I have a confession to make, which I find hard to admit. I own an iPhone 6s.
It’s true, the world has left me behind, but I’ve been happy with it up until the last few months before it started behaving like it was possessed, and would randomly switch off when it didn’t want to play.
So I was understandably thrilled when I discovered Apple was reducing the price of out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements in 2018 by $A80 — from $A119 to $A39 — for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needed to be, erm, replaced.
Where do I sign up, I thought?
Well, it really was a simple process. I jumped online, made an appointment at my local Genius Bar and I was excited to give my old mate the new lease on life it so desperately deserved.
According to the tech experts at Apple there are two things you must do prior to your appointment.
The first and most important, you need to back-up your phone, just in case things go horribly wrong.
The second, you need to turn off Find My iPhone, which in all honesty I don’t even know how to use.
But there’s one thing they don’t tell you. Don’t expect to get your phone back with a new battery fully charged.
In fact, in my case my phone was returned with a new battery that was near-dead — but we’ll get to that later.
On the day of my 11.55am appointment it started off splendidly. I saw a bloke called Leandro who was bang on time, and was utterly brilliant in more ways than one.
Super friendly? Check. A great listener? Yep. A manager of the future? You betcha!
It was crystal clear from the get-go I was in good hands. Leandro informed me my battery was currently running at 83 per cent, so I indeed would benefit from a replacement.
If I could have cartwheeled I would have.
As I handed over my phone and signed one of those ridiculous tablets that makes everyone’s handwriting look like the scrawl of a serial killer, I was informed my phone would be ready for pick-up at 3.15pm.
Wow, I thought, that’s a long time to change a battery. But I get it, it’s a busy time of the year, blah blah blah, and the hardworking oompa loompas out back must be run off their feet. So I left Apple’s glass prism and hit the sales ready to kill some time. Well, a lot of time.
By the time 1pm passed I was getting fidgety, and I was already sick and tired of asking people the time. By 2pm I started going through Instagram withdrawals and I was breaking out in sweats.
Come 2.40-ish I was a wreck and decided to head back to Apple to try my luck and see if my phone was ready. It wasn’t.
So I wandered around the store for what seemed like half an hour – it was probably 10 minutes – and I asked a sales assistant again. Still not ready. Bugger.
Then I approached her again while she was having a good old chat with a fellow workmate, and before she even bothered to look at her handset, which looked like it gave her powers to teleport to the mothership at any given moment, she said, still not ready.
I told her I would come back in five minutes, slightly annoyed.
Look, it wasn’t her fault, but what was her fault was that I started to become a bit of a joke and it seemed she and her colleague was having a good old laugh at my expense. Of course, that stopped when she caught my eye line.
Eventually my phone was ready, just shy of the 3.15pm pick up time, and I was giddy with excitement. Who knows what madcap hijinks Kris Jenner had been up to over the past three hours and twenty minutes? But that’s when it all took a left turn.
When I was handed back my phone, and charged 39 bucks, my new battery had six per cent charge on it! What the hell was I meant to do with that?
When I quizzed the sales assistant about it, who just happily ‘tapped’ my card, he informed me that new batteries degrade over time and how they arrive from the warehouse is really anyone’s guess. And then he said I was welcome to charge it in store?
I’ve already spent enough time in this store today, I responded, is there any chance I can see a manager? And like magic, one teleported from the mothership, and I conveyed my case.
Look, it’s taken three hours to change a battery, and Apple have returned my phone with six per cent charge. Do you think it’s cool to return anyone’s phone in this state – and then say they’re welcome to charge it in store?
And if such dramatic battery degradation has been “known” to happen, why don’t you let people know in advance that their phone might be returned close to dead. I mean, you have a website, right?
His suggestion: I could always buy a battery pack. #DidHeReallySayThat?
“If I was in your shoes I would be a little taken aback, too,” says an Apple Care representative, who went on to explain – wait for it – battery degradation.
“I can assure you Apple wants you to have the best experience you possibly can.”
So the moral to this story is: you have three days to meet the December 31 deadline to benefit from Apple’s discounted battery replacement, which really is an exceptional deal.
But keep in mind your new battery may not have enough charge to get you through the day, heaven forbid out the door, so I would highly suggest bringing a back-up battery pack just in case.
Unless you want to spring for one in store …