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The iPhone 6S battery problems are more widespread than Apple thought and air is to blame

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Stop us if you've heard this one before: A flagship smartphone is under scrutiny for battery problems.

This time, it's not Samsung. It's Apple -- specifically, the iPhone 6S. And Apple recently wrote that the problem was more widespread than once thought.

Fortunately, iPhones aren't catching fire. They are, however, randomly shutting off. Apple initially said phones made in September or October 2015 were at risk, but now others are included.

Customers try out Apple iPhone 6S models on display at an Apple Store in Beijing, Saturday, June 18, 2016.. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Customers try out Apple iPhone 6S models on display at an Apple Store in Beijing, Saturday, June 18, 2016.. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The cause of the problem? Air.

Apple said batteries were exposed to "ambient air" for a longer time than necessary, which somehow affected the battery's ability to function normally.

This all leads to stories like this.

And this.

And this.

How to solve the problem

If your iPhone is affected, you can get it repaired for free at an authorized Apple retailer. You can check to see if your phone is affected by punching in your serial number on this support page.

The 6S was largely a disappointment for Apple, selling 51.2 million models by early 2016, 10 million fewer than the rate for the iPhone 6, CNN Money reports.

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