A recently leaked Apple document seen by Business Insider gives specific details with images on how Apple handles whether an iPhone is eligible for service or replacement.
The 22-page document seen by Business Insider was leaked to Dropbox and features details for Apple Store technicians and authorized service providers on determining when iPhones are eligible for warranty service, eligible for out-of-warranty service, or ineligible for service.
The report states the document is called the “Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide” or VMI for short and is dated 3/3/2017.
BI says that one Apple employee told the publication “We have one just like that for all of the products,” while another said VMIs are “something we use but, we don’t refer to it all that often, unless we get some oddball issue.”
Here is a page from the Service Eligibility Guidelines:
There’s not much that’s too surprising about the details, but it’s very interesting to get a look at the internal document. At the bottom of the chart above, it is noteworthy that those with AppleCare+ can get service for iPhones with catastrophic damage, while iPhones without the extended warranty are ineligible.
Of course AppleCare+ also makes a portion of the eligible for out-of-warranty service issues above covered, but usually with a deductible.
The document also includes detailed steps and questions for technicians to ask customers when dealing with liquid-damaged iPhones.
The other portion of the document shared by BI shows enclosure wear characteristics, all of which are considered cosmetic damage and are not covered under warranty.
As is always the case, these guides, policies, and warranty details can change at any time. Also, these policies aren’t likely set in stone.
Business Insider was told by an Apple retail employee that the VMI isn’t the last word on whether a repair is covered — at least unofficially. “There are always those one-off issues that the phone is technically not covered under warranty but we swap the phone anyways under warranty,” an Apple technician said.
As of this writing Apple hasn’t responded to a request from BI for comment.
Earlier this year we saw Apple reverse its position on third-party screen repairs voiding iPhone warranties, and this past June Apple brought accidental coverage for the first time to its Macs.
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