Apple iPhone 5 owners who have been experiencing problems with the battery life on their devices could now be eligible for a free battery replacement under a new repair program announced Aug. 22 by the company.
"Apple has determined that a very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently," the company said in the post on a battery replacement information page on its Website. "The affected iPhone 5 devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013 and fall within a limited serial number range."
The affected iPhone 5 batteries will be replaced if a user's phone is experiencing these symptoms and has a serial number that meets eligibility requirements. The phone's serial number can be entered into a registration checker feature on the information page, and the site will tell the user if the phone is covered under the new battery replacement program.
So far, the replacement process is available immediately in the United States and China, with additional countries offering the extended battery replacement program starting Aug. 29, according to Apple. To get their phones repaired, iPhone 5 users will be able to take the affected units to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or an Apple Retail Store, or contact Apple Technical Support.
Before sending off their iPhone 5 devices for service, owners must back up their data to iTunes or iCloud, turn off Find my iPhone, and erase data and settings in Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings, according to Apple.
If a user's phone has any other pre-existing damage, such as a cracked screen, that impairs the replacement of the battery, "that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement," Apple states on the battery information page. "In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair."
In addition, any user who paid for a replacement battery for his or her iPhone 5S before the official announcement on Aug. 22 can contact Apple about a refund, according to the company.
"This worldwide Apple program doesn't extend the standard warranty coverage of the iPhone 5," according to the company. "The program covers affected iPhone 5 batteries for two years after the first retail sale of the unit or until March 1, 2015, whichever provides longer coverage."
In May, Apple issued a similar replacement program for a defective sleep/wake button on some iPhone 5 devices that either would stop working or work only intermittently. That repair program was aimed at iPhone 5 devices that were manufactured through March 2013, according to the company.
This is certainly not the first time that iPhones have received complaints about battery life and other issues. Owners of iPhone 4S units reported similar battery life issues back in late 2011, even after Apple had pushed through an iOS update designed to fix "bugs" related to the problem, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The problem had occurred after a new iOS 5.0.1 update reportedly failed to solve the battery drain problem for some users.
Reports of battery issues with iOS 5 originally erupted on the Web near the end of October 2011, with a discussion thread on Apple's Website quickly filling with users irate over their iPhone 4S battery life.
That problem was preceded by issues faced by some iPhone 4S users earlier, who had complained about dropped calls whenever users gripped the device in a certain way with their bare hands. It took Apple some time to arrive at a solution for the original iPhone 4 conundrum, namely issuing free rubber bumpers to device owners. The bumpers blocked the device's exterior antenna rim from skin contact, resolving the issue.