Well that was a surprisingly bad Apple Store experience…

Remember the battery amnesty? Despite the stores doing everything they could to try to convince me not to replace the batteries, I insisted and persisted. I figured $29 would buy me the start of a new battery life-cycle.

Less than 2 years later, my daughter’s iPhone SE battery is dead.

Let me try to explain how important her iPhone is to her. She goes everywhere with it: to stores, in the car, at appointments. There is no time when she’s not tapping on it, from morning until she sleeps. It’s one of those neurodiversity things and it is her great comfort.

It took us a couple of weeks until we could finally snag an appointment last week and the appointment was for today. I have just returned.

It seems that instead of replacing her battery, they gave her back her original one–and her original iPhone, apparently. They had planned on replacing the phone as well, which I remember we were told was an option, but didn’t. The genius figured this out because her serial number was supposed to retired at the time they traded it out but instead they never did.

But because of that her device as a serial number that the Apple corporate system considers invalid. We could not get a loaner. We could not get a repair. And we won’t be able to even start our process for a few weeks more because the serial number issue must be addressed before they can even talk to us about the bad battery.

So after driving almost an hour each way, we got, well, nowhere.

No phone, and no timeline in which we can estimate how to move forward. Our only option, according to the genius, was to buy a new phone and wait it out. I declined the purchase.

So, they’ll look into it and we should get a phone call before August to figure out the next steps and set up another appointment. And start the process all over again.

Update 1:  Call in to Apple. Senior advisor (“I’m as high as you can escalate”) says: “This is the store’s problem. We can’t handle it here.” She offered to let us pay (again) for the battery replacement that was never done. After almost 3 hours on the phone, she got the Park Meadows coordinator into the call and I’ll pick up with them tomorrow.

Update 2: Final outcome: Apple will do the work we paid for almost two years ago within the next week or so! No apologies. No refunds for the work they didn’t do. No kind words about being sent home from the genius bar without any action. They offered to give me a $30 trade-in for the SE on a new phone — exactly what the online store would normally offer for a used SE.

Update 3: Just a few minutes after hanging up with Park Meadows, this arrived in my mailbox. I don’t intend to pay $269 for a repair we already paid for. Seriously, WTF?


  • #FirstWorldProblem

    • true. Just buy a new one and recover from backups… or buy a used one

  • Wow! That terrible! I’m sorry to hear it!

    My old SE is plugging along. The whole thing got replaced about two years ago after I destroyed the screen (by dropping it on a sidewalk). I’m sad that the new SE is so much larger.

  • Smartphone are important to almost all of us now. I can barely think of anyone that doesn’t have it in their hand multiple times every hour. For something that’s so important and so useful, maybe it is a good idea to buy a new one instead of invest time and money into a technology product that is nearly obsolete.

  • Many local phone repair shops will be glad to replace that battery for under $50. Why insist on the Apple Store? Warranty is not a concern for the iPhone SE 2016.

  • Could you buy an external battery pack and then use it *as* a battery? Or is the original battery so dead that it won’t even hold enough charge to be able to “tide the hardware over” for a couple of seconds during a particularly intense period of OS or app startup (like a big supercapacitor)?

    I assume that’s what happens. I’ve been putting of getting a new battery for my 2015 MBP whose battery is at over 4000 cycles (!), basically running it off power all the time. And it will restart/logout unexpectedly every now and again. I suspect this is slowing the system down massively if the battery swelled causing it to processor throttle half the time. I’ll either pony up $125 for a new battery (Apple says out-of-repair battery is $125 for a 13-inch), or put up with it for another 1/2-1 year and get a new MBP maybe. Or maybe take the plunge and build a Hackintosh, though that would probably limit the OS to Catalina.

  • Hi Erica

    I had a similar problem regarding the serial number on an iPhone SE in 2017. It required about two hours on the phone, but I was escalated enough that I eventually reached someone who could help. Not only was the issue resolved, but a brand new phone was overnighted to me.

    Apple phone support is certainly not what it was in the 2000’s, but I find that politely requesting to be escalated to the person’s supervisor two or three times usually gets you to a reasonable solution much quicker than dealing with them at the Apple Store.

    Hope it isn’t too much more hassle to get this resolved!

  • Ouch, that’s a shame and I feel the pain (but my son used to be into hockey, so it was sticks and not a phone that was always, always around)!

    I agree with what Jacob said above as my last phone call to Apple was a pleasant surprise: they overnighted a replacement immediately!

    And I’ve had some really good success recently with MacOutlet bringing an old, beloved laptop back to life! I don’t know if you know them in Englewood, CO. Maybe they can help? Good luck to you and your child with this one!

    • Still no luck.

      Three hours of phone yesterday, on the phone again now.