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article imageApple investigating reports of more iPhone 6s battery issues

By James Walker     Dec 6, 2016 in Technology
Apple has admitted it's looking into reports that more iPhone 6s models are abruptly turning off. It recently started a battery replacement scheme for a "very small number" of phones with a manufacturing issue. The problem now seems to be more widespread.
Apple initially announced the replacement program in November. Affected devices built between September and October 2015 can be taken to an Apple Store or Authorized Service Provider for a free battery replacement to fix the random shutdowns. The company claimed it had isolated a limited batch of phones thought to be impacted by the defect.
Apple recently elaborated on what's causing the battery problems. In a support document published on its website, it said that the affected handsets were exposed to controlled air in the factory for longer than normal. The additional air means the batteries degrade faster than usual, leading to a lower capacity and voltage fluctuations that can cause the iPhone to power itself off.
The company said the problems are "not a safety issue," seeking to allay fears that Apple could be about to repeat Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 disaster. It said only devices built during the specified time period contain the fault and that it had identified "no new factors" causing phones to shut down unexpectedly. Apple has since reversed that statement though, suggesting more iPhone 6s handsets may be involved.
In an updated support document published today, Apple admitted that "a small number" of customers with iPhones built outside of the affected range have reported the same problems. Apple said that some of the incidents could be caused by the iPhone shutting itself down under extreme operating conditions, such as a cold environment, to protect its internals.
In an unusual move for Apple, the company also confirmed it's beginning an investigation into the additional reports though. This adds credence to the claims from customers, implying Apple has reason to believe the scope of the flaw may be wider than first announced.
The company said it's planning to launch a software update next week that will include "additional diagnostic capabilities." Apple plans to collect more battery data from the iPhone 6s to work out what's causing the random shutdowns. The company did not mention another replacement program. It appears to be concentrating on a software fix for the problems.
"This [data] 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," said Apple. "If such improvements can be made, they will be delivered in future software updates."
Apple still maintains that the battery problems aren't a safety issue. They could be significantly more widespread than first thought though. The data collected from the phones in the coming weeks may help to pinpoint the source of the issues, helping users who've experienced their device shutting itself down during use.
More about Apple, iPhone, iphone 6s, Smartphones, Mobile
 
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