Why Apple can’t replace your broken Apple Watch


Broken Apple Watch
If you have a broken Apple Watch, you have a bigger problem than usual.
AI image: Cult of Mac

The ban on selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 affects Apple’s ability to replace broken units, too. Starting December 25, the company won’t be able to send customers replacement units for smashed Apple Watch models going back to Series 6.

Apple stands accused of patent infringement due to a health-related sensor in the smartwatches. The years-long dispute between Cupertino and a medical tech company finally reached the point of an Apple Watch sales and import ban.

Apple Watch ban affects sales of new models and repairs of old ones

Apple remains locked in a court battle with Irvine, Calif.-based Masimo Corp and its sibling company, Cercacor Laboratories. The alleged patent infringement involves light-based pulse oximeters that measure blood oxygen.

The tech first appeared in Apple Watch Series 6, which means even devices purchased as far back as 2020 are part of the patent-infringement controversy. And it also means Apple cannot ship replacement units to customers.

Bloomberg reports:

Apple’s customer service teams were informed in a memo that the company will no longer replace out-of-warranty models going back to Apple Watch Series 6. That means if a customer has a broken screen, for instance, they won’t be able to get the issue fixed by Apple.

Repair often means replace

For many repairs, Apple doesn’t fix the customer’s Apple Watch and send it back. It sends a replacement unit instead. That’s a lot faster — but it’s no longer allowed.

The repair limitation affects Apple Watch Series 6 and newer, as well as both versions of the Apple Watch Ultra. But the list does not include Apple Watch SE models. They do not offer blood oxygen sensors that Masimo holds a patent on.


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