Original Apple Watch gets extended service coverage

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Apple Watch sensors
Has your Apple Watch's sensor panel popped off?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has extended its service coverage for the first-generation Apple Watch. If you have a unit with a separated sensor panel, you can get it repaired for free by visiting Apple or an authorized service provider within three years of your purchase date.

Like a lot of first-generation products, the original Apple Watch wasn’t perfect. It certainly looked great — and that hasn’t changed — but the way in which it was manufactured meant it had a tendency to come apart after extended use.

Many users found that the round panel on the back of the device, which houses the heart rate monitor and other sensors, easily popped away from the Watch’s chassis. It seems the glue Apple originally used wasn’t as strong as it needed to be.

But to ensure any broken Watches get fixed for free, Apple has extended its service coverage to three years from the date of purchase. MacRumors obtained the internal memo Apple has been distributing to service providers.

“Apple has determined that under certain conditions on some Apple Watch (1st generation) devices the back cover may separate from the watch case,” it reads. “Apple will service eligible devices free of charge. Apple will authorize coverage for three (3) years from the date of purchase.”

The policy covers any first-generation Apple Watch, including the Sport, Edition, and Hermès models. However, it seems only this particular issue is covered, so if anything else goes wrong once your AppleCare coverage expires, it’s going to cost you.

If you’re already paid to have an Apple Watch repaired because of this problem, you can contact Apple Support to inquire about a refund.

Fortunately, Apple appears to have used stronger adhesive to eliminate this issue for its latest Series 1 and Series 2 models.