Why You Should Always Use the Free AppleCare Repair Service
From time to time, Apple will offer free out-of-warranty repair services for devices and hardware that are determined to be dysfunctional or defective. For example, many users experienced the failure of their iPhone 5 lock / power button, and Apple later determined that some of the devices manufactured were susceptive to power button failure, thus beginning the iPhone 5 Sleep / Wake Button replacement program. I sent my own iPhone 5 in for service to take advantage of that free repair, and I’m very glad I did.
Repairing the Primary Problem… and Fixing Other Issues Too
The obvious benefit for using the free repair service is the direct issue gets resolved. In this case, the iPhone 5 sleep/wake button was replaced. But that’s not always where the repairs end. Because Apple runs thorough diagnostic tests on the device before sending it back to you, they may discover other issues, and, because their customer service is quite generous, they often repair the other issues while they have the device, at no cost to you.
That brings me back to my own iPhone 5 which was recently sent in, and not only did Apple repair the malfunctioning Lock / Power button, but also the camera (regular readers may recall that the camera was mysteriously loose and sometimes not working, an issue some other users reported), and Apple even gave the iPhone a brand new battery – which as far as I knew, had no issues at all – but the new battery does last a significantly longer amount of time. Is that awesome or what?
Here’s the AppleCare Service Summary that was returned with my iPhone showing what was replaced:
The top item listed is the sleep/wake/lock button which the iPhone was originally sent in for, next on the list is the battery, and last is the new camera. All repaired by Apple on an out of warranty iPhone, for free.
How Long Do Apple Repairs Take?
If you’re located near an Apple Store, sometimes they can repair the device that day, sometimes it’ll take a few days, and sometimes they just swap you out with another device onsite immediately. What happens really depends on a variety of things, ranging from the issue being repaired, the rep you work with, and the stores availability of replacement components.
Visiting an Apple Store is inconvenient for me, thus I went for the mail-in route. After making a repair request through the Apple site, Apple sent a box through FedEx and it arrived the next day, and I sent the phone off immediately. It went to Apple’s primary repair center in Elk Grove, California, and was returned to me within the same week, in total it was gone about 4 full business days. For a mail-in repair service, that’s quite fast, and certainly much faster than most other repair services I’ve worked with. Keep in mind this is for out-of-warranty devices. If your iPhone is still under warranty, they’ll usually just send you a new iPhone right away, and the box sent with it is used to return your malfunctioning device with – meaning you’re never without a phone.
What You Should Do Before Sending the iPhone in for Repair
The big thing to remember when sending an iPhone (or any item) for repair is to back up all your data first. For the iPhone, that means backing it up to a computer with iTunes, or to iCloud, or better yet – both. This lets you quickly restore your stuff when you get the phone back, without missing a beat.
Also, don’t forget to turn off Find My iPhone (otherwise the iPhone could be stuck on iCloud Activation Lock), remove any cases from the iPhone, and Apple prefers it if you reset the iPhone to factory default settings before sending it in too. Assuming you talk to an Apple rep on the phone or through online chat, they’ll walk you through all these processes as well.
Obviously not every iPhone or device sent in to Apple will receive additional repairs for free, but there’s certainly a chance something else will be found and they’ll fix that as well. So if your iPhone is eligible under the Sleep / Lock button replacement program (or any other free repair service for that matter), why not send yours and see what happens? At the very least, your power button will work again.