iPhone free repairs

December 8, 2016
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How can I find out if my broken Apple products qualify for a free repair, or are part of a replacement programme?

If your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV or other Apple product has gone wrong and you don’t think it’s your fault, you may be able to get Apple (or a company authorised by Apple) to repair it for free, provide a replacement product, or refund your money. You can attempt this on an individual, case-by-case basis – read our guide to your legal rights when getting an iPhone repaired for advice – but in some cases Apple institutes a general recall or free repair programme for a particular product or model that it acknowledges has a congenital problem.

From time to time Apple acknowledges that there is a problem with one of its product lines and announces that it will replace such products for free. In this article we cover Apple’s current (and past) replacement programmes: check to see if your faulty device is included. You might be in line for a free replacement.

To find out if you and your dodgy device qualify for such a programme you can contact Apple, but that isn’t always easy. As an alternative, we present our list of Apple’s most recent recall programmes.

Updated, 3 December 2016, with details of how to check if you are eligible to participate in Apple’s latest product recall: a battery replacement programme for the iPhone 6s

Apple product recalls and free repair programmes: Will Apple repair other products for free?

Sometimes, but don’t depend on it.

Apple product recalls are an unusual occurrence. When it is prepared to admit that a problem is inherent to a product line or certain models within that line, Apple will agree to repair or replace these devices, and either announce this publicly (expecting you to get in touch yourself and seek redress) or in smaller cases contacting affected users proactively.

Apple did this with the iPhone 5, whose power button was prone to failure – your humble reporter went through this process and was able to get a new iPhone 5 at no cost, even though that iPhone went wrong in a completely different way several months down the line.

Apple has also instituted a programme for failing MacBook Pro models that faced an issue known as ‘staingate’, following a saga that caused distress and frustration for many of our readers.

But for most problems you’ll need to approach Apple as an individual, and demonstrate that the issue was fundamental to the product rather than something that has developed over months and years of ownership. In those cases you will generally need to fall back on your warranty and insurance rights.

For more information on your legal rights and best options when getting an Apple product replaced, repaired or refunded, see Will Apple replace my broken iPhone for free? And we will list other Apple product recalls and free repair programmes in the rest of this article.

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