Tech Fix: Your iPhone Slowed Down. Here’s What to Do When the Solution Is Just as Slow.

Apple may be dealing with the fallout for a while. The company published a lengthy memo in December saying that smartphone batteries became less effective over time and that its software was intended to prevent iPhones with older batteries from unexpected shutdowns. Apple also apologized to customers for the slowdowns, offered discounts for its battery-replacement program and said it would introduce software to gain visibility into the health of an iPhone battery.

Yet since then, consumer advocacy groups have filed lawsuits against the company for failing to disclose that the software would throttle old iPhones. The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have also started an inquiry into the matter, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be named because the details were confidential. Bloomberg earlier reported the inquiry.

Early Wednesday, Apple said in a statement that it had received questions from some government agencies and that it was responding to them; the company did not specify the agencies it had heard from. The Justice Department declined to comment.

As for the wait times that Ms. Schipper and others are experiencing for a battery replacement, a spokeswoman referred to Apple’s support webpage, which states that battery supplies at its stores may be limited.

Let’s not wait around. Here’s a guide to other solutions to keep an iPhone running in the absence of an Apple battery replacement.

Third-Party Repair Shops

Plenty of irate Apple customers are turning to local third-party repair shops to get their iPhone batteries replaced. At Mega Mobile Boston, twice as many customers are coming in for iPhone battery replacements than in years past, said Adam Fullerton, the store’s operations manager.

Third-party repairs are a decent — but imperfect — solution. One drawback is that they vary in quality; some repair shops buy lower-quality batteries that don’t last. So to find a good shop, rely on word of mouth and reviews on the web, similar to how you might seek out a good car mechanic.

Another issue is that if you service your phone with a third-party battery and later take your device in to Apple for repair, the company could refuse to service your phone. So if you go the third-party route, chances are you will have to stick with third-party repair shops through the end of your phone’s life.

There’s a less risky route here. On Apple’s support webpage, you can look up third-party repair shops that are authorized by Apple as service providers. These are fixers who have been trained by Apple and carry original parts. But the list is short.

If you find a good local fixer, there are plenty of benefits to sticking with one long term. For one, third-party shops tend to have shorter waits. Mr. Fullerton said his shop could typically get an iPhone battery replacement done in about 30 minutes. The process involves opening the device, cleaning away the old waterproofing adhesive, replacing the battery and applying a new waterproofing adhesive.

For another, local repair shops make their prices competitive with the manufacturer’s. In the case of batteries, many shops are discounting their battery replacements to match Apple’s $29 pricing.

“We’re probably losing money on it with the cost of a half-hour time from a technician,” Mr. Fullerton said. “But it’s like a loss leader in any other industry. If you’re Best Buy and you get them to buy one item at cost, maybe you can teach them something about your business.”

Finding a good repair shop can feel daunting, but if you ask around, your peers will probably have recommendations. For a sample, here’s a list of highly recommended repair shops in the United States that I compiled from talking to repair experts I trust:

■ In Chicago: uBreakiFix Chicago

■ In San Francisco: MacRepair

■ In New York: Simple Mac

■ In Boston: Mega Mobile Boston

■ In Washington: Computer Geeks

■ In Austin, Tex.: Austin Mac Repair

Fix It Yourself

You can always replace an iPhone battery by yourself. The pros: You can choose the best components for repairs and minimize costs. The cons: Learning repairs can be time consuming, and if you mess up, you have no one to blame but yourself. And again, Apple stores could refuse to service your phone if it sees you have repaired it with third-party parts.

A good place to start for D.I.Y. repairs is iFixit, a company that provides instruction manuals and components for repairing devices. It is offering discounts on battery replacement kits for older iPhones, which cost $17 to $29. Each kit includes a new battery and the tools for disassembling iPhones.

Installing a phone battery can be intimidating. Replacing an iPhone 7 battery, for example, requires eight tools and 28 steps. Kyle Wiens, the chief executive of iFixit, said some customers also opted to buy a battery from iFixit and then take it to a local repair shop for installation.

Carry a Battery Pack

If you don’t feel confident hiring a third-party fixer or installing your own battery, you can always wait for Apple to replace your battery. But since that could take weeks or months, don’t suffer with a sapped phone battery in the meantime.

A better temporary solution is to invest in a battery pack that you can carry around until replacement batteries arrive at an Apple store. Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews products, has tested hundreds of battery packs to recommend a few. My favorite is the Anker PowerCore 20100, which can charge a smartphone every day for a week.

Ms. Schipper, the Seattle resident, is considering buying a battery pack. In the meantime, she is constantly plugging her iPhone into a power outlet because her battery lasts only two hours a day.

Yet she has resisted what she thinks Apple wants: for her to buy a new phone.

“I was tempted to just chuck this phone and suck it up and spend $1,000-plus and get the iPhone X,” she said. “I said, ‘No, darn it, I have a budget I’m saving up.’ I’m not going to let Apple push me around.”

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Tech We’re Using: A ‘Gadget Junkie,’ Wearing His Tech and Covering Deals

I sometimes use a service called Relationship Science, which is a fascinating way to understand the connections between the people I cover. Think Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, or in this case, Six Degrees of Jamie Dimon.

Despite being an unabashed Apple aficionado — I also have an Apple Watch — I happen to use Google apps for much of my life since it’s so easy to collaborate on documents with colleagues and coordinate calendars. (And yes, Google Maps is still better than Apple Maps.) I use Slack to communicate with everyone at work, especially when I’m traveling and not in the office.

I’m on airplanes too much, so I’m also a devotee of Bose noise-canceling headphones. Other key pieces of travel technology: Hearos Xtreme earplugs for overnight flights are the best on the market (trust me, I’ve tried them all); if you need to block out light to sleep on a flight or you’re stuck in a hotel room that has terrible shades, get yourself a Lonfrote sleep mask, which is so much better than the freebie on your flight. I carry a handful of extra portable power packs to charge devices on the road. And I always keep a stash of RxBars (blueberry, pumpkin or peanut) with me; they're about as healthy as you can get when it comes to packaged and packable food.

What could be better?

I still want a bigger, longer lasting battery on the iPhone. I can never get enough battery life — and I have battery anxiety looking at the percentage icon dwindle throughout the day if I haven’t found a place to plug in. Same for the AirPods, though I’ve found that’s less of an issue for me.

On my Apple Watch, I desperately want to be able to adjust the sensitivity that activates the screen when I turn my wrist to look at it. (Hey, Apple Watch team: I’d make it a bit more sensitive so it turns on more frequently, even at the cost of battery life.)

In your years of writing about deals, which tech merger do you think has had the most significant impact on people’s lives?

Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006 was game changing. It was the single biggest accelerant of the use of video online. It's probably the most underappreciated deal of all time in any industry. The price tag was $1.65 billion and YouTube was losing money at the time, so it seemed crazy for Google. But today, the deal looks like a brilliant heist.

You also appear on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” How has technology changed live broadcasting and your experience as an anchor?


Mr. Sorkin called Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006 “game changing.” “It’s probably the most underappreciated deal of all time in any industry,” he said. Credit Mike Cohen for The New York Times

It has probably changed the most on the production side of TV. It used to be that you needed a truck and satellite hookup wherever you’d go. We’d travel with an army of production and technical personnel. But these days you can use services like LiveU, which basically puts an entire satellite truck in a shoe box that connects to the internet or wirelessly using cellular towers. I was just in China and Saudi Arabia, and we broadcast entire three-hour live shows with only a handful of people and no satellite connection.

What tech product are you currently obsessed with using in your daily life?

Sonos is pretty great. We have a handful of Sonos speakers in our home for music and TV. We also have an Echo and Google Home speaker. I’m thinking about getting the Sonos One, which is supposed to incorporate Alexa, Google Assistant and ultimately access to Apple all in one device.

I read magazines on an app I love called Texture; it’s like Netflix for magazines. If you’re a magazine junkie, it is so worth it.

I’m into sleep trackers like Autosleep on the Apple Watch, but I want to find a device that tracks sleep without wearing anything on my wrist or body. (Or keeping a phone in bed, which I refuse to do.) I also use Nokia’s Withings wireless scale, which is a pretty good way to keep you honest about food consumption — and much easier than constantly entering what you eat in MyFitnessPal or LoseIt, though I’ve used both and they're good. And I have a Braun Series 7 electric razor that for years I’ve told every male friend is the best thing I use daily, though Braun came out with a new one last year so I don’t know if I’m right about that anymore.

Apple has more than $250 billion in cash. Which companies do you think it should buy, and why?

I used to think they should make a big deal, but these days I’m less certain. The next big thing in computing is clearly going to be artificial intelligence and health care. I imagine I’d be investing in those spaces aggressively — but the potential takeover targets are less obvious.

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