Apple has initiated a new iPhone 5 battery replacement program to repair "a very small percentage" of iPhone 5 models sold between September 2012 and January 2013, according to a new support website the company has posted.
All of these devices are out of Apple's standard 1-year warranty, but the company will be providing replacement units for affected users free of charge. The devices "may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently."
iPhone 5 owners can enter their serial number on Apple's support website to learn if they have an affected device. The serial number can be found by going to the Settings app and then selecting General | About.
If so, they can go to an Apple Retail Store, an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or call Apple Technical Support to obtain a replacement. Service is available today in the US and China and in all other countries beginning on August 29.
Of course, it's not all good news for iPhone 5 owners experiencing issues — the replacement program is not a catch-all for all iPhone issues. For example, if the affected iPhone 5 unit has cracked screen glass that affects the replacement of the battery, "that issue will need to be resolved prior to battery replacement." This likely means an additional charge for the new screen, but once that's completed, Apple would replace the battery at no charge.
This isn't the first "Replacement Program" that Apple has launched for the iPhone 5. Back in April, Apple initiated a replacement program for some iPhone 5 models where the Sleep/Wake Button would "stop working or work intermittently."
iPhone 5 units affected by that program were manufactured before March 2013 and have a similar replacement process. iPhone 5 users should enter their serial number on Apple's website for that replacement program and, if they are affected, take their phone to an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider for repair.
Unfortunately, repairs can only be performed at Apple Repair Centers, meaning the phone will need to be taken for some amount of time to be repaired off-site. Apple Retail Stores and authorized service providers may have loaner phones available for affected users, though there's also a mail-in option that does not have a loaner program.
It is not known if iPhone 5 models can be affected by both recalls, but if a phone has been replaced under warranty for any reason, it's unlikely that they need to be repaired again.
Getting a new battery can be a nice bonus for iPhone 5 users looking to replace their phones when the iPhone 6 is released next month. When selling a used phone, a brand new, factory-original battery can be a nice selling point and increase the value of the phone significantly.
Is your phone affected by either of these recalls? How was the repair process? Let us know in the comments below.
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.