Apple offering free replacements for faulty iPhone 5 batteries

iPhone 5S. Apple

If your iPhone 5 battery has been losing power faster than it used to, you may be eligible for a free repair.

Apple is offering to replace faulty batteries in certain iPhone 5 devices sold between September 2012 and January 2013. According to a notice Apple posted online, the phones "may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently."

Users on reddit.com, a technology-oriented web site, noted that their iPhones would suddenly lose battery power and had to be recharged frequently. For example, on Sunday KSBadApple wrote: "Almost religiously when I hit 21% my phone just shuts off. Then as soon as it's plugged in and powers on, it will be at 26% like nothing happened." The same day, Sleepless1977 reported having bought a $25 replacement battery before the replacement program was announced: "It was pretty simple and the new battery is amazing. 6 hours with normal-heavy use between charges...It lasted 15 mins tops before and I use it pretty continuously, so 6 hours feels incredible!"

To find out if your phone is eligible, go to Apple's web page and enter your phone's serial number. Eligible devices can be repaired at an Apple service provider or an Apple Retail Store.

As with all major repairs, Apple recommends that before taking your phone in for service, you should back up your data using iCloud or iTunes. Then turn off the "Find My iPhone" service, erase all content, and reset the phone to its factory default settings.

Apple says it will not replace a phone's battery if the screen is cracked or there are other obvious signs of damage.

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