PART TWO: WHAT DID YOU DO?
Whether Apple will replace your iPhone depends on what caused the fault. What did you do? We look at the most common broken iPhone scenarios below:
I dropped my iPhone in a toilet/cup of tea/bath
Apple has indicators that show if the iPhone has come into contact with water. Prior to December 2009 Apple had an iPhone Liquid Damage Policy that meant a warranty claim could be denied based "solely on a Triggered Headphone Jack LCI and or Triggered Dock LCI". The LCI is a Liquid Contact Indicator that is hidden in the device’s headphone jack and charging port and signals excessive exposure to water. If Apple discovered that this LCI is white it means that the paper has not come into contact with water, and therefore your warranty is intact. However, if it is pink, your warranty is void and you may face an expensive repair bill. Apple was taken to court by a number of plaintiffs in the US who claimed that they were denied service because the indicators in their devices had turned pink. They wanted to highlight a issue with the Liquid Submersion Indicator that Apple uses that might cause them to turn pink even if the device has not been submerged in water. Even tape maker 3M agreed that humidity could have caused the tape to turn pink, according to the lawsuit. Crucially, since December 2009 Apple has used the phrase "Liquid Contact Indicator" to describe the tape, which before that date it described it as a "Liquid Submersion Indicator". Apple agreed to settle the case out of court.
The same issue raised its head in the UK back in June 2010, when BBC Watchdog highlighted that unhappy Apple customers were claiming poor after sales service when they returned faulty iPhones. Apple Store staff were insisting faults were the result of water damage, which voids the phones warranty, leaving customers little option but to buy a new iPhone, pay for the repair or shop elsewhere.
Watchdog suggested that Apple was failing in their duty to properly check customer claims that phones have stayed clear of water or liquid.
As a result of the compensation case in the US, you may find evidence that your iPhone has come into contact with liquid won't necessarily mean that Apple will refuse to fix it as it might once have. With a little knowledge about compensation cases in America, and awareness of the Watchdog investigation, you may be able to persuade Apple that your iPhone was never submersed in water. Good luck.
The speaker doesn't produce sound
We have heard from a number of people who told us their iPhone speaker stopped working. In a couple of cases this was because there was fluff in the headphone port, which made the phone think that the headphones were plugged in. This was easily rectified. Another potential fix is simply to do a software update. However, you can rest assured that Apple will replace an iPhone if it's a manufacturing defect.
The battery is draining too fast
Apple explains on its website that the Apple one-year limited warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. You can extend your coverage to two years from the date of your iPhone purchase with the AppleCare Protection Plan for iPhone. If during the plan’s coverage period, your iPhone battery drops below 50% of its original capacity Apple will replace it. If your phone is out of warranty, Apple offers a battery replacement program that costs £55 plus a £7.44 shipping fee if required. This service takes about a week. However, it may not be the battery at fault: there are a number of iPhone apps that suck the power out of your battery. For example, we find that if we leave Words With Friends running in the background our battery will empty quickly. Best advice is to close down apps that you don't require.
My iPhone has stopped charging
It may well be the power cable at fault here. With past iPhones we have found that the wires bend and sometimes become exposed on the bit of flex before the plug. Your warranty covers the power cable and other accessories that came in the box, so Apple will replace it. If you can get your hands on another power cable (a friend is bound to have one) try it out. We haven't experienced this issue with the new lightning power cable on our iPhone 5, which suggests it is an issue Apple has fixed. If it is the battery at fault you'll want to refer to the above section on battery replacement.
I smashed the screen
We're pretty sure that this is the number one reason why people take their phone to the Apple Store to plead for a replacement. As with the battery Apple has a system in place to arrange the repair of your phone, although it will cost you. Apple charges £139 to replace a cracked screen (£146.29 if you use the mail order service). You may well decide that it's not worth the price of a repair and be seduced by Apple into paying for a new handset. We've yet to hear from someone who was able to argue for a free screen replacement having smashed their iPhone. You may be able to find someone else to repair the screen for less, but you should be aware that letting someone else tamper with your iPhone would void your warranty.
Note that in the US Apple offers an AppleCare+ protection plan for the iPhone that means it will replace a users iPhone on two occasions within the two year coverage period if the iPhone suffers accidental damage.
Apple is said to be planning to bring this AppleCare+ iPhone accidental damage cover plan to the UK and Europe. Currently the additional service that covers iPhones against two incidents of accidental damage over the two year period costs US customers an additional $49 on top of the cost of AppleCare.
The screen is scratched
Apple won't replace your screen for scratches and we very much doubt that you will be that put off by the scratches that you would pay £142.29 for a new screen. Next time you get a new iPhone you might want to consider using a screen protector such as this one from Tech21. Or don't keep it in your pocket with your keys.
I've previously replaced the screen and now the phone is broken, will Apple fix it?
No, as we said above, if someone other than Apple replaced the screen that will have voided the warranty.
I jailbroke my iPhone, will Apple replace it?
Officially, no. But the question is will Apple even know? If you can return your iPhone to factory settings before taking it to Apple you may be lucky enough to get it past the Geniuses. If you can't do that, they will probably be able to tell that you jailbroke your phone when they access it via the test system in store, and they will not be so keen on fixing it. Apple has a statement on the matter of jailbraking: "iOS is designed to be reliable and secure from the moment you turn on your device. Built-in security features protect against malware and viruses and help to secure access to personal information and corporate data. Unauthorized modifications to iOS ("jailbreaking") bypass security features and can cause numerous issues to the hacked iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch." As a result "Apple may deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software."
My iPhone keeps crashing!
Sometimes it's the software rather than the hardware at fault and if your iPhone keeps crashing chances are that it's a software error. Before taking the iPhone to an Apple Store reset your iPhone and make sure you have updated your software. Another thing to check: how full is the memory? We have met people with iPhones so full of video and photos that they stopped working properly. A bit of a spring clean can do the world of good. Another thing that can affect the performance of your iPhone is the apps you run on it. Is a particular app causing the crashes? Check to see if there is an update available for it. Sometimes an app that always worked well will suddenly stop working because Apple has made a change to iOS. Chances are you can fix the phone yourself if you follow this advice. Apple provides troubleshooting advice on its website so you can follow the steps and see if that fixes the problem.
I did nothing, my iPhone just stopped working…
See above: There are a few tests you might want to do before you take it to the Apple Store: you don't want to look stupid…
I didn't get the iPhone from Apple, will Apple still replace it?
If you feel that there is a fault and you are unhappy you can take it back to the shop where you bought it for an exchange. However, a quick look around the web suggests that Apple is a lot more helpful when it comes to iPhone servicing and replacements than the mobile networks. Apple provides the warranty so legally it is up to them to deal with the fault, so don't feel that purchasing the iPhone elsewhere means you can't take the broken iPhone to Apple.
NEXT PAGE - PART THREE: WHAT YOU NEED TO DO