Got an Apple Watch 3 in need of repair? You could get a free upgrade


Save big on the Apple Watch Series 3
Get your Apple Watch for under $200.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you have an Apple Watch Series 3 in need of repair, there’s a chance Apple will upgrade it to a Series 4 model at no extra cost.

Apple has given retail staff and Authorized Service Providers permission to give out newer units in some cases because Series 3 devices are in short supply. It’s not yet clear if this is a permanent or temporary move.

How to check your iPhone’s warranty expiration date in iOS 12.2


cracked iphone
This may be too far gone for a warranty repair.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12.2 brought many changes and additions to the iPhone and iPad — four new Animoji (giraffe! boar!), better-quality voice messages — but one handy new feature may go unnoticed unless you know where to look. Now, you can check the expiration date of your iPhone or iPad warranty right there on the device itself.

iPhone XR repairs are surprisingly cheap


The iPhone XR will feature Haptic Touch. But just what is that?
You should still buy AppleCare+.
Photo: Apple

Apple has confirmed its pricing for iPhone XR repairs and it’s surprisingly reasonable.

It will certainly leave a dent in your bank account if you break your screen without AppleCare+, but repairing an iPhone XR doesn’t cost much more than repairing an iPhone 8. It’s considerably cheaper than fixing an iPhone XS or XS Max.

Original Apple Watch gets extended service coverage


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.

You can now buy AppleCare+ one year after getting an iPhone


Don't be a fool, protect your tool.
Photo: Apple

If you’ve purchased a new iPhone in the last 12 months but failed to buy AppleCare+ to protect it, Apple is ready to cut you a break.

Apple has decided to extend the period in which iPhone buyers can get AppleCare+ to one full year from the data of purchase, after previously only letting you buy it within 60 days.

Third-party display repairs no longer void iPhone warranties


Apple eases up on third-party screen repairs.
Photo: Faris Algosaibi/Flickr CC

Getting your iPhone screen fixed by a third-party repairer no longer voids its warranty entirely.

An internal memo distributed among Apple employees confirms stores and authorized service providers can now accept handsets for repair following a third-party display replacement as long as the issue is not related to the screen.

Apple isn’t ignoring ‘Bendgate,’ will replace affected devices


Is your iPhone 6 Plus still as straight as it was the day you got it? Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
Is your iPhone 6 Plus still as straight as it was the day you got it? Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

It turns out that things made out of thin pieces of aluminum will bend under enough force. Who’d have thought it? But fortunately for those who are experiencing the well-documented “Bendgate” issue with a new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple is not ignoring the problem: The company will replace devices under warranty so long as they pass a visual inspection.

iSkin’s Claro GearCare Combo Is An iPhone Case With Accident Insurance



Q) What’s safer than keeping your iPhone in a soft case to protect against unexpected falls and impacts? A) a soft case that just happens to give you accidental damage insurance.

That’s the neat concept behind iSkin’s new Claro GearCare combo, which combines the clarity of a hard plastic case, the protection of a soft-gel case and the security of, well, a good warranty service — thanks to an included GearCare Accidental Damage Warranty Service.

Belgian Judge Almost Blocked Apple’s Website Over Misleading Warranty Options



An investigative magistrate in Belgium reportedly considered forcing Internet service providers to block Apple’s website, after claims that the company is misleading customers over warranty options.

Apple has been involved with a long-running dispute with the European legal system over its one-year limited warranty, which it offers as standard to consumers around the world — but which is in conflict with European regulations that allows buyers a minimum of two years’ free protection.

Samsung To Launch AppleCare+ Competitor For Smartphones, Tablets & More



Samsung looks to be preparing its own extended warranty plans that will provide additional coverage for its smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics, according to a new trademark registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Called “Protection Plus,” the service is expected to offer the same kind of protection that is available to iPhone, iPad, and iPod users with AppleCare+.

Ask An Apple Genius: Extending Your iPhone 5 Warranty, Water Damaged MacBooks And Swapping iPhone Colors



This is the Cult of Mac’s exclusive column written by an actual Apple retail store genius. Our genius must remain anonymous, but other than “Who are you, anyway?” ask anything you want about what goes on behind that slick store facade.  

Answers will be published first in Cult of Mac’s Magazine on Newsstand. Send your questions to with genius in the subject line.

With iPhone 5 warranties about to expire for early adopters, our Genius runs through the litany of legitimate issues you can use to get your iPhone replaced for free. We also dive into whether it’s better to be upfront about water damage and switching colors when the Genius Bar replaces your device.

1. My iPhone 5 warranty is about to expire.  How can I get my device replaced for free so I have a new iPhone from the warranty of the old one?

Like any piece of advanced tech, the iPhone certainly has its faults and manufacturing defects, even if they are somewhat rare.

Hardware defects are the easiest way to go

One of the biggest problems we have to swap iPhones for is the sleep/wake button. That button often gives out or gets jammed and becomes unresponsive. If that happens we swap the device. Same thing for the volume buttons. The home button isn’t as common a replacement. We may be able to do a modular repair to replace the flex assembly that goes to your home button. Often times that fixes it, but if it doesn’t we’ll swap it out.

Essentially, hardware defects are the easiest way to go. Camera defects come up frequently too, with issues like spots or lines on the sensor and shutter fails being the most common issue. We don’t have a camera replacement for the iPhone 5, so if you have any of those issues, definitely bring it in. There have also been issues with the iPhone 5’s metal enclosure getting bent out shape. As long as the screen isn’t cracked and the bend or morphing is noticeable, your warranty covers that as well.

Getting an iPhone replaced under warranty for a software issue is a bit trickier. Most software issues that people see will not lead to an iPhone replacement. Before you come to the Genius Bar you’ll be reminded to try rebooting your iPhone and restore from a backup. Those two quick steps usually do fix most software issues. Some software issues – like maybe your WiFi has gone out – can get you a replacement iPhone as long as the Genius can observe and verify the issue.

The good thing about taking your iPhone 5 in for those issues:  it won’t cost you anything and extends your warranty for another 90 days. After two replacements we have to ask a manager for permission to replace an iPhone, even if it’s a legitimate reason. Most of the time managers are cool and will just tell us to go ahead and swap it, but the two-replacement policy is supposed to act as a safeguard from people who try to milk Apple for an infinite number of replacement iPhones.

2. Why won’t the Genius Bar let me change the color of my iPhone when I get it replaced under AppleCare+?

Essentially, we don’t allow it in order to benefit our customers and make sure that inventory flows through the channels in the most efficient way possible.

When you buy a black iPhone, Apple keeps track of how many models it has sold in each color and plans out how many it will need to supply for replacements at the Apple Store. It’s a complicated process to get all the Apple Stores stocked with the right amount of iPhones in the various configurations, even though Apple makes it look easy.

Allowing customers to change colors at random would add an extra element of variation to Apple’s supply chain and could result in supply shortages. And then customers who actually need a device swap in their original color would get screwed over. So, sorry, you’re stuck with your original color choice. Choose wisely.

3. My 30-day-old MacBook Pro had a little accident involving water on the ride home. The screen isn’t working, but it will output video to an external monitor. What’s my best bet when approaching the Genius Bar – pretending I don’t know what happened, or fessing up?

Honesty is the best policy right? The Apple Geniuses are going to find out one way or another that your MacBook is water damaged. It’s better for them to find out from you right away, so fess up to it, but ask them what the best options are.

The Genius Bar is there to fix your computer, but it’s really about fixing your relationship with Apple

Ask them what was damaged and what repairs can be done. Sometimes – especially in your case where you purchased it very recently – they may be able to talk to a manager to help you out, so it’s good start off on the right foot.

The Genius Bar is there to fix your computer, but it’s really about fixing your relationship with Apple. Because the company wants to represent itself well and get great customer satisfaction scores, a manager might give you a break and only make you pay a partial amount of the repair, or even hook you up with a free repair.

iFixit Walks Us Through An iPhone 5 Battery Replacement [Video]



Battery life on the iPhone 5 is pretty good when you compare it to other high-end devices with LTE connectivity, so if you’re having to charge yours more than normal, then you may need a new battery. But don’t worry — battery replacements are relatively cheap, and they’re so easy, you can probably do them yourself.

Teardown specialists iFixit show you how in a new five-minute walkthrough video.

Drop Test Proves Galaxy S4’s ‘Durable’ Plastic Is No Match For iPhone 5’s Aluminum [Video]



Samsung has had to defend the Galaxy S4’s plastic form factor quite a bit since the device was announced back in March, and one of the ways it has done that is by touting the handsets durability. Plastic, Samsung claims, makes the device much more robust than competing smartphones because it bends and absorbs impact.

But as we suspected all along, aluminum is stronger. In a smartphone torture test performed by warranty provider SquareTrade, the Galaxy S4 fails to beat the iPhone 5 in drop tests, and even proved to be more fragile than its predecessor, the Galaxy S III.

This Simple Tool Is How Geniuses Decide To Void Your MacBook Warranty



Why is it that some people can walk into their local Apple Store with a broken MacBook and walk away with a free replacement, and other people are turned away, with Apple claiming the repair is due to user error… even if it isn’t?

It has less to do with whether or not you actually voided your warranty than if Apple thinks they can prove you voided your warranty. And the most important tool Apple uses to prove you’re responsible for the damage to your own machine? It’s a tool that inspects dents.

Apple Settles iPhone Warranty Lawsuit With $53 Million Payout


A liquid damage indicator inside an iPhone.
A liquid damage indicator inside an iPhone.

Apple has agreed to pay $53 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accuses the Cupertino company of failing to honor warranties on iPhones and iPod touches. The settlement could see hundreds of thousands of Apple customers receiving a payout after being refused repairs or replacements on faulty devices still under warranty.

Cellhelmet For iPhone 5 Is The Only Case With Accidental Damage Cover [Review]



The cellhelmet for iPhone 5 is the world’s only case that comes with one year of protection against accidental damage. If you drop your iPhone and it breaks while inside the cellhelmet, its makers, cellpig, will have it repaired or replaced for free — all you pay is the $50 handling fee.

cellhelmet by cellpig
Category: Cases
Works With: iPhone 5
Price: $49.99

That’s how confident cellpig are in the cellhelmet’s ability to keep your iPhone protected. The case itself costs $49.99, which is a little costly when you compare it to other iPhone cases of its kind. But because of the accidental damage cover, it negates the need for a dedicated insurance plan, so you’re still saving yourself a small fortune in the long run.

The cellhelmet is made from a polyurethane plastic that covers the back and sides of your device, while providing access to all of its buttons and ports. It has a matte finish that promises not to attract lint, and it’s available in eight different colors.

Apple’s Warranty Compliance Still ‘Not Good Enough’ In Europe



Apple still isn’t correctly informing consumers about their warranty rights in Europe, according to the European Union’s Justice Commissioner, Vivian Reding.

The Cupertino company changed its European warranty policies last year after it came under fire for not meeting EU regulations. But it’s still not providing consumers with the right information in at least 21 of the EU member states, Reding says.

AppleCare Under Fire In Europe Again As Watchdog Files Complaint Against Apple’s Marketing


Did you know that EU law covers Apple products for a minimum of two years?
Did you know that EU law covers Apple products for a minimum of two years?

Apple’s AppleCare Protection Plan has come under fire once again in Europe after Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats, a Belgian consumer watchdog, filed a complaint against the way in which the Cupertino company markets the product in Europe.

Customers within the European Union are entitled to a free two-year warranty with any consumer electronics purchase, but Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats claims that Apple’s warranty marketing doesn’t properly explain these rights to Belgian shoppers.

Cellhelmet Case With One-Year Accidental Damage Cover Comes To iPhone 5


No case offers the same level of protection for your iPhone 5 as the Cellhelmet.
No case offers the same level of protection for your iPhone 5 as the Cellhelmet.

Back in February, I told you about an awesome iPhone 4S case called the Cellhelmet, which comes with one year of accidental damage cover absolutely free. If your iPhone gets damaged while inside the case, Cellhelmet will get it repaired or replaced — all you pay is the handling charge.

Now Cellhelmet’s coming to your iPhone 5.

For Apple Service Providers, Now There’s An App For That


GsxWarranty checks AppleCare status and service information

Most software released for Macs and iOS devices is designed for the general public – programs, utilities, games and Apple’s own website. But an important and growing industry exists behind the scenes to keep all that shiny Apple gear working.

GsxWarranty is a small utility for Macs, Windows PCs and iPhones which allows a technician to quickly check warranty status on Apple products. By entering the serial number GsxWarranty displays detailed information concerning AppleCare, service parts and configuration details.