Should you stay or should you go? When your phone isn't functioning as it should, that's the decision you must make. On the one hand, you can repair your product and eke out a few more years of work, and on the other, you can cut your losses and start over again.
The type of damage your phone has endured, your budget, and your personal preferences will all play a role in your decision. But there are some good guidelines to follow that can help you make a smart choice.
Start With Warranties
Many of the problems that plague iPhones can be tackled with the help of a qualified repair team. If your phone is covered by a warranty, you won't have to pay for all that work. You could be protected even if you don't remember buying an insurance policy from Apple.
Every iPhone is protected by a one-year limited manufacturer's warranty — even products that were purchased from a third party. If Apple decides your phone is defective rather than ruined by operator error, the company can choose to:
- Repair your iPhone.
- Trade your broken phone for one that works.
- Give you your money back.
Apple builds on that warranty with Apple Care. This product gives you an additional few years of coverage, along with deep discounts on some types of accidental damage.
If you bought your phone from Apple, either online or in an Apple store, you were probably encouraged to invest in Apple Care. But if you purchased your phone from a third party, you may not have known about it. You may have forgotten to sign up too (it happens).
Experts say that Apple Care is a good buy for people that are clumsy and prone to dropping their devices, and it's a good buy for people who hope to keep their phones for two years or longer. Those details wouldn't help you if you forgot to buy it, as Apple locks down your chance to buy protection based on your purchase date.
Is your phone protected? If you're not sure, you can find out in a few seconds. Head to the Apple website and enter your phone's serial number. You'll learn right away whether your phone is covered by the original warranty, by Apple Care, or both.
iPhone Replacement: What to Know
If your phone isn't protected, you still have choices. Replacement is one of them. Replacement programs let you trade in your broken phone for one that works well. Typically, your replacement isn't a new phone, but one that's been repaired.
Apple makes iPhone replacement really easy. The Express Replacement program lets you:
- Provide details of your current phone.
- Get a replacement phone, along with packaging for your existing product.
- Send in the broken piece.
The main benefit is that you'll keep your phone until the new one comes. If your phone is glitchy but still operational, this could keep you online.
But this isn’t a free option. You could be asked to pay $99 if you have Apple Care, and the prices are much higher if you have a newer phone and don’t have this added protection.
iPhone Repair: What to Know
Even without warranty protection, you could get the repairs you need to get your phone up and running again. It's best to get help through Apple, but if that doesn't appeal to you, there are other options to tap into.
Apple iPhone repair starts with contact. You can visit an Apple Store and talk with a technician in person, and you'll walk out with a cost for repairs and an estimated time of completion.
If you go online, you'll offer some details about your phone, send it in, wait for a response, and then pace in front of the mailbox until it comes back to you.
Costs vary depending on device, but according to Apple, you can expect to pay these fees per model type if you're out of warranty:
- Model XS: $549
- Model 8: $349
- Model 6S: $299
- Model SE: $269
Apple can also repair broken screens for fees ranging from $129 to $329. But if the technicians find other problems as they fix your screen, they can charge more for the work required to bring things back to normal.
There are also some types of damage that Apple just won't repair at all. According to Esquire, those issues include:
- Missing parts or pieces.
- Intentional damage.
- Inclusion of non-Apple batteries.
- Catastrophic damage, in which your phone is in several pieces.
It's important to note that Apple will no longer repair your phone if you have a battery made by someone else. That means taking your phone to a shop that isn't owned by Apple is a major decision. Do it, and you limit any future work on your phone. You just won't have the option to go back.
If that doesn't bother you, head to a third-party shop to get help. But look for a place that:
- Uses A-grade materials. Most third-party shops won't use Apple parts. But make sure they use components that have this high-quality grade, so you can trust that they'll last.
- Offers a warranty. Will the company stand behind the work they do? Make sure you get that assurance in writing.
- Good reviews. When consumers are ripped off, they complain. Look online for past issues others have reported.
- Tight security. No company should ask you for your passwords or private information. If you see that request, keep looking.
iPhone Sales: What to Know
Who wants to hassle with repairs when you can sell instead, right? In reality, it's always best to fix your phone. A functional handset gets you more money than a broken piece of junk, especially if the repairs are done with Apple parts.
But if your phone just can't be fixed, some companies will buy your broken phone. Make sure you work with a company that offers an estimate of how much your phone is worth, and get that offer in writing when you can. Know your options if the company chooses not to buy your phone, and learn when you can get it back in case they don't want to buy it.
It's also wise to read reviews of sales shops too. Other consumers can tell you more about their experiences with the company and how much money they took home, and you can learn a lot about how these groups treat their customers when something goes wrong. If your first choice has a low reputation score, keep looking.
If you choose to sell your phone, you'll be ready to move onto a new handset with speed, and for some people, that might be the best benefit yet. In just a few steps, you'll have a product that works just right — and you'll have a little money in your pocket too.
AppleCare+ Plans for iPhone. Apple.
What Does Applecare Cover, and Is It Worth the Buy? (January 2019). DGiT.
iPhone Repair and Service. Apple.
iPhone Service Pricing. Apple.
Here's How Apple Decides if You Deserve a Free iPhone Repair or Replacement. (September 2017). Esquire.
Independent iPhone Repair Shops Can Be a Bargain, but There Are Risks. (May 2018). The Globe and Mail.