Are all iPhone 6s dying right now? Stupid planned obsolescence!

My iphone 6, purchased a mere 5 years ago, started having battery problems again.  This would be the second time it’s had battery problems, the first time being when they had that lawsuit.  It got down to 84% and I decided I might as well send it in before it got down to the recommended 80% while I was on Christmas break and not expecting to leave the house.  DH and DC1 both have phones, and I can text people using my iPad pro even if I can’t get calls.

So I sent it off (and immediately had a reporter want to call me, but we ended up zooming instead, which was nice because I was able to show him what I was talking about visually instead of using words).  Last time I got a battery replacement, I think we went to the city, but I’m not planning on going to a genius bar until after I’m vaccinated!

It made it to California and then I got an email saying it needed $299.99 worth of repairs, though it didn’t give any other information.  DH called the customer service link and they were like, yeah, the technician didn’t write down what the problem was so I can’t tell you.  But they’re not going to replace your battery unless you give them another $300.  You want us to send it back to you?  And DH was like yes please.  We’re certainly not going to get something repaired if we don’t know what it is being repaired for!

And three days later they still hadn’t sent it back, so I clicked the “please return to me” button when they emailed me to say we hadn’t told them what to do.  That didn’t seem to do anything either, but on the day they said they’d return it if they didn’t hear from us, I got an email saying they were returning it.  It came back and seems to be in the same working order as when I sent it, though I did have to switch off a bunch of personal data sharing that somehow magically got turned back on.

If this had happened before DH’s layoff, I would have gotten the iPhone 12 mini, probably a souped up version for like $900, given it to DH and then taken his iPhone 8 as my own.  Now I’m stuck trying to decide if I should do that (maybe with a less fancy version for $750) or get an SE which is only $450.  Right now I’m mostly at home with access to charging so the battery isn’t as bad a problem as it could be, so I might be able to put this decision off until the *next* iphone product comes out.  But once I’m spending more time outside of my house, especially if travel is involved, I will definitely need something that can hold a charge longer than my phone currently does.

I’m irritated because I do not really ask much of my phone, just websurfing (including youtube), google hangouts, email, and occasional map stuff.  I have only downloaded three apps (hotmail, hangouts, and google maps).  I spend most of my time on Safari.  I don’t need a fancy phone.  My iPhone 6 was fine.

My friend’s iPhone 6S’s battery is dying and she’s getting a new one.  I saw revanche complaining about her iPhone 6 on twitter.  I have to wonder if there’s some kind of planned obsolescence thing going on that doesn’t care how much or how little you use your phone or when you bought it.  It’s almost enough to make me want to try an Android.

Have you experienced planned obsolescence on your phone recently?  How do you decide when to get a new phone?  How do you decide which kind of phone to get? 

39 Responses to “Are all iPhone 6s dying right now? Stupid planned obsolescence!”

  1. Leah Says:

    My dad just replaced his iPhone 6. There were charging issues, and something else was also wrong.

  2. First Gen American Says:

    When my son lost his phone last year, he had to buy a replacement with his own money. He got an iPhone 6 for $200 at Walmart because it was the start of COVID and the only phones the mobile carrier had were the super duper deluxe ones. It still works fine. Battery life is finite on any phone.

    I went through the same thing with my iPhone 5. I had it forever, replaced the first battery with an aftermarket one at one of those phone fix kiosk things. It was $35 vs $100 at the apple store. It voids the apple warranty but at that point the phone was so old I didn’t care. . It didn’t seem to last as long as the first one did but it did the job til my son lost it.

    I changed my tune a bit on phones. I used to keep them forever but I get a very good discount at work for my company cellphone. They provide the low end iPhone for free or everything but the latest model is like 50% off but I pay the difference and own the phone at the end. Since there are 5 of us now with eye phones, I will upgrade as soon as I can which is 18 months to utilize the discount. But to answer you obsolescence questions, the last “free” phone option I had in may 2020 was the iPhone 8 and my observation is that they are pretty obsolete by the end of the contract period, if sticking with an iPhone I’d go one or two steps down from the latest one that launched.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We may go with an unlicensed replacement place once it is safe to go out if my phone can last that long. Apple thinks that the iphone 6 is worth $0 if I buy an iphone 12 and $30 if I buy an SE. So there seems to be no harm in voiding the warranty.

  3. Donna Tucker Says:

    My iPhone 6 did the same, as did my son’s. We replaced them, at exorbitant prices. The only feature on the 11 that I really care about is the Face ID, which is wonderful. My partner got the XR (or is it SR, anyway the cheap one you mentioned) which works much like the 6 he had before. I got an Android tablet at work and it took me months to figure out how to get to the Home Screen, and I still can’t get calls on it, so I don’t think I’ll buy an Android phone. My technical support (my other son) is a dedicated Apple man so I have to stick to Apple.

  4. omdg Says:

    I am incensed on your behalf that they couldn’t tell you what the repairs were for, turned on data sharing without your permission, and then tried to charge you for more than it would cost to be a refurbished “new” phone.

    However, it has been five years! Five years is a long time for a phone. I don’t expect mine to last more than two.

    My iPhone 6’s battery started dying after two years of ownership, so I replaced the phone. I cannot live without my phone for even one day, so there is no way I would be able to send it away for a week. I replaced it with an 8, but now I have so many photos on it, it runs slow. I need to figure out a way to thin the archives that isn’t heinously onerous. I have no interest in any phone that required my face to turn it on. I wear a mask most of the time at work (even during non-pandemic times) and such a feature would aggravate me immensely.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I dunno, an iphone costs as much as a major appliance and is more necessary. I feel like I should get appliance length use out of one.

      DH got his battery replaced at a genius bar in the city and that only took a couple of hours. Obviously not pandemic-friendly.

      When our ipad was having problems with photos I think we just had them all save to the cloud instead of on the machine itself and that sped it up. Not free, but also something like $15/year.

    • xykademiqz Says:

      Yeah, 2 years is the projected lifetime of a cell phone before they (the manufacturer) expect you to purchase a new one. Anything longer than that, consider yourself lucky. I have an android; the last one died two years in, almost to the day.

  5. wally Says:

    Definitely look into apple refurbished models: Very good prices, covered by applecare, and with each iteration you get a better camera (sometimes way better) which to me is super desireable. I got my iPhone 12 through verizon – I pay monthly for it and can upgrade in like a year or something and there is no interest. This makes getting new phones super accessible for me.

  6. Steph Says:

    I tend to get a new phone when the performance goes down to the point that it becomes more frustrating than helpful. With my last phone, it would have data connectivity problems and extremely slow response times, and often wouldn’t load anything even if I supposedly had full service. Plus I had filled up the storage space and was running out of things I could reasonably delete. The battery life is also part of it, but I don’t mind carting around an external battery to keep it charged. FWIW, I’ve been using Android phones for 8? 9? years now, and before that I used non-smart phones. Both my smart and non-smart phones have an average lifetime of ~4 years, aside from my second Android which died after I took it sledding and got the ports full of snow… So 5 years seems like a reasonable timeline for getting a new phone, but if it’s just the battery that’s the issue, Anker makes good external power packs (though unfortunately they only sell through Amazon)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Our non-smart phones lasted forever! Basically until DC1 lost them years after we’d stopped using them.

      We do have external batteries from Anker for travel and because DC1 could never remember to charge hir phone.

      5 years seems unreasonable to me! Even if all the phone companies are doing it. Not unreasonable for a battery (which has lasted maybe two years?), but unreasonable for the entire phone.

  7. Foscavista Says:

    You know there’s a class action lawsuit involving the iPhone 6?

  8. FF Says:

    I just replaced my 6-year old iPhone 6 with the SE 2020 in December and took the $30 discount for trade-in. Since 2020 was a bad year economically for me, I had decided to keep the 6 as long as possible, but it started to crash (going from >50% charged down to 0% in minutes), and I knew it was no longer reliable enough to keep using (I’d had the battery replaced once a few of years ago for $29). I considered the 12 mini and the SE 2020, and didn’t see anything about the mini that would justify paying hundreds of dollars more, even after talking to the Apple business team. As OMDG says above, facial recognition isn’t very useful with a mask on, and I’d been happy enough with fingerprint ID. I also didn’t care enough about the camera to need the latest features. I did get a model with twice the storage I had previously. I am very happy with it so far–it is clearly much faster, the screen is sharper, the battery life is longer, and I can use dark mode. I still need to get wireless earphones/buds for it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Sounds like it’s exactly the same thing. Stupid planned obsolescence. I’d be happy keeping my 6 if they would replace the battery!

      • FF Says:

        Is there a local shop that could replace the battery for you? I’d bet it would be a lot less than $299. For example, the BestBuy website says that they replace iPhone 6 batteries for $49. Or maybe you could buy a kit and try replacing it yourself.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yeah, that’s what First Gen suggested. I think I will try that when it gets safer to go out. I did look up replacing the battery myself, but we don’t have a hair dryer (!), so that’s a non-starter.

        I didn’t know Best Buy would do it– their curbside service is pretty good so maybe it’s worth trying. (There’s a local place in town that says they’ll do it that I’d been planning to try.)

  9. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    It was my original SE that I’d passed on to PiC that was on its last dregs of functioning battery, we replaced that with the second gen SE, and then three days after I finished dealing with the replacement and trade in stuff and very stupidly stated that I wasn’t going to do that again for a while, my Pixel 2 started guzzling battery life like a … Well. A thing.

    I think it’s a coincidence / hyper sensitivity and overuse, I’ve been using my phone a lot lately with all the overnights with the baby. Wherever I do have to replace it though, I’m sticking with Android. We’re a split OS device family.

    I do think phones need to last 4-6 years minimum. They’re really expensive! We got PiC the max storage possible on his new one, we’ve never done that before but it was part of the plan to see if that helps us stretch the life to the six years desired. We typically get the 64 Gb and then run into both battery life and storage issues. With all the things that want apps these days, we figured we might as well pay the extra $100 and eliminate storage space as a problem. I have no clue what I’ll get next but I’m hoping to push it out at least two more years. I usually wait until I’m annoyed by the performance in some way, and then force myself to stick it out another year or so just on principle. But our Google connected friend warns me that they won’t be updating the Pixel 2 anymore and that’s one red flag for my future upgrade plans.

  10. middle_class Says:

    My husband and I have Android phones so my experience is with iPads. We have gone through at least 6 over the past 6 years but that is largely due to rough handling. When our last iPad Air had battery issues, I sent it to Apple and was told $299 to repair. It was not worth it and we got another one. We sometimes get refurbished via Amazon. We had 1 lemon but the seller immediately replaced it.

    With Androids (even pricier Samsung ones), I think 5 years is considered long life. I had one expensive Samsung a long time ago. Now i stuck to $100 and under Androids. I am used to Android systems though. I hope to get 3 years tops!

  11. j Says:

    I just can’t bring myself to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars on a phone, so I stick to Android. We are a split household. My Samsung has some annoying sound issues (sound sometimes disappears while on a phone call) but since I make calls relatively infrequently I’m just living with it (I’ve researched the various possible issues but none of the solutions have helped). I’d much rather deal with putting up with annoyance in a $200 phone than an $800+ phone.

    • j Says:

      Oh, I meant to say that I loathe the concept that everyone should be getting new close to $1k phones every 2 to 3 years. I’ve gotten close to 4 on my Androids.

  12. Alice Says:

    My husband is pretty confirmed on used iPhones at this point. He likes to buy ones that are a few years old, because they do what he wants to do and are a lot less expensive. Could be a route, given that it sounds like you don’t want to ask a lot of your phone?

    I use an Android and typically buy new, but get quite a few years of use out of them. (Except for the most recent one, where the screen got pretty badly broken, I think by being stepped on by my young kid.)

  13. EB Says:

    If you can sequester your intense internet/e-mail use to a computer most of the time, I recommend a non-smart phone, the LG2 Expressions. It’s that cute old phone with a slide-out keyboard. It *can* do e-mail or internet, but not easily, because the screen is small. And it’s $60 on Amazon. Mine is several years old. I hope they keep making it.

  14. eemusings Says:

    Ughhhh my 3.5 year old iPhone 7 is on its last legs! I hate the new massive devices so I guess I’ll be getting an older model (either refurb, or new)

  15. Matthew D Healy Says:

    One of the reasons I don’t use an iphone is its lack of a user-replaceable battery. Whenever possible I get a device with a replaceable battery; then I also get an extra battery for it. Aside from the ability to replace a battery that no longer holds much charge, it can be convenient when traveling to have a fully charged spare battery in my pocket. Swapping out a battery is a lot faster than plugging in at the airport between flights (remember airports? Someday I will fly again).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      What phone with a swappable battery do you have now?

      • Matthew D Healy Says:

        An LG Android called Tribute (which made me think of Hunger Games), simply because it was the cheapest Android they had in the store the day I decided the number of cracks on the screen of its predecessor was too annoying. I think that was early 2019.

        I also got a better case with this phone and so far haven’t cracked it!

  16. accm Says:

    I first got an iPhone 6 in 2014. In spring 2018 the battery started not holding a charge, and at the Apple store they pointed out that the few hot pixels were the result of the battery overheating. Somehow I was able to get an entirely new iPhone 6 for the cost of the replacement battery (I think I lost a couple of pictures that I hadn’t backed up yet, but nothing else). One they they recommended was to use only Apple-brand phone covers to prevent overheating again — apparently 3rd-party covers may not allow the hear to escape correctly. (Of course, they were also trying to sell the covers, so presumably a grain of salt is needed.) Nearly 3 years later, with the Apple-brand cover, the second 6 is still doing OK, and it is still more powerful than I really need.

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