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Apple blocks software features if the battery is changed without authorization

At the end of 2017 it was discovered that Apple limited the performance of the iPhone if the battery was degraded. It was the trigger that caused the company to offer a much cheaper battery replacement, functions of software to notify the health of the same and in general facilities to replace the battery on the iPhone. Despite these facilities, in recent iPhone models obstacles have reappeared, if the battery has not been changed by Apple or an authorized iPhone supplier not recognize it correctly, even if it is original.

They have discovered on TheArtofRepair's YouTube channel and subsequently iFixit has researched and tested, there is a verification by software for each new battery It is placed on the iPhone. With this verification Apple manages that only its replacements to those of its authorized distributors offer all the functions on the iPhone.

If the battery of an iPhone of last generation is replaced right now and it is not done in an authorized position by Apple or in its own stores … a message appears in the Settings app. The message indicates that the battery requires repair, and is the one that normally appears when the battery is degraded or suffers damage for which it needs repair. The message will appear even with a completely new battery, it is more, also if the battery is original from Apple and not a white label.


The only way it doesn't appear? Apparently making the repair at Apple or one of its authorized distributors. This is because they have a software of own diagnosis that allows to indicate to the telephone that the battery placed is valid and can be used 100% of its functions.

Component chips to verify replacement

How does Apple know that a battery is original and verified? The answer is in a small microcontroller placed in each of the iPhone batteries. This small Texas Instruments chip tells the device battery capacity, temperature and current charge among other things. Actually this is not something Apple, almost all smartphones They operate similarly to obtain battery information.

The difference is that in the latest iPhone models (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR) the battery chip authenticates with the processor to verify at all times that it is the right battery on the right iPhone. And only Apple (and authorized dealers) with its software Diagnosis can match new batteries with iPhone processors.

iFixit explains that Technically it is possible to remove the chip from the initial battery to weld it to the new battery and thus trick the phone into believing that there has been no battery replacement. However, they say it is an expensive procedure and that the repair effort makes no sense for something as simple and common as changing a battery.

iPhone XS

These types of component chips are not new. The most common case is that of the Touch ID and its Error 53. In 2016, if users replaced the Touch ID of their iPhone in an unauthorized or self-owned store … the button stopped working. The reason was the same as we have seen with the battery, an internal chip informed and verified that there was a pairing with the telephone by authorization.

More recently, screen functions were also disabled if it was not replaced by Apple or Apple authorized. While the screen showed information and allowed to use its touch panel, some options such as auto brightness or True Tone (to modify the white balance automatically) they stopped working.

What reasons are there to require these verifications

As we can see, Unauthorized repairs may sometimes limit the device.. They do not completely block the new component, but they limit their functions of software. The exact reasons why this happens do not know, only Apple who sets these standards is who knows for sure. However, sometimes these checks may make sense for pure security reasons.

In a fantastic move HP publishes hundreds of videos on YouTube to guide you in the repair of your PCs and laptops

The Touch ID (and the Face ID) for example is a key piece for device security. Through it you can access Secure Enclave, an area where all passwords are stored and where any user authentication and confidential data pass. Therefore, if someone places a non-original or modified Touch ID button You can create a backdoor to access passwords and user data. In this sense, it is more than understandable that Apple wants to verify the repair so as not to bear the blame if something happens in the future with the user's data.

Disable True Tone or battery health functions? It is not entirely clear why, perhaps the device can be given somehow through these two components and it is a security measure to protect the rest of the equipment, although this is not something confirmed as the theme of the Touch ID, where Apple explained the reasons. From Xataka we have contacted Apple to see what is the company's position in this regard, we will update the article if we get an official response.

Goes | iFixitImage | iFixit

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