Apple’s iPhone 15 includes a feature that shows how many cycles the battery has been through, which appears to be a direct response to concerns about rapid battery degradation in the iPhone 14. But a repair specialist has found that the new feature is disabled when the battery is replaced.
Ricky Panesar, founder of repair specialists iCorrect, discovered this when tearing down the recently released iPhone 15 Pro. When an iPhone 15 Pro battery is independently replaced with another genuine battery from the same iPhone model, the option to view the new battery health measurements disappears.
“If you replace the battery you will immediately lose functionality of battery health, and also the new cycle count feature. So there’s extra levels of pairing this year than there was last year with the battery… you’re punishing me [users] by not giving me the features.”
The new iOS 17 battery features include detailing exactly how many times the battery has been fully charged to 100% (known as a cycle), when it was manufactured and when it was first used. If the power pack is replaced without Apple’s authorization, it will simply say “unknown” next to the aforementioned categories. A warning message will also pop-up saying that the device is unable to determine if the battery is a genuine Apple part, even if it is.
The new battery health feature is a win for longevity and for giving second-hand buyers confidence when shopping. But the loss of the cycle count, and other metrics, undermines the new feature’s pro-user credentials because it makes it harder, and more expensive, for owners to replace their batteries by limiting who can carry out that repair.
Disabling battery metrics when the component isn’t replaced in a specific way is part of Apple’s policy of serialization, otherwise known as parts pairing.
The company is adding integrated circuits to individual components with unique serial numbers. If you want to replace your iPhone 15 battery, or any other component, you will need to use a genuine part—that can only be purchased from Apple—with a corresponding unique serial number and the parts have to be synced-up using Apple’s proprietary calibration tool. Serialization can be found all over the iPhone, MacBook Pro and iPad —from the camera to the display.
Elsewhere in the device, Panesar discovered that the front facing camera “glitches” when replaced with another genuine iPhone 15 camera module. The LiDAR sensor will lose some core functionality in certain apps if its replaced, which Panesar says has been the case since the iPhone 13, and the display loses its True Tone function when swapped.
There is some good news, though. There were concerns among the repair community that the introduction of USB-C could see the charging port paired to the logic board, which in theory could restrict iPhone 15 owners to only using Apple chargers or cables through reductions in data speed or warning messages. This was fuelled by some leaked images of the charging port before the iPhone 15 was released. However Panesar says that this isn’t the case and that the level of serialization in the iPhone 15 isn’t wildly different to the iPhone 14.
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