Apple products: they just work, unless you hold them wrong, or apparently, they’re exposed to too much air.
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Facing a growing numbers of iPhone 6s devices randomly shutting down due to battery problems, Apple has instituted a free repair program for some devices. In a message on its Chinese site (spotted by Business Insider), the company explained what it thinks caused the battery issues in the first place:
“We found that a small number of iPhone 6s devices made in September and October 2015 contained a battery component that was exposed to controlled ambient air longer than it should have been before being assembled into battery packs. 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.”
In true Apple style, the statement goes on to remind people that if their iPhone is breaking, it’s probably the fault of the dumb humans:
“We also want our customers to know that an iPhone is actually designed to shut down automatically under certain conditions, such as extremely cold temperature. To an iPhone user, some of those shutdowns might seem unexpected, but they are designed to protect the device’s electronics from low voltage.”
Thus far, Apple says the problem is only limited to a select group of iPhone 6s devices. You can go check your phone’s serial number on an Apple webpage, which will tell you if you’re eligible for a free repair.
If you do qualify, your best bet seems to be to make an appointment at the Apple Store. According to reader reports we’ve been hearing, the repair is performed as a one-hour in-store procedure, but it will take a few weeks for the battery to come in to the store, even if you have Apple Care.
According to Apple, the battery fault only affects some iPhone 6s models produced between September and October 2015. However, the China Consumers Association has said that Apple needs to take further measures, as the battery problem affects other iPhone versions, including the iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
There’s also a theory going around on the internet that the problems are being caused by iOS 10.1.1, and are not limited to the iPhone 6s. Apple has been adamant that this is a limited hardware problem, but it is possible that iOS 10.1.1 has a bug that’s causing battery draining or abrupt shutdowns as well. Apple has steadfastly avoided addressing that possibility so far.