Apple will release an iOS update to help resolve the growing number of iPhone 6s battery shutdowns

The issue that's causing iPhone 6s batteries to unexpectedly shutdown is bigger than originally anticipated.

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The number of people affected by iPhone 6s battery issues is growing to the point that Apple is now looking into a software fix.

Apple admitted on its Chinese support website this week that “customers outside of the affected range” are also experiencing unexpected shutdowns due to a faulty battery on their iPhone 6s. This means that Apple has spotted similar problems with devices that were manufactured outside the original September and October 2015 timeframe.

To address the issue, Apple started offering free replacement batteries to the affected customers. But as the problem continues to appear on more devices, Apple is preparing a diagnostic tool to gather more information and figure out if it can be resolved with a forthcoming iOS update.

Apple’s Chinese website now includes the following information:

“We are including additional diagnostic capability in an iOS software update which will be available next week. This will allow us to gather information over the coming weeks which may potentially help us improve the algorithms used to manage battery performance and shutdown. If such improvements can be made, they will be delivered in future software updates.”

The diagnostic tool will presumably come in the form of iOS 10.2 next week. Apple has said that the issue stems from some batteries being overexposed to “controlled ambient air” during manufacturing.

The impact on you: Apple has instated a battery replacement program for affected iPhone 6s devices. If you are affected by unexpected battery shutdowns, you will need to make an appointment at your local Apple store to verify that your iPhone 6s is eligible for the free battery replacement. An Apple store employee will also check for a broken screen, scratches, or dents that would require additional repairs not covered by the replacement program.

In most cases, the replacement battery will have to be ordered and might take up to seven days to arrive. In the meantime, you’ll be instructed to do an iPhone backup and to turn off Find My iPhone. Once your replacement battery has arrived, you will need to drop-off your iPhone 6s at the Apple store. Then, it will take anywhere from one or two hours for the battery to be replaced.

According to the work authorization receipt, a battery replacement kit is valued at $79, but it is free for customers who qualify for the program. You can check here to see if your iPhone 6s might be eligible for a free battery replacement.

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