It’s pretty tough to repair Apple products, not just for individuals but even third-party shops. And it’s even more hard to predict whether Apple itself will repair the damaged device or will decline to fix or replace it. However, courtesy Business Insider‘s 22-page unearthed Apple’s “Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide — VMI,” we now know what qualifies as an “eligible repair.”
The VMI guide for iPhones shows how the company determines which phones are eligible for repair under warranty. The guide which was leaked to Dropbox, is dated March 3, 2017 and covers the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, and 7 Plus.
Apple covers debris under display glass or pixel irregularity, misalignment of the FaceTime camera foam, or a single hairline crack to the front glass without an impact point under its warranty service, regardless of any accidental or liquid damage.
For out-of-warranty services, the company repairs LCD fractures, damage due to laser contact with the camera, extreme puncture holes, multiple cracks in the glass, and damaged connectors. However, iPhone is deemed ineligible for service if it shows intentional tampering, is a “disassembled unit or missing parts”, contains non-Apple batteries, or is damaged “catastrophically.”
For the AppleCare+ customers, Apple may cover for catastrophic damage. AppleCare+’s hardware coverage covers up to two incidents of accidental damage — with a $29 fee for screen damage, or $99 for any other damage — the guide notes.
Apple hasn’t been good in the past in acknowledging product problems, but is now definitely improving in that area. The infamous iPhone 6 “touch disease” which resulted in lawsuits, might have changed company’s tune.
As for the guide itself, an Apple technician noted that the VMIs aren’t often used and techs occasionally make exceptions. “There are always those one-off issues that the phone is technically not covered under warranty but we swap the phone anyway under warranty,” technician said.