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Replacing the Battery on an iPad or iPhone

When the battery on an iPad or iPhone stops holding enough charge to deliver useful battery life, it's time to get the battery replaced.

If the battery goes bad while the iPad or iPhone is still under warranty or under an AppleCare Protection Plan warranty extension you've bought for it, you can get Apple to replace it for free. Third-party companies offer better prices; search for iPad battery replacement service or iPhone battery replacement service, as needed.

NOTE If you're not sure whether the iPhone or iPad is still under warranty, go to the Service and Repair page at https://selfsolve.apple.com/GetWarranty.do, enter the device's hardware serial number and your country, and see what the Service and Repair Assistant says.

With the iPhone, Apple replaces the battery. But with the iPad, Apple actually replaces the device itself. You're responsible for backing up the data to iTunes so that you can restore it to the replacement iPad when it arrives.

Apple considers iPhone and iPad batteries to be "not user replaceable," and the trail of wrecked and bent iPhones and iPads you can pick up for spare parts (and sometimes for spare change) on eBay tends to bear this out. But of course anyone armed with the right tools and sufficient skill and knowledge can open an iPhone or iPad and replace the battery-otherwise, Apple's technicians would be as much use as those mythical monkeys industriously hammering out alternative editions of Hamlet.

At this writing (Fall 2010), you shouldn't need to replace the battery in an iPad or iPhone 4 unless you've done something horrible enough to invalidate the one-year warranty. But you can find replacement batteries for both these devices, and for earlier iPhones, at any number of places online, including eBay. Search for iPad replacement battery or iPhone 3GS replacement battery, and you'll find plenty, along with tools to help you attempt the surgery.

TIP Sites such as iFixit (www.ifixit.com) offer both replacement parts and instructions. You can also find video walkthroughs on YouTube that help identify problems that the repair instructions tend to gloss over.

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