If you’ve got a years-old iPhone, you should probably take advantage of Apple’s discounted $29 battery replacement program before it ends on December 31. Owners of the iPhone 6 and newer models are entitled to the special pricing after it was discovered the company had been throttling processors on those devices to compensate for degraded batteries.
But how do you go about taking Apple up on its offer? And more importantly, how do you determine if you’re even eligible in the first place? Thankfully, the entire process is remarkably simple.
Updated Dec. 21
As the year winds down, now's a good time to point out that if you haven't already redeemed your $29 iPhone battery replacement, there are only a few more days left to do so. Your last chance to get it is Dec. 31 — after that, prices will rise across the board.
Starting New Year's day, out-of-warranty battery exchange costs for the iPhone 6 series, 6S series, SE, 7 series and 8 series will go from $29 to $49. The iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR will run $69, though it's important to point out that out of those four X series devices, only the original iPhone X is eligible for the $29 discount in 2018.
With a little more than a week remaining to swap out your iPhone's old battery, it stands to reason customers will be swarming Apple Stores and authorized service centers until the promotion ends. Good luck braving the crowds, and check in with a few different locations if possible — you may just find the perfect opening.
How to find out if you’re eligible
To qualify for the reduced pricing, you must have an out-of-warranty iPhone 6 or newer model (excluding the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR) with no significant damage that would preclude the battery installation. Interestingly, while Apple’s initial announcement stipulated it would only make the offer available to customers “whose batteries need to be replaced,” the discount is actually available to all users, regardless of the current health of their phone’s battery.
Previously, Apple’s diagnostic test classified a worn battery as having retained 80 percent or less of its original capacity. This is also the level upon which iPhone 6 and newer models running at least iOS 10.2.1 begin limiting performance. However, that threshold has no bearing on this promotion, meaning if you've got a qualifying iPhone, you should probably swap out the battery this year just to extend your phone's lifespan regardless if you absolutely need a new battery now or not.
How to check your battery's health
Still, if you’d like to know precisely how depleted your battery is before sending it in for service, you have a few options. You can start by going directly to the source: Apple can conduct a diagnostic test remotely if you get in touch with a support expert.
Alternatively, recent updates to iOS now feature a tool called Battery Health (Beta) that can tell you where your iPhone currently stands. To access it, open Settings, then go to Battery, then Battery Health (Beta). The resulting screen will list your unit's maximum capacity, and if it's below 80 percent, you can instruct your iPhone whether to throttle performance for improved longevity or maintain maximum performance at the risk of random shutdowns. As a personal example, my iPhone 7, which I bought in December 2016, has lost 12 percent of its capacity by April 2018.
How to get your battery replacement
Again, your guide is Apple’s Support site. There you can schedule a service date at an Apple Store or one of the company’s authorized service providers, like Best Buy. All authorized service providers should honor the $29 fee, but it’s worth double checking ahead of time to be safe.
Conversely, you could also send your iPhone to Apple by mail, though you’ll have to foot the bill for shipping. You can request a box to send it in, which should arrive one to three days later; you can also drop your iPhone off at any UPS Store with the appropriate documentation for the repair. (UPS has a partnership with Apple where it’ll take care of the preparation, so no need to pack it up.)
If the delay at the Apple Store is a deal-breaker, there are a number of non-authorized but still great services out there that will replace your iPhone’s battery, though there’s no guarantee they’ll match Apple’s $29 price. You’ll also void your warranty by going with one of these companies, but that won’t matter much if your iPhone’s year-long warranty has already expired. In the meantime, if you're still hunting for ways to get the most out of the battery that's already in your device, check out our list of battery saving tips every iPhone owner should try.