7 ON YOUR SIDE: Knowing when and how to replace an iPhone battery

FILE - A Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 file photo of a customer setting up his new iPhone 7 Plus, right, as he switches from the iPhone 6 at the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL., during the release of the Apple iPhone 7. Dutch police arrested five Romanian men suspected of stealing iPhones worth 500,000 euros ($590,000) in a dangerous heist on a moving truck, a spokesman said Monday, July 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

7 ON YOUR SIDE looked into the difficulties in getting replacement iPhone batteries after Apple announced they slowed down processor speeds on phones with aging batteries.

First, you can find out if your battery is aging and may need replacement. Simply looking at the battery charge percentage on the upper right of your screen is not enough. You need to download a “battery checker” app from the Apple App store. Battery life is measured in milliamp hours, or “mAh.”

“What Apple has done, they’ve said that when your battery is no longer able to provide the power the processor needs to operate at peak performance, it scales that back,” said John Poole of His group uncovered the Apple-imposed phone slowdown.

Apple no longer requires a test to qualify for discounted battery replacement for iPhone 6 models and newer, first reported by French technology site iGeneration.

7 ON YOUR SIDE called three D.C.-area Apple stores, in Georgetown, Pentagon City and Clarendon, to determine if replacement batteries were immediately available. All calls were routed to a central office that declined to say whether individual stores had batteries in stock. All calls ended in strong encouragement to set up an appointment in advance to visit an Apple Store.

7 ON YOUR SIDE visited the Apple store in Georgetown, inquiring what the wait times would be a phone. We were told without an appointment, walk-in customers could expect a wait up to two hours. Even with an appointment, availability varies depending on the iPhone model. Those requesting batteries not available at the store will receive a paper reserving a battery order can take up to five days, according to an Apple employee.

iPhone models 5 and older are not eligible for a discounted battery purchase. They regularly cost $79 at the Apple Store. 7 ON YOUR SIDE found a company, iFixIt, that sends “do-it-yourself” kits to replace phone batteries for around $30. Apple warns any non-professional battery replacement can damage the phone if done improperly.

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