Apple product recalls & free repair programmes for iPhone, iPad & Mac
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 replacement programmes: check to see if your faulty device is included. You might be in line for a free replacement.
Will Apple repair 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.
iPhone repairs and recalls
Here are the product recalls Apple has announced for the iPhone.
iPhone 6s battery shutdown issue
In November 2016, Apple acknowledged that iPhone 6s handsets made in September and October last were faulty and prone to spontaneous and unexpected shutdowns; it says the issue is battery-related. The firm is therefore willing to offer a free replacement for the battery unit in affected models.
“Apple has determined that a very small number of iPhone 6s devices may unexpectedly shut down,” the firm says in a statement. “This is not a safety issue and only affects devices within a limited serial number range that were manufactured between September and October 2015.”
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In early December 2016 as noted by USA Today, Apple’s Chinese support page also acknowledged that ‘A small number of customers outside of the affected range have also reported an unexpected shutdown’. Apple continues to offer exchanges for the affected models.
How to find out if your iPhone qualifies
The recall applies to iPhone 6s models manufactured in September and October 2015, as explained above, but is restricted to handsets within a specified serial number range.
You can easily find out if your iPhone is eligible for the recall by visiting Apple’s dedicated web page for the programme, and using the serial number checking tool. Open Settings > General > About on your iPhone; the Serial Number is listed as the 11th entry on this page. Type this into the field on Apple’s web page and hit Submit to find out if your iPhone qualifies.
9to5Mac offers a list of serial numbers that are eligible. If the fourth and fifth digits in the serial number are any of the following combinations, you should qualify.