It appears as if Apple is taking a rather passive aggressive approach when it comes to third-party battery replacements in iPhones.

This as iFixit recently discovered that the firm has some surreptitious software readying to rollout that detects whether a battery inside an iPhone has an official authentication key. Should your iPhone not feature said key, a warning will be displayed about the device’s battery health.

“If you replace the battery in the newest iPhones, a message indicating you need to service your battery appears in Settings > Battery, next to Battery Health,” writes iFixit. As the site explains, such a warning normally shows up when the iPhone battery has degraded and needs to be replaced.

What is perhaps most concerning, iFixit’s test lab says replacing an unauthorised third-party battery with a genuine Apple one still leaves the same error message. Reading between the lines, it therefore looks like Apple not only wants users to forego third-party battery replacements, but also wants to be the one doing the replacement.

“It’s not a bug; it’s a feature Apple wants. Unless an Apple Genius or an Apple Authorized Service Provider authenticates a battery to the phone, that phone will never show its battery health and always report a vague, ominous problem,” iFixit asserts.

Whether this indeed the intention is unclear, especially as Apple has not officially commented on the situation.

Playing devil’s advocate for a moment though, Apple’s desire to ensure it handles all aspects of its devices in a bid to maintain quality standards makes sense. Especially when the quality of hardware manufacturing has come into the spotlight recently with the MacBook lineup.

That said if this latest development is to be believed, and there is no reason not to trust iFixit’s opinion on the matter, this locked in approach from Apple may frustrate many iPhone owners, given the prices that the firm often charges for repairs out of warranty.