iPhone 3Gs Surgery: Replacing the Battery

Those of you with older iphones may be familiar with my steadily worsening predicament: the loss of battery life about a year or so in. I’ve now had mine for about 1.5 years, and the battery was getting pretty dismal–I’d plug it in all day at work, to use my docketing app (and sometimes listen to music). I’d leave work with it charged 100%. And by the end of an evening of light use at home, I’d be down to 60% battery.

So, about 1.5 years in, I ended up faced with the kind of dilemma that is either the result of extraordinary fortuitousness or very shrewd product planning on the part of the designer: get a new phone (endure the bad battery life until the iphone 5 comes out, in my case) or shell out money for the Apple people to fix it. In both cases, they win, and in the former case so do the phone providers, since the phone upgrade is usually accompanied by an extension of the contract, if you want any kind of subsidy.

But I wasn’t mad about either of the choices. I don’t think I’m eligible for a phone replacement, I feel sad about the wasted electronics that are still perfectly good but are set aside for the next generation, both in our culture and in our house (old palm pilots, laptops and cellphones, in our case). As for going to Apple–it rankles to do that. It’s expensive (about the same cost as a warrantee that we didn’t get). I also remember hearing that in the past, they had gratuitously replaced parts inside devices they were servicing, so that they became more difficult to tamper with. To me, that’s like a dealership mechanic replacing a bunch of parts in my car without my knowledge, when I take it in for service–if the changes are simply to make it more difficult for me to get into, rather than to help it work better as a gesture of goodwill or for safety, then that’s just annoying. So, my husband and I looked into replacing the battery ourselves.

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