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Apple is shutting down features on iPhones with unauthorized batteries and repairs

An image of an iPhone is on display in the background as a customer, left, is helped at the Apple store in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.
An image of an iPhone is on display in the background as a customer, left, is helped at the Apple store in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019.
Mary Altaffer, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — New reports indicate Apple might be locking down features on iPhones with newer, third-party batteries.

iFixit reports Apple is using a “dormant software lock” on newer iPhones to discourage using third-party repairs and services. The issue in question affects the iPhone’s ability to report its own battery health — instead of showing the battery’s maximum charge and performance capability after installing an unauthorized battery, owners see a message indicating the iPhone can’t report battery data.

The same issue also pops up when a battery — even an authorized Apple part — is installed by a repair shop not affiliated with Apple.

“Unless an Apple Genius or an Apple Authorized Service Provider authenticates a battery to the phone, that phone will never show its battery health and always report a vague, ominous problem,” iFixit reports.

Gizmodo notes that the software lock affects the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and XS Max running iOS 12. Apple also acknowledges the feature on their support website, which encourages iPhone owners to contact an official Apple Authorized Service Provider to fix the issue.

This isn’t the first time Apple has been in the news for their repair policies. According to Gizmodo, the company updated its policies earlier this year to include phones with third-party batteries as products eligible for repairs. Previously, Apple technicians were asked to refuse to repair devices without Apple’s batteries.

The Verge also reports that the company caught flak back in 2017 for throttling power on older iPhones to preserve degrading battery life. Apple responded to criticism by lowering prices for battery replacements, leading to softer iPhone sales.