News Brief

Apple says a “very small percentage” of the iPhone 5 handsets it has sold in the U.S. and China have battery problems and “may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.” The company is offering free replacement batteries for some of the phones it has sold, and has more details here.


@Walt French. Let's be clear.  Totally agree that high risk activity requires preparation you speak of.  This is not about "127 Hours".  

This is about being a parent in Nebraska who sends his kid out in a car in the dead of winter to go to work.  The kid is seven miles from home.  It is 15 below zero.  If his car breaks down on a rural road, the kid could die trying to walk home.  That phone needs to work.  This plays out every day for people in rural areas, on rural roads, in state parks, in countless areas and situations where you need help immediately and would not want your phone to go dead unexpectedly. 

What is wrong with expecting Apple to notify us as soon as they know this is a real problem?  The Apple message boards are loaded with complaints about this dating back a long time.  

If you ran Apple and you knew about this a year ago, when would you announce this recall?

Do you think Apple just figured out last week that this is a problem?

Either way, Apple's customers deserve better.


"A very small percentage." Really. Given that about 40 million iPhones were sold in the first 90 days after release, the actual number of defective phones out there is probably in the millions.

This is a huge public safety issue. If you're in a remote area and your battery says 38% and then it just dies, you might die too. I've struggled with the 5 for close to a year now, the battery discharging without warning. You plug it in and it wakes up - the meter picks up where you left off - sometimes 40% or more.

Great timing isn't it? They'll save millions in replacements from folks who will just trash the 5 and order the 6 rather than deal with this.

What did they know....and when did they know it?

If they just figured out that this is a problem, they must be daft. The message boards are full of people searching for solutions - and hearing over and over how they just need to turn off location services, or programs running in the background. In other words, disable all the stuff that makes the device great.

If they have known about it as long as users have, they are unethical. We deserved to know that our device, which we paid over $600 for, is defective, in a way that can threaten your safety, and at the very least take a chunk out of your productivity.

Mark McLaughlin
Mark McLaughlin

This has a funny side because, even though Apple lovers are incredibly loyal and attached to their iPhones, everyone of them has developed savvy strategies for dealing with the battery life. Everyone I know with an iPhone 5 would totally understand this... "“may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.”

J Peters
J Peters

@Cellman  Typical Apple. They did the same thing when their phones kept losing signal and finally offered a free case to people. Seriously, a free case! What if I don't want my phone in a case? Anyhow, I ditched Apple long ago (I still have an iPad I rarely use) and haven't looked back. My new phone is a BlackBerry Z30 which is literally years ahead of any Apple product and BTW, the battery lasts me over a full day. Have a look at the Z30's ratings on the Verizon website. Pretty much every customer review gives it a well deserved five out of five stars.

Walt French
Walt French

@Cellman Better get a grip: no company will assume liability for whatever stunts you involve yourself in, that may need to call 911 on short notice.

If you like that lifestyle, you should have a backup phone, probably on a second network. Also, leave both of 'em turned off so as to ensure a full charge.

Meanwhile, you say this is a life-threatening issue for you, but you apparently didn't document to Apple that it suddenly went from a calibrated 38% charge down to zero.

I had a defective iPhone5, too: asking Siri for driving instructions would shut down the data network (and drop the LTE connetion, too). Weird, huh? It wasn't hard to show the person at the Apple Store, who replaced my phone on the spot.

So: your problem might have been the one that Apple has determined is actually a flaw; if so, you can get it fixed immediately—probably, by a replacement. Meanwhile, you are living your life in a not-smart way. Get better backup for your high-risk activities.


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