Why buying Apple products from Best Buy or Target may shorten your warranty — and how to fix it

AppleCare on iPad
AppleCare on iPad (Image credit: iMore)

Twitter user Benjamin Black recently tweeted Serenity about his warranty woes after having bought his Apple product from a third-party retailer:


Basically, while Apple offers a 1-year limited warranty on most products, that warranty doesn't always start on the day you purchased your device from a third party store like Best Buy, Target, or Walmart: In some instances, that warranty is logged in Apple's system as beginning when the store bought the devices from Apple.

Why do stores like Best Buy and Walmart sell Apple devices with shortened warranties?

When third-party retailers buy Apple products in bulk, Apple essentially washes its inventory of those devices. Of course the serial numbers are all still with Apple and all that fun stuff, but Apple doesn't maintain sales records for each individual device sold in each individual store. Therefore, the date that gets stored in Apple's system is the date the third-party retailer purchased the products.

So you may have bought an iPhone X from Best Buy last week, but the 1-year warranty may have actually started on November 3, 2017 (or whenever that store purchased its supply of iPhones).

What do I do if I bought a device with a shortened warranty?

If you're concerned that your device might have an erroneous purchase date, the best thing you can do is call Apple Support directly at 1-800-692-7753 (1-800-MY-APPLE) and have an associate retroactively change your warranty period.

TIP: You can only do this through Apple's Support line or online resources — your local Apple Store doesn't have access to the necessary records.

To change your device's "sold on" date to the date you actually purchased it from the store, you'll need your purchase receipt from the store in question and to explain the situation. Apple's customer service is excellent (at least from my experience), and you should be able to get it sorted. After all, it worked for our friend Benjamin:



Sound off in the comments below! Has this happened to you before? Let us know how you dealt with it.

Mick Symons

Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.