Apple's Excuse For Random iPhone Shutdowns Sounds Weird But OK

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

After Apple announced it would offer customers replacement batteries for the iPhone 6S batch that randomly shuts off, the company now knows why the problem occurred: air. Specifically, ambient air a crucial battery component was exposed to for too long.

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In a press release, the company explained that in September and October 2015, “a small number of iPhone 6S devices...contained a battery component that was exposed to controlled ambient air longer than it should have been before being assembled into battery packs.”

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“As a result, these batteries degrade faster than a normal battery and cause unexpected shutdowns to occur. It’s important to note, this is not a safety issue,” Apple said.

An important lesson Apple just learned: don’t leave the batteries outside for too long.

The company is offering free battery replacements. You can check to see if you qualify here. My phone has been randomly shutting down and I qualify for a free battery, today I went to the Genius Bar to get a replacement. The demand for new batteries is large enough for them to be on backorder—I should get mine in a week or two—so I’m wondering what Apple’s definition of a “small amount” is.

My mother is also waiting on a new battery for her 6S, and noted, “What is really odd though is that I had a battery problem with my iPhone 5. It turned out it was also eligible for a free replacement battery. I suspect many iPhones have big problems that Apple doesn’t acknowledge.”

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Maybe Apple just figured it out—it’s air. Maybe it’s deeper. Only time will tell.

[Apple via Digital Journal]

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Eve Peyser was the night editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

Apple’s response to any issue is always ignore, ignore, ignore, shhhhh, maybe slip out a software fix that mitigates the problem. That they’re actually acknowledging this means it’s not a small number of devices.

The air thing makes perfect sense though. Lots of components need to be sealed against air or they oxidize (build up a layer of crud on the terminals may be what happened here) or the hydrophilic components suck too much water from the air... These components are often made in near vacuum or inert gas before being sealed and it sounds like someone blew that step.