Ever since Apple announced in December that you could pay $29 to have your older-model iPhone battery replaced, customers have complained on social media about longer-than-promised wait times for the new power pack.
“I’m waiting for a replacement battery for my iPhone 6+! @Apple told me it would be 6 or 7 weeks! WTF?!!” said “Manny the Texican,” who lives in Dallas.
“Having a hard time understanding why @Apple takes so long to replace a battery. My iPhone battery will not hold a charge, and I'm still under warranty,” California resident Danielle Cullum said. “But they have to order my new battery and I won't get it for 2 - 5 weeks! Why will it take this long to resolve? @AppleSupport
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But it turns out there’s a shortcut that could allow you to get a new battery much faster than going to an Apple Store, according to an Apple spokesperson.
Instead, head to the Apple website to find an Apple Authorized Service Provider. These are independent stores that Apple has certified as being quality, trustworthy repair shops for Apple products.
Here, the wait times to get a new battery can be as little as an hour or less, depending on the location.
“We don’t tell them they have to take ticket like at the deli,” said Sandra Meneces, operations manager at PROACTECHS, an authorized service provider on Miami Beach just across from Apple’s flagship Lincoln Road store. Meneces says customers can expect a battery replacement “within a day or same-day.”
Consumer anger erupted after Apple admitted last year that it had been slowing down the performance of old iPhones to prevent older devices from shutting down as their batteries degraded.
According to MacRumors.com, the company is now facing nearly 60 class-action lawsuits from users in at least six countries who claim the performance slowdown was intended to push users to buy newer models. A March 29 hearing is scheduled in Atlanta to determine whether the U.S. lawsuits will be consolidated.
The battery replacements were supposed to go on sale in January. But in February, Business Insider reported that demand had been so huge that average wait times at Apple stores were then up to 2.7 weeks. According to angry customers who have taken to social media, the wait can be far longer.
“This order for an iPhone battery replacement—created on 24 Jan 2018—was supposed to take ~2 weeks. We're past the 1st week of March now; I've heard nothing & don't even have a case number. Disappointing. Is this usual?” Tweeted Kausik Datta, a senior research specialist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
The situation may be rosier at authorized replacement shops. An employee at OneClick Wynwood said replacing a battery for an iPhone 6 would take about an hour.
But smart consumers have learned to call their preferred repair shop rather than depend on online information. Some have reported making online appointments only to discover the battery isn’t available that day — or for several days — when they arrive at the store.
At PROACTECHS, Meneces says demand for replacement batteries has been so great that the store has hired two new full-time employees to meet demand.
“Especially in this location—I’m in the epicenter, where everyone coming from South America or for a cruise or from a connecting flight — wants a repair done,” she said.
In an email, MacRumors editor-in-chief Eric Slivka said it’s possible authorized repair dealers may have better stock because Apple Stores are usually the first option people think of when they need service, so they are being swamped with demand. Some people may not even be aware that discounted pricing is available from such designated representatives, he said.
Want to find the nearest option near you? Go to https://getsupport.apple.com, scroll to “battery replacement,” click “Bring in for Repair,” type in your Zipcode—and then find the options that aren’t Apple Stores.