Apple iPhone and Apple Watch warranty u-turn means more device droppers will have to pay for their display repairs

iPhone 15 Review
(Image credit: Future)

If you own an iPhone 15 or an Apple Watch Series 9, or indeed any of the older models, you should consider starting to be a little more careful with it. That's our recommendation following reports that getting a broken display repaired could be about to cost more than you expected.

Dropping an iPhone has often proven to be an expensive business if you aren't an AppleCare Plus subscriber, and the same can also be said for Apple's wearables as well. But previously, anyone who found a single hairline crack on either of those devices could be confident that Apple would initiate a repair free of charge via a warranty claim. That, however, is no longer the case.

According to a new report citing multiple sources, Apple has changed its in-house warranty policies across the iPhone and Apple Watch and now requires that iPhone and Apple Watch owners pay for these repairs.

What's the craic?

9to5Mac reports that Apple is no longer covering what it called "single hairline cracks" under the standard warranty and will now require that these repairs be carried out as an accidental damage claim.

While Apple would previously cover such cracks, that was only the case so long as there were no signs of damage that suggested the device had been dropped. It isn't unheard of for cracks to appear for seemingly no reason and, anecdotally, I have had one iPad swapped out after it developed a single hairline crack overnight while laid on a table. At the time, Apple told me that it believed the crack was caused by an overly tight fit of the display in its housing. If this happens on an iPhone from this month on, however, customers will have to pay regardless of whether the crack is their fault.

9to5Mac reports that this policy change currently only applies to the iPhone and Apple Watch but it's unclear whether a similar change could come to the Mac and iPad, too.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.