Over the past few weeks, a number of iPhone owners have made note of an issue that causes their phones to shut down with around 30% battery left.
Apple first addressed the problem in late November, saying that a “very small number of iPhone 6s devices” were affected. It opened up a free battery exchange program for those phones it deemed vulnerable.
More and more complaints have come to light since then, though, with many claiming to suffer from the same issue on iPhones beyond the 6s. Apple Store employees have reportedly been inundated with grievances over the issue, and a Chinese consumer watchdog has claimed that the battery flaw is more widespread than Apple has let on.
All this of led Apple to issue a statement last week, when it reiterated that the problem should only apply to a select number of iPhone 6s devices manufactured between September and October 2015, and chalked the issue up to excess “ambient air” being let into a battery component within those devices during manufacturing. In other words, a hardware problem.
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The complaints have kept rolling in, though, so Apple on Tuesday put out another statement on its Chinese language website. As spotted by 9to5Mac, the new note acknowledges that “a small number of customers outside the affected range have also reported an unexpected shutdown.”
Though the company isn’t opening up its battery replacement program to more iPhones, it says it will include “additional diagnostic capability” in a forthcoming iOS update, which should help it see if there’s anything it can do on a software level to help with the unexpected shutdown problem.
“This will allow us to gather information over the coming weeks which may potentially help us improve the algorithms used to manage battery performance and shutdown,” the statement says. “If such improvements can be made, they will be delivered in future software updates.”
Apple says the software update will roll out next week.
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Kyle Wiens, head of popular device repair site iFixit, told Business Insider that iPhone batteries are generally designed to last for 400 charging cycles. That amounts to roughly two years of “regular” use. If someone isn’t careful with how liberally they charge their phone, though, they may run into this sort of battery “failure mode” sooner.
All of this is to say that not every iPhone user complaining about random shutdowns is probably suffering from the battery flaw Apple has addressed here. Sometimes, a battery is just nearing its end.
That said, it’s clear that some newer batteries are failing sooner than usual – it’s just hard to tell which of those are due to explicit manufacturing or software flaws on Apple’s part.
For now, though, you can either check Apple’s webpage to see if you’re eligible for a battery replacement, or hope that there’s some sort of software fix after all.