Ap­ple’s prod­uct re­calls and free re­pair pro­grammes

Hav­ing trou­ble with your iphone or Mac? Maybe you can get a free re­pair. David Price looks at Ap­ple’s re­place­ment pro­gramme

Macworld - - Contents -

Won­der­ing whether your bro­ken Ap­ple prod­uct qual­i­fies for a free re­pair, or is part of a re­place­ment pro­gramme? You’ve come to the right place.

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 the tech gi­ant (or a com­pany au­tho­rized 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, but oc­ca­sion­ally Ap­ple in­sti­tutes a gen­eral re­call or free re­pair pro­gramme for a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct or model that it ac­knowl­edges has a con­gen­i­tal prob­lem.

Over the fol­low­ing pages we cover the firm’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, it 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.

It 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 hand­set 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.

iphone re­pairs and re­calls iphone 6s bat­tery shut­down is­sue

In Novem­ber 2016, Ap­ple ac­knowl­edged that iphone 6s hand­sets made in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber 2015 were faulty and prone to spon­ta­neous and un­ex­pected shut­downs; it said the is­sue was 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.”

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into re­ported shut­downs by the China Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion. In early De­cem­ber 2016, Ap­ple’s Chi­nese sup­port page ac­knowl­edged that:

“A small num­ber of cus­tomers out­side of the af­fected range have also re­ported an un­ex­pected shut­down”. It con­tin­ues to of­fer ex­changes for the af­fected mod­els.

You should note, how­ever, that this is dif­fer­ent to Ap­ple’s re­place­ment of bat­ter­ies for £25 fol­low­ing the rev­e­la­tion in Jan­uary 2018 that the com­pany had been slow­ing down some iphone mod­els that might have suf­fered from un­ex­pected shut­downs.

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 (fave.co/2qwc3mp), and us­ing the se­rial num­ber check­ing tool. Open Set­tings > Gen­eral > About on your iphone; the se­rial num­ber is listed as the eleventh en­try on this page. Type this into the field on Ap­ple’s web page and hit

Sub­mit to find out if your iphone qual­i­fies. If the fourth and fifth dig­its in the se­rial num­ber are any of the fol­low­ing com­bi­na­tions, you should qual­ify.

• Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6, Q7, Q8, Q9 • QC, QD, QF, QG, QH, QJ

If you’re not sure, we sug­gest you visit an Ap­ple Re­tail Store or Ap­ple Au­tho­rized Ser­vice Provider and have your de­vice’s se­rial num­ber checked. Your hand­set also needs to work to qual­ify for the re­place­ment pro­gramme.

Re­ported de­lays

Ac­cord­ing to a Red­dit user named ‘broost­enq’, Ap­ple’s bat­tery re­place­ment pro­gramme isn’t pro­ceed­ing as quickly as hoped, pos­si­bly as a re­sult of sub­scribers to the pro­gramme ex­ceed­ing expectations.

“I vis­ited a flag­ship Ap­ple Store this af­ter­noon and was told by the Ge­nius I would have to wait around two weeks for a re­place­ment bat­tery since most stores don’t have any in stock, even though I signed up for an ap­point­ment the day the pro­gram was an­nounced,” broost­enq writes.

“Was dis­ap­point­ing to be sent away with a de­fec­tive bat­tery when the prob­lem af­fects me fre­quently and that Ap­ple didn’t an­tic­i­pate the de­mand for bat­ter­ies to fix ‘a very small num­ber’ of phones (in their words.)”

iphone 6 Plus Multi-touch Is­sue (aka Touch Dis­ease)

Ar­guably one of Ap­ple’s most scan­dalous prod­uct faults of re­cent years, what the firm calls the ‘iphone 6 Plus Multi-touch Re­pair Pro­gramme’, first hit the head­lines in Au­gust 2016. Ifixit ini­tially iden­ti­fied it and called it Touch Dis­ease, although it had been well known within the third-party Ap­ple re­pair com­mu­nity for some time.

You’ll know whether you’re af­fected be­cause the iphone 6 Plus’s dis­play will pe­ri­od­i­cally be af­fected by a small flick­er­ing grey bar at the top of the screen. It’s about the height of the IOS menu bar and looks a bit like old-school TV static, or may look like a series of short bars (that is, crenel­lated). Ad­di­tion­ally – or al­ter­na­tively – the screen may be­come com­pletely un­re­spon­sive to touch.

Ap­ple even­tu­ally took note and is­sued a re­call in Novem­ber 2016, but gallingly for those af­fected the re­pair isn’t free. The firm ac­knowl­edged the

prob­lem, but re­quests £146.44 to get rid of it. How­ever, the iphone must not be dam­aged and must be in work­ing or­der. The re­call pro­gramme is set to end in Septem­ber 2019, five years af­ter the iphone 6 Plus first went on sale.

The tech gi­ant claims users cause the is­sue by drop­ping the phone on a hard sur­face and then make the is­sue worse by “in­cur­ring fur­ther stress on the de­vice” – although it doesn’t go into de­tails as to how.

What to do if you’re af­fected

If you are af­fected by this is­sue, then you can ei­ther pay for Ap­ple or one of its Au­tho­rized ser­vice cen­tres to make the re­pair, or visit an in­de­pen­dent Ap­ple re­pair shop to have the work done. The lat­ter will be sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper, but there’s

no guar­an­tee of qual­ity and you will prob­a­bly in­val­i­date any war­ranty you might have (such as one of­fered by a re­tailer if you bought the phone used). Nonethe­less, we found a hand­ful of ven­dors on ebay of­fer­ing postal re­pairs, start­ing from £70 – just search for ‘touch dis­ease’.

No­tably, if you had al­ready paid Ap­ple to make the re­pair prior to their an­nounc­ing the re­call pro­gramme in Novem­ber 2016, then Ap­ple will pay you an amount “equal the dif­fer­ence between the price you paid for the orig­i­nal ser­vice to your iphone 6 Plus and the £146.44 ser­vice price”. In sim­ple terms, if you paid the stan­dard £306.44 re­pair cost to have Ap­ple fix the is­sue, then it will give you back £160. To make a claim if you haven’t al­ready, con­tact Ap­ple. Re­mem­ber, though, that this only cov­ers Ap­ple-au­tho­rized re­pairs and not unau­tho­rized, third-party re­pairs.

iphone 6 Plus isight cam­era re­place­ment pro­gramme

Is your iphone 6 Plus’s cam­era blurry? Back in Au­gust 2015, Ap­ple launched a re­place­ment pro­gramme for the isight cam­era.

Ever since the 6 Plus was first re­leased back in Septem­ber 2014, there have been a small per­cent­age of users com­plain­ing about blurry pho­tos. The is­sues weren’t present with iphone 6 users, which leads us to be­lieve the fault is in fact with the op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion fea­ture. The fea­ture is said to uti­lize the A8 chip, gy­ro­scope and the M8 mo­tion co­pro­ces­sor in the 6 Plus to sta­bi­lize

pho­tos, mea­sur­ing mo­tion data to pro­vide lens move­ment that com­pen­sates for shak­i­ness.

Ap­ple sub­se­quently ad­mit­ted that a small num­ber of 6 Plus cam­eras were de­fec­tive, caus­ing them to con­stantly take blurry pho­tos. It says on its isight Cam­era Re­place­ment Pro­gram web­site: “Ap­ple has de­ter­mined that, in a small per­cent­age of iphone 6 Plus de­vices, the isight cam­era has a com­po­nent that may fail caus­ing your pho­tos to look blurry. The af­fected units fall into a lim­ited se­rial num­ber range and were sold pri­mar­ily between Septem­ber 2014 and Jan­uary 2015.”

The com­pany goes on to note that if your iphone 6 Plus is tak­ing blurry pho­tos and falls into the el­i­gi­ble se­rial num­ber range, Ap­ple will re­place the cam­era free of charge.

To check if you are el­i­gi­ble head over to the isight Cam­era Re­place­ment Pro­gram web­site (fave.co/2qwg­bcx) and in­put your iphone’s se­rial num­ber. You can ac­cess this by open­ing the Set­tings app and tap­ping Gen­eral. You should see

your se­rial num­ber – tap and hold it to copy it, then paste it into Ap­ple’s Re­place­ment Pro­gram web­site.

If you’re not el­i­gi­ble but still try to get your cam­era re­placed, Ap­ple will know. The firm will ex­am­ine your 6 Plus at ei­ther an Ap­ple Store or an Ap­ple Au­tho­rized Ser­vice Provider to ver­ify the de­vice’s el­i­gi­bil­ity for the pro­gramme be­fore agree­ing to re­pair it.

The re­place­ment isight cam­era will be cov­ered by an ex­tended three-year war­ranty from the date of the orig­i­nal iphone sale, though, this doesn’t ef­fect the stan­dard iphone 6 Plus war­ranty cov­er­age.

The most im­por­tant thing to note: Ap­ple has stated that if your iphone 6 Plus has dam­age

(like a cracked screen) that im­pairs the cam­era re­place­ment, you’ll have to fix the is­sue be­fore­hand.

Mac­book re­pairs and re­calls

2016-2017 13in Mac­book Pro (non-touch Bar) Bat­tery Re­place­ment Pro­gramme

Ap­ple has con­firmed that some Mac­book Pro lap­tops man­u­fac­tured between Oc­to­ber 2016 and Oc­to­ber 2017 may have a bat­tery-re­lated is­sue.

The com­pany states that in these units: “A com­po­nent may fail caus­ing the built-in bat­tery to ex­pand.” That sounds alarm­ing, but Ap­ple claims: “This is not a safety is­sue”.

Only non-touch Bar Mac­books man­u­fac­tured between 2016 to 2017 are af­fected. You can check whether your lap­top is cov­ered by the pro­gramme at (fave.co/2hsw8cf) If you have al­ready paid for a bat­tery re­place­ment you should

con­tact the com­pany for a re­fund. You can do so via this link – fave.co/2qthkge. This pro­gramme will be avail­able un­til 2022 – five years from when the Mac­books in ques­tion were man­u­fac­tured.

If your lap­top is sent away for bat­tery re­place­ment it may take three to five days. Ap­ple ad­vises you back up your data be­fore tak­ing your Mac­book to be ser­viced.

The com­pany also notes: “If your 13in Mac­book Pro has any dam­age which im­pairs the re­place­ment of the bat­tery, that is­sue will need to be re­solved prior to the bat­tery re­place­ment. In some cases, there may be a cost as­so­ci­ated with the re­pair.”

2011 Mac­book Pros with video is­sues (Fe­bru­ary 2015)

One of the long­est-run­ning Ap­ple sagas has been the tale of the fail­ing Mac­book Pros.

We were hear­ing re­ports of this as early as

2013, with many own­ers of 2011 mod­els with

AMD graph­ics suf­fer­ing from sys­tem crashes and hard­ware prob­lems that have been de­scribed as ‘crit­i­cal’. Af­ter a long wait, in early 2015 Ap­ple fi­nally an­nounced a re­pair pro­gramme.

On its sup­port page (fave.co/2hufqhg), Ap­ple re­veals it has de­ter­mined “that a small per­cent­age of Mac­book Pro sys­tems may ex­hibit dis­torted video, no video or un­ex­pected sys­tem restarts”.

The spe­cific symp­toms de­scribed by Ap­ple in­clude dis­torted or scram­bled video on the com­puter screen, no video on the com­puter screen (or ex­ter­nal dis­play) even though the com­puter is on, and the com­puter restarts un­ex­pect­edly.

Do note, how­ever, that af­ter the re­pair pro­gramme had been run­ning for a lit­tle over two years Ap­ple an­nounced it was re­duc­ing the range of mod­els cov­ered. The early 2011 and late 2011 Mac­book Pros, in both 15- and 17in screen sizes, are no longer el­i­gi­ble; the pro­gramme now cov­ers the mid-2012 and early 2013 15in Pros only.

You can check your lap­top’s el­i­gi­bil­ity at the fol­low­ing link: fave.co/2hqalbj.

Mac Pro re­pairs and re­calls

In Fe­bru­ary 2016 Ap­ple an­nounced a re­pair pro­gramme for cer­tain mod­els in its Mac Pro line,

in re­sponse to a re­peat­edly re­ported is­sue with fail­ing video cards. The re­pair pro­gramme ap­plies to late 2013 Mac Pros equipped with AMD Fire­pro D500 or D700 GPUS. If your Mac Pro is af­fected by the is­sue, you will have ex­pe­ri­enced any or all of the fol­low­ing symp­toms: video prob­lems (dis­torted pic­ture or video re­fus­ing to play); your Mac shut­ting down or restart­ing spon­ta­neously (or gen­er­ally act­ing un­re­li­ably); freez­ing; fail­ure to start up nor­mally.

If you are af­fected by the prob­lem and your Mac qual­i­fies for the pro­gramme, you will be able to get it re­paired for free, pro­vided you do so by 30 May 2018, so you’ll need to get your skates on. It’s un­der­stood that Ap­ple will sim­ply re­place the af­fected GPUS.

To see whether your Mac Pro qual­i­fies for the re­pair pro­gramme, con­tact Ap­ple Sup­port at fave.co/2qy0u4k, or speak to an em­ployee at an Ap­ple Store. If you are af­fected, how­ever, it’s be­lieved that Ap­ple will at­tempt to get in touch with you.

You will also be able to get your Mac Pro fixed by an Ap­ple Au­tho­rized Ser­vice Provider, but check you are cov­ered by the pro­gramme be­fore com­mis­sion­ing any re­pair work.

Ac­ces­sory re­pair and re­calls Ap­ple USB-C charge ca­bles re­call

If you bought a Mac­book be­fore June 2015, then the USB-C ca­ble Ap­ple pro­vided for charg­ing pur­poses might be faulty. You’ll know this be­cause ei­ther your Mac­book won’t charge when you use the ca­ble to con­nect to the charger, or it will only charge in­ter­mit­tently.

Ap­ple iden­ti­fied the is­sue in Fe­bru­ary 2016, but doesn’t list any po­ten­tial dan­ger to the user of the ca­ble. If you are af­fected by this you should stop us­ing the ca­ble im­me­di­ately be­cause you might be dam­ag­ing your Mac­book.

Af­fected ca­bles can be iden­ti­fied be­cause they have the fol­low­ing text on them, with­out any se­rial num­ber: “De­signed by Ap­ple in Cal­i­for­nia. As­sem­bled in China.”

Any USB-C ca­bles with this text and that also in­clude a se­rial num­ber straight af­ter­wards are safe to use and not af­fected by the re­call. For de­tails, go to fave.co/2qyxqtb.

Weirdly, some users re­port see­ing no text at all on their Ap­ple-pro­vided USB-C ca­bles. If the ca­ble

meets the above cri­te­ria – it was made by Ap­ple and sup­plied with a Mac­book be­fore June 2015 – then the best pol­icy is to con­tact Ap­ple for ad­vice.

What to do if you’re af­fected

Ap­ple will re­place the ca­ble should you take it to an Ap­ple Store Ge­nius bar, or present the ca­ble to an Au­tho­rized ser­vice provider, although you’ll prob­a­bly need to pro­vide proof of pur­chase. No­tably, it doesn’t ap­pear to be pos­si­ble to re­place the ca­ble by post. You’ll need to pro­vide Ap­ple with your se­rial num­ber when you at­tempt to make the re­place­ment – although it might just be eas­ier just to take along your Mac­book and let them find it for you. Ad­di­tion­ally, if you pur­chased a re­place­ment ca­ble be­cause of this fault, then Ap­ple might give you a re­fund – just drop them a line.

Beats Pill XL Speaker re­call

In June 2015 Ap­ple an­nounced an im­por­tant re­call of all mod­els of the Beats Pill XL desk­top speaker when it be­came ev­i­dent the bat­tery in­side might over­heat and even catch fire. This is lit­er­ally a prod­uct re­call be­cause Ap­ple/beats re­moved it from sale and upon re­ceipt of the faulty speaker will re­fund £215 to any­body who pur­chased one – even if that wasn’t di­rectly from Ap­ple it­self.

No time limit has been set on the re­call, which raises an in­ter­est­ing prospect – should you stum­ble upon one in a sec­ond-hand shop or at a car boot sale then snap it up be­cause it’s worth £215 once you send it off to Ap­ple.

What to do if you’re af­fected

If you own a Beats Pill XL speaker, you should stop us­ing it im­me­di­ately and visit Ap­ple’s web­site (fave.co/2qwmy9l) to fill in the form. The firm will send you a pre­paid postage box so you can re­turn the speaker, and within three weeks will ei­ther credit your Ap­ple Store ac­count or make an elec­tronic pay­ment, de­pend­ing on which you choose.

Please note that Ap­ple does not per­mit you to re­turn the speaker to an Ap­ple Store, or to the re­tailer where it was pur­chased. This is solely a postal re­turn pro­gramme.

Ap­ple of­fered free re­pairs to any iphone 5 that had a faulty power but­ton

Type in your iphone’s se­rial num­ber to see if it is el­i­gi­ble for a new bat­tery

An iphone 6 Plus suf­fer­ing from ‘Touch Dis­ease’

Ap­ple ad­mit­ted that a small num­ber of iphone 6 Plus cam­eras were de­fec­tive

Ap­ple has ad­mit­ted that some of its non-touch Bar13in Mac­bookPros have bat­teryre­lated is­sues

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