An iPhone with battery symbol on the screen.

Want to get a $29 battery replacement for your aging iPhone? Better hurry. Just like 2018, Apple's bargain-basement deal is running out fast. 

About a year ago, Apple cut its battery replacement charge by $50 after fielding complaints about its decision to intentionally slow some iPhones to compensate for worn-down batteries and prevent unintentional shut-downs. Many consumers jumped on the deal, snatching up appointments at Apple stores and authorized third-party retailers such as Best Buy.

The offer was good worldwide and applied to out-of-warranty phones dating back to the iPhone 6. (Older phones weren't eligible.) 

So if you've been putting off your battery replacement, it's time to get moving. The deal expires on Dec. 31. But, on the upside, prices aren't going back to $79. Starting next year, Apple will charge $49 to have the batteries replaced in most older phones.

The exception is the iPhone X. Its battery replacement charge will rise to $69. Getting the battery replaced in an iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR already costs $69, and that cost is set to stay the same.

If you have AppleCare+, the company’s extended warranty program, the replacement may even be free.

If you’re thinking about taking Apple up on its 2018 offer, here’s some advice about where to go, how to navigate the repair process, and whether that new battery is likely to boost your iPhone’s performance.

Book in Advance

You can walk into an Apple Store and try to snag a walk-up appointment at the Genius Bar, but your best bet is to reserve a spot online.

Even then, you may need to be patient. Apple Stores can get busy, especially during the holiday season. It might be easier to get an appointment at a third-party retailer, but if you go that route, call ahead and make sure the store in question has the people and the parts available.

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You should also confirm that it will honor the $29 replacement charge. According to Apple, authorized repair shops can decide for themselves whether to uphold the offer. 

In most cases, Apple says, the technicians at its Genius Bars can complete the job while you wait. But—depending on the state of your phone—the work could take several days, according to the company. 

Do you want to skip a trip to the store—and are you willing to do without your phone for up to a week? You can also arrange to send the phone to the company, using the same page where you make an in-person appointment. Apple sends you a shipping box; the company says it will return your iPhone in a few days. (But we wouldn't be surprised to see some delays in shipping at this time of year.)

Before You Go

With any service appointment, especially one that involves cracking open your phone, it’s important to back up your data before leaving home so that you can restore your device if anything goes wrong.

You can do this using iCloud or iTunes. Apple has step-by-step instructions for both options online. The first 5GB of online storage are free; above that level, prices start at 99 cents per month for up to 50GB.

One more thing worth considering: If your phone has a cracked screen or other wear-and-tear damage, Apple says that may have to be repaired to make way for the battery replacement. That may cost you extra time and money. 

Is It Worth It?

For $29? Absolutely, says Richard Fisco, Consumer Reports’ head of smartphone testing. Anyone with an iPhone that has seen some use will probably notice a difference in performance in terms of both its battery life and its processor speed.

How much? That depends on how worn out your current battery is. “If you bought an iPhone 6 when it first came out and you’re a heavy user, you’re probably lucky to get halfway through your day without charging it,” Fisco says. In that case, a new battery will buy you a few more hours per charge.

If you own an iPhone 8, the benefit is going to be much less apparent.

And that just refers to battery life. Remember, Apple dropped the price on battery replacements after consumers complained that their older phones were working more slowly. 

A new battery should help restore faster performance, Apple says.

What If You Can't Get an Appointment?

Until you can get your battery replaced, here are some tips from Apple that can help you extend any iPhone’s battery life:

  • Make sure you’re using the latest operating system—in this case, iOS 12.1.1. According to Apple, this OS will help your phone work more efficiently. You can check by looking in the General section of the phone’s settings.
  • Enable Low Power mode. The phone will reduce power consumption by cutting the functionality of certain features while still allowing you to send emails and make and receive calls. Low Power mode turns off automatically when your phone is charged to 80 percent or more. (Also, your phone will ask whether you want to activate this feature when your battery gets down to 20 percent.)
  • Turn on Auto Brightness, which will dim the screen when you don’t need it to be quite so bright.
  • Adjust the settings to stop mobile apps from refreshing when not in use and keep the phone from looking for new emails too frequently. Head to Settings, then hit General and Background App Refresh. Then you can turn off background refresh for everything at once, or for individual apps.
  • And, last, use WiFi whenever you’re in range of a network you trust. It’s far more energy-efficient than using your phone over a data connection.

Smartphone Battery Tips

Smartphones can be a life line but only when you keep them charged. On the 'Consumer 101' TV show, Consumer Reports’ expert, Bree Fowler, shows how your smartphone can stay powered up when you're out and about.