Owners of iOS devices that aren’t holding a charge are in luck, thanks to a change Apple has made to its support policy.
Apple has changed the terms of its AppleCare+ extended warranty to allow replacements for iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Apple Watches with batteries that hold less than 80 percent of their original capacity. That’s an upgrade from the previous plan, which only offered free replacements for devices that dropped below 50 percent of their original capacity.
The change was noticed Friday in a post by MacRumors, and appears spurred on by Apple’s expectations for its smartwatch. The company has said that it expects the Watch’s battery will take about 1,000 full charge-discharge cycles before it drops below 80 percent capacity, which means that it will last for about two-and-a-half to three years. The changed policy only applies to devices purchased after April 9, so iPhone and iPad owners who got new hardware for the December holidays are still subject to the plan’s previous 50 percent requirement.
AppleCare+ covers the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch for two years, while purchasers of the solid gold Apple Watch Edition get three years of coverage. In addition to battery replacements, it covers other problems with the device, includes phone support, and allows users to get a lower-cost replacement of their device in the event of accidental damage.
Those people who don’t pay for AppleCare+ (which costs between $59 and $1,500, depending on the device) have to pay $79 for out-of-warranty battery replacements. The limited warranty on the hardware will cover battery defects during a device’s early life.
Changing the battery policy may make Apple’s extended warranty an easier purchase for people who want to buy one of the company’s new devices. What’s more, it may help alleviate the fears some people have about the Apple Watch’s battery life, since they will be able to get their smartwatch reloaded with a new battery if something goes wrong.