new device instead of refurbished.

    • andreww500 - 9 years ago

      I think at this point since the phone is so new, they would use new phones as replacements. In the past it’s been a few months before they start using refurbished units.

      • Herman Aubel - 9 years ago

        I have a new iPhone 5s. The charge doesn’t last 8 hours. I restored the phone and left it without any apps and it didn’t change anything. Apple won’t give me a new phone but a refurbished one, even if I do it by mail. It’s such a scam!

  3. What about iPhone 5? ever since upgrading to iOS 7.0.3 my phone shuts off at 6%. i turn it back on and it’s 12% I mean sure I could just turn off the Percentage Meter, but I wanna know what the hell is wrong with my phone

  4. applecpugeek - 9 years ago

    Just called apple about this. They explained to me the whole process. Some of the things in here are INCORRECT.
    Your options (I don’t live near an apple store btw):
    1. You can send in your phone to them to see what’s wrong and they could repair it (process will take 7-10 days)
    2. You can request a new phone. You will be required to send in your old phone and your card will be put on a $649 hold and charged $29 for the new iPhone they ship to you. Once you send in your phone and apple determines that your phone is faulty, they will let go of the $649 ( if you are a 16GB user) and only charge you $29 for shipping. If they determine your device is not faulty, you are required to send in the device they sent you and they will send you your old device back. If you decide to not send their phone back, you will be charged he $649. If you don’t send them your phone and they only send their phone, you will be charged $649.
    Also, this process is a model for model process. They will give you the same exact color as you currently have and size capacity. You can’t ask for another color different than the one you have already.

    That’s how it all works if you don’t live near an Apple Store!

    • applecpugeek - 9 years ago

      They would also send you a BRAND NEW device replacement. Not refurbished. Also, my phone was under the faulty devices list. :(

      • Anthony (@DCIFRTHS) - 9 years ago

        When did you purchase your phone? Also, if they have flagged your phone as defective, how could they possibly tell you it isn’t defective when you send it back to them?

  5. Giyermo Muhammad Angel - 9 years ago

    I returned my rattling iphone 5s today through a convoluted refund and new purchase transaction in the San Diego Store. The sales guy admitted this is an issue that is affecting a lot of people. He wouldn’t officially admit it’s a problem though he sympathised. He said its on his phone also and is on all phones, and recommended a case to stop the rattle (which is a huge cop out). So I got a new 5s today and low and behold it has the same rattling issue, which I knew about in the store , but I I took it out of exasperation. This was wasted about 5 hours of my time, with re sync ups etc.

    I phoned apple customer care this morning and seem to have got through to a US call center. The guy was formal and refs out a statement from apple saying that the camera lens and on off button move etc and that this is part of the manufacturing technique bla bla bla. He claimed he hadn’t heard about this issue before, which I doubt.

    Some store managers will pretend with a straight face that it’s not an issue and that it’s designed like that. I also went to Otay Ranch store today to double check and spoke with two apple guys together, one the manager of the store. When they heard my rattle complaint there was a nervousness of recognition in their eyes although they would not admit to it’s being a problem.

    So for now I give up but in my mind this is a nasty tactic from apple execs to stifle debate and complaints and has permanently damaged their reputation.

    I look forward to the rise of a superior competitor which I will gladly flock to and convince all my friends and corporate buyers to do likewise

  6. Dakota James Herren - 9 years ago

    With my iPhone 5, I’ll just be sitting there, I’ll check my phone, it’s at 50%, then 10 seconds later, it’s at 14%. I’ve had several occasions that this has happened, and it’s never a fun time, especially during work because I need GPS. The times that I am next to a charger when this situation occurs, I plug my phone in, then it just jumps up to 50% when it was sitting at 15% or even lower. Or I’ll be there, on the home menu for a minute at 30%, then my phone will just die; completely dead, wont turn on what so ever.

  7. jadedgal05 - 9 years ago

    I received my iPhone 5S after waiting 3+ weeks for it in the mail, but, that’s what I get for telling my husband that I want the gold one.

    So far I’ve had no “rattling” issues, I hadn’t even heard that was a problem until hitting the internet. BUT, I have noticed that recently, the past 2-3 days, after charging my iPhone overnight, my battery only shows 97-99%. It goes to 100% after a hard re-start (holding the home & power button until the Apple icon pops on screen). This isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s a pain in my ass. I’m going to monitor this to see if it improves/changes at all/gets worse/etc.

    I will say that yes, my battery life is crap. It’s 8:41am, I took my phone off the charger at 6:20am after charging all night, (it only said 99% when I did so) & now, 2 hours later it’s at 85%. I’ve surfed the web but not much besides that, so yeah, the battery life is a bit ridiculous on the weak side.

    I had problems with my iPhone 5 about 4-5 months ago too. Right around the 7 month mark of ownership my iPhone 5 would start powering down anytime after it hit 20% or less. If it was 30% or less & I used my camera it also powered down. But once I plugged my phone in to a charger it would start right back up, one occasion I plugged it in & it fired back up, showing the 8% battery remaining & I then noticed my charger wasn’t even plugged into the wall. Of course it died immediately after startup but seriously, once I plugged in the lightning jack, even without being attached to a power source, on it came…..

    Strange. So I went to the website, ram a diagnostic, then made an appointment at the Apple store. The Apple rep ran tests, then went to the back, came out with a new iPhone 5, it was in an actual iPhone box as when I 1st bought it, not blank. He then proceeded to open up my sim tray, put it in the new phone & told me to go home & restore it to backup & have a nice day. It was easy enough & my phone was not refurbished. Of course now I have the 5S so it’s not like it matters or not.

    My sister is now having the same problem though, so I encouraged her to take it to the Apple store as well. While it doesn’t “thrill” me that stuff like this is happening, I’m not going to walk away from Apple because of it. I’ve owned every model, starting w/ the 1st Gen, back when you had to pay for the entire phone, no contract discounts available. From the 1st Gen, to the 3, 3GS, the 4, the 4S, my 5 & now the 5S, even with issues & glitches I still love Apple & will ALWAYS have the an iPhone, I swap out with every new generation.

    Apple, in me, has a customer for LIFE. They’d have to screw up mighty hard to lose me….

    • mikeymeyer - 9 years ago

      I’ve got the exact issue, charges to 98% or 99% and runs down to 90% very fast. Interestingly, when I plug into the car on the way to work to listen to an audiobook, it goes to 100% and stays there for a long time, even with lots of use. I’m not sure what to do except watch it for now.

  8. Leonar Cruz - 8 years ago

    I purchased my Apple 5s Xmas 2014 and today it stop working completely. The battery seems to be dead. It does not charge. I need a call from Apple Care to see what they can do to replace my phone.

    • Leonar Cruz - 8 years ago

      For a moment, today, when my beautiful 5s iphone did not turn on and the battery did not charge I thought I had done something wrong but now that I have read comments from other disgruntled clients and I see that I am not the only one with a dead phone which is only six months old. I am so upset that I cannot sleep right now. I loved the look of my phone. It looked lile a perfect little jewel but now I do not trust it.

      • Leonar Cruz - 8 years ago

        For a moment, today, when my beautiful 5s iphone did not turn on and the battery would not charge I thought I had done something wrong but now that I have read comments from other disgruntled clients and I see that I am not the only one with a dead phone which is only six months old. I am so upset that I cannot sleep right now. I Loved the look of my phone. It looked to me like a perfect little jewel but now now I do not trust it.