Our guide to broken iPhones and your consumer & legal rights continues.
Replacement guides for screen, battery, water damage, etc
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:
Over the years Apple's iPhones have become more and more waterproof, with the iPhone 12 Pro awarded the IP68, meaning that it should survive being underwater at a maximum depth of 6 metres up to 30 minutes. However, liquid damage is still not covered under warranty.
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 said they were denied service because the indicators in their devices had turned pink and that an issue with the Liquid Submersion Indicator might cause them to turn pink even if the device has not been submerged. 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 its 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.
No sound coming from speaker
Sometimes this is caused by fluff in the headphone port, which can make the phone think headphones are plugged in. This is 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.
There were well publicised concerns about the durability of iPhone batteries a few years ago when Apple was found to be throttling iPhones (slowing them down) in order to prevent shutdowns caused by depleted batteries. Eventually the company was forced to pay out millions to affected customers: Apple to pay $113 million in Batterygate scandal.
Following this scandal the company did offer a £25/£29 iPhone battery replacement scheme for affected iPhones, but that scheme is no longer running.
We explain how to check iPhone battery health and find out when to replace it and we cover how much it costs to replace an iPhone battery. You'll also find more information in our Apple repairs: price guide.
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 percent of its original capacity, Apple will replace it for free.
If your phone is out of warranty, Apple offers a battery replacement programme that costs £69/$69 for out of warranty iPhones (£49/$49 for models with the Home button). You may also have to pay for postage. 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. The best advice is to close down apps that you don't require. Read our guide to improving battery life in your iPhone.
If your iPhone battery is faulty and you don't fancy paying Apple's prices you might decide to use a third party. However, you should be aware that back in August 2019 Apple was also attracting negative attention for prohibiting third party battery replacements. Following a third-party battery replacement an iPhone would display a warning that the battery requires Service, and also that it is "unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery." According to iFixIt this message would also appear even if the replacement battery is an Apple battery.
It's likely that Apple is displaying this warning to discourage third-party battery replacements that could be using second-hand batteries and unsafe batteries. News that the company is prohibiting what might be cheaper iPhone battery replacements in favour of replacements by Apple or Authorized Service Providers did not go down well.
While having a third-party battery replacement won't stop your iPhone working - iFixIt has verified that Apple won't start to throttle your iPhone or anything like that - it is probably advisable to go to Apple or an Apple Service Provider to replace your battery.
You can check if your local repair shop is an Apple Service Provider here.
If you want to get your iPhone battery replaced follow these steps:
- Go to the Get Support page on Apple's website.
- Choose your iPhone
- Select Battery & Charging
- Select Battery Replacement
- Choose from Bring in for Repair (you can also choose send in for repair, which might be your preferred option if you want to send it directly to Apple, but it might be out of your hands for longer that way)
- Enter your Postcode to find your options locally
iPhone won't charge
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. If it is the battery at fault you'll want to refer to the above section on battery replacement. For more advice read How to fix an iPhone that won't charge and How to fast-charge an iPhone.
We're pretty sure that repairing a cracked iPhone screen 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.
If you have the aforementioned AppleCare+ plan it will cost £25/$29 to replace a broken screen on an iPhone. But if it's out of warranty things can start to get expensive - and that was before Apple put up its pricing.
Phone screen repair starts at £136.44/$129 for an iPhone 6, rising to £316.44/$329 for the iPhone 12 Pro Max (once it is out of warranty). You can see all the prices here.
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 without AppleCare+ 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.
If you're considering a (cheaper) third-party screen repair, take note: there have been cases where third-party screens, and even official Apple screens fitted by other firms, stopped working. Specifically it seems that the True Tone feature that adjusts colour and brightness according to the lighting conditions - stopped working after a software update.
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 £136 for a new screen. Next time you get a new iPhone you might want to consider using a screen protector.
We've got a selection of good options in our roundup of the Best iPhone screen protectors.
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 jailbreaking: "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. Unauthorised 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 unauthorised software".
Incidentally, we've got a tutorial showing how to 'unjailbreak' an iPhone, but don't depend on that fooling the Geniuses.
My iPhone keeps crashing
Sometimes it's the software rather than the hardware at fault, and if your iPhone keeps crashing the chances are that it's a software error.
Before taking the iPhone to an Apple Store, reset your iPhone and make sure you've 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.
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 section: What you need to do