I received an interesting message from a reader a few days ago that got me thinking.
“Hey, I had my iPhone’s battery replaced a few weeks ago by a repair shop (not Apple). The guy was eager to show me that the battery was new and hadn’t been used by showing me that it had only 2 recharge cycles on it (he said it was a factory charge). But I’m now feeling that my ‘new’ battery is worse than the old one. Is it my iPhone or was I ripped off?”
Sorry to tell you, but you probably have been ripped off, and you were likely sold an old battery.
While many iPhone repair shops are honest and legitimate, some are not. And the problem is that tools exist to dupe people into thinking that old, worn out batteries are new and fresh out of the factory (because externally, an old battery doesn’t look different to a new one).
For example, eBay is awash with iPhone battery testers that allow the recharge cycle count to be cleared or set to a low level (and tools that can read the recharge cycles, such as Coconut Battery, cannot tell that this figure has been reset). Other than duping people, I’m having a hard time coming up with a legitimate use for this feature, especially since you have to physically remove the battery from the iPhone to do it.
No, the primary use for this is to reset the charge cycle count on old batteries so they can be sold on as new.
It’s a scam that feeds itself, which makes it profitable.
Must read: Get more done with your iPhone: Tips and tricks for power users (free PDF)
You get an old battery, reset the charge cycle count on it, sell it to someone else, take their battery, reset the charge cycle count on that, sell that… rinse and repeat.
It’s just one of the ways that the unscrupulous take advantage of people.
So, with that in mind, be careful out there. If in any doubt, get Apple to do the job for you, or buy a battery from a reputable supplier – such as iFixit – and do the job yourself.