Leaked Apple Document Outlines Apple's iPhone Repair Rules


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

A leaked Apple "Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide" shared this afternoon by Business Insider provides some insight into how Apple's repair policies work, highlighting how Apple determines when to offer an in-warranty repair, an out-of-warranty repair, or a denial of service.

Dated March 3, 2017, the document is known internally as the "VMI" and covers the iPhone 6, 6s, and 7, along with Plus models. An Apple technician told Business Insider that there's a similar document for all of its products, and that it's generally used for training.

The guide is divided into three sections. The green section denotes problems where Apple will provide a warranty service, the yellow covers issues where Apple will offer out-of-warranty repairs, and the red section contains examples of issues Apple will refuse to fix.

Click to enlarge​

Debris under the display glass, a pixel anomaly, FaceTime camera foam misalignment, and a single hairline crack to the front glass are all problems that Apple will fix under warranty, even if there's additional accidental or liquid damage to the device. These are the only issues that can be fixed automatically even with additional damage to a device.

Apple will provide out-of-warranty replacements for liquid damage confirmed by the user, evidence of corrosion, LCD fractures, camera damage from lasers, cracks at a point of impact, damaged Lightning/audio/microphone components, extreme abrasion or puncture holes, and a bent or split enclosure.

Devices that have user-replaced parts, intentional tampering or damage, non-Apple batteries, or catastrophic damage are not eligible for service at all. Enclosure damage, like scratches and scuffs, is not covered and cosmetic problems do not warrant a replacement or repair if there are no other issues.

Apple also has a special set of rules for water damage. Employees are instructed to look for signs of water damage both internally and externally when diagnosing issues, and if there is evidence of contact with water, employees are told to deny some in-warranty repairs and instead offer an out-of-warranty repair.

Click to enlarge​

According to Apple employees, the VMI isn't often used unless there's an "oddball issue," and it's also more of a guide than a hard and fast rule when it comes to replacement, as there are many issues that arise that aren't covered here. "There are always those one-off issues that the phone is technically not covered under warranty but we swap the phone anyways under warranty," an Apple technician told Business Insider.

These rules don't apply to devices covered by AppleCare+, as that warranty entitles users to two device replacements or repairs, even for accidental damage, so long as the fee is covered. For out-of-warranty repairs, Apple charges $130 to $150 for screen repairs and $300 to $350 for other damage. With AppleCare+, a screen repair costs $29 and other damage costs $99 to fix.

Article Link: Leaked Apple Document Outlines Apple's iPhone Repair Rules


Jul 21, 2003
My sense is that Apple uses this as a guideline, but tends more often than not to honor fixes under warrenty that could arguably not qualify if you went with this document as strictly as possible.

All in all, when it comes to covering fixes, Apple tends to be one of the best in the business.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2017
what about the recycling program I want to dispose my iPhone 6 and MacBook Air for some new hardware their in perfect condition


macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2011
Not an earth-shattering leak. :) This is a standard issue document (also called 'Visual/Mechanical Inspection (VMI)), available to download from Apple's online portal (GSX) for all Apple Technicians / Authorized Service Centers.

Source: responsible partly for putting the guide together.


Oct 17, 2016
So basically, nothing we didn't already know. Just confirmed though.


macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2003
Now nerds are going to print and laminate this, go to get "free" service, then argue when it's not covered (while whipping it out).
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macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2015
I took mine in and they wouldn’t fix it.

It says they’ll fix it if within warranty. Is your 6 still within warranty.
It is no longer under apple care. Not that this 'foam misalignment' is effecting the camera or anything.


macrumors 6502a
May 4, 2012
Unfortunately not my experience with Apple...my first gen IPod Touch developed a headphone fault after around 14 months and all they offered me was a 10% voucher against a gen 2 device.

Because my iPad Air 2 was purchased in Singapore (duty free purchase at airport) and developed a fault after around 6 months, they initially refused to service it at all (I live in UK). Ultimately they did swap it, on the understanding that a signed a waiver that I would not receive a replacement if another fault developed.

I read plenty of stories about Apple any their tremendous aftercare, and I have no doubt that they are true, but sadly not my own personal experience....very ordinary indeed.

Edit: to be fair I did benefit from the first gen iPod nano replacement program


macrumors 6502
Jul 31, 2008
Whats most interesting is that these documents don't leak more often. Those NDA read-ins must be brutal events.
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macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
It is no longer under apple care. Not that this 'foam misalignment' is effecting the camera or anything.
My understanding from the document was that the repair would be covered if stil under warranty but not if out of warranty. I could be misinterpreting though.
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macrumors 68020
May 14, 2012
Apple denied a 30 pin connector repair for my 4S because the LCI was red. They told me I submerged it which I didn't and wouldn't even schedule me in the Genius Bar.
I got it working again by cleaning the connector. The false LCI was because I would go in and out of a cold environment and condensation would form on the stickers.
The phone lasted me another 2 years and sold as a good phone.


macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
The Cool Part of CA, USA
I have this "foam misalignment" on my 6 plus. Wonder if I should take it in? o_O
My 6 has this, and I always suspected if I complained about it Apple might fix it--looks like I was right. Since it's entirely cosmetic, and barely even that, I never bothered, though--seemed pointless to mess with unless I needed to have it serviced for some other issue.


macrumors newbie
Nov 6, 2013
I wouldn't really call this a "leak". I used to work at the Genius Bar this information was public. We always told the customers what things were and weren't covered by the warranty.
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