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ED#192 : What To Do If You Destroyed Your Apple iPhone
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ED#192 : What To Do If You Destroyed Your Apple iPhone

Ever since HTC announced that they would cover their newly-launched HTC One (M9) smartphone with a free Uh Oh accidental damage warranty, it has put a spotlight on the warranty coverage for other smartphones in the market. After all, smartphones have become so much of our lives that losing one is often a traumatic experience.

None more so if it is an Apple iPhone, because they are not about the most expensive smartphones you can buy, their users tend to lose a lot more data than users of other smartphone platforms. We know this for a fact because we recently killed an Apple iPhone 6 and an Apple iPhone 6 Plus...

How to get a destroyed Apple iPhone replaced

Due to Apple's refusal to include a microSD slot into the iPhones, the user's data can only be backed up into Apple's iCloud. If they do not pay for additional storage, they will lose most of their photo and video recordings. Many Android and Windows smartphones come with a microSD slot, and automatically records photos and videos to them as well as allow for backups into the microSD card. This allows you to quickly and easily recover your data even if you destroy the smartphone.

Now, we can't do anything about the lack of a physical backup solution for the Apple iPhone, but we can tell you what your options are if you ever destroy one.

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First Things To Do

Generally, you can destroy your Apple iPhone in two ways - physical damage, or water damage. Despite reports of the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus bending, they are few and far in between and it is far easier to destroy the iPhone 6 with water. However, whether you destroyed your iPhone by running over it with your car, or dunking it into water, quickly run through these steps :

Apple iPhone 6 model and IMEI numbers
  1. If you dropped your iPhone into water, quickly TURN IT OFF and dry it with a towel and/or dessicants.

  2. If you crushed the iPhone, retrieve every part you can find, especially the back plate which lists the model and IMEI numbers.

  3. Retrieve your data, if you can. As soon as it's possible to do so, connect to your iPhone and retrieve whatever data you can.

Most importantly though - do NOT take the iPhone to a third-party technician or shop to have it repaired. At least, not right away, because once it's opened by a non-authorised technician, Apple will no longer offer you any technical support.

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Apple Care Plus

Did You Purchase AppleCare+?

AppleCare+ is an extended warranty option that is currently only available in in the US, UK, France and Italy.

It extends the original 1 year warranty of the iPhone to 2 years, and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage of any kind for two years, subject to a service fee of $79 (in the United States) or £55 (UK) or €69 (France and Italy) for each replacement.

If you had already purchased the AppleCare+ insurance, you can march into any Apple Retail Store to have your iPhone replaced. You can also call them up to have your replacement iPhone mailed to you.

If you are thinking of purchasing AppleCare+ after killing your iPhone, you can forget about it. AppleCare+ only offered when you first purchased your iPhone, with the option to purchase it for up to 60 days after that. After 60 days, it's no longer available for purchase.

Even if you killed your iPhone within 60 days of purchasing it, you won't be able to purchase AppleCare+ because Apple requires the inspection of your iPhone and proof of purchase at an Apple Retail Store, or a remote diagnostic test of your iPhone and provide proof of purchase by telephone. In other words, your iPhone will have to be in mint, working condition to purchase AppleCare+.

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You Don't Have AppleCare+?

If you did not purchase AppleCare+ with your iPhone, or you live in the rest of the world, don't worry. Apple will still offer you a replacement phone, even if the original 1 year warranty is over. The only caveat - the iPhone must not have been tampered with by an unauthorised technician.

Needless to say, the replacement phone is much more expensive than if you had purchased AppleCare+ with your iPhone... In the 16 countries where Apple has a retail presence via their Apple Stores, you can march into any Apple Store and swap your dead iPhone for a replacement iPhone at the following prices :

iPhone 6 Plus: $329

iPhone 6: $299

iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5: $269

iPhone 4s: $199

iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, Original iPhone: $149

If your iPhone is working but has a cracked or damaged screen, you will be glad to know that the repair / replacement cost is far less :

iPhone 6: $109

iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5: $129

They will first inspect your iPhone to determine if it has been tampered with. If you had earlier sent your iPhone to an unauthorised technician, then the request for a replacement will be rejected. Once they have confirmed that the damage is not covered under the standard warranty and that the iPhone has not been tampered with, they will replace your iPhone on the spot (if they have stock of replacement iPhones). Otherwise, they will order a replacement for you to collect at a later date.

The replacement iPhone you receive may be a new unit, or it may be a refurbished unit but there's no way to differentiate between the two and you don't get a choice. Don't worry though - they are essentially new devices. The only difference is the warranty of the original iPhone will carry onto the replacement iPhone. If your warranty had already lapsed, then Apple will provide a 3 month warranty on the replacement iPhone.

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There's No Apple Retail Store Here

If there's no Apple Retail Store in your country, then you will have the "unenviable joy" of dealing with authorised Apple Service Providers or your mobile carrier.

The fastest way to get a replacement iPhone is through an Authorised Apple Service Provider. However, they generally prefer not to deal with carrier-purchased iPhones and will tell you that you have to go through your mobile carrier - a far more troublesome and longer process. That's not true, but it doesn't stop them from trying to scare you into dealing with your carrier instead.

To prevent that from happening, call Apple up directly. Here in Malaysia, you can only contact Apple Support from 9 am - 9 pm, 5 days a week. Don't fret though - you can call up Apple Support in Singapore instead, which is apparently open 24-hours, 7 days a week.

Explain your situation to them, and they will create a report for you. They will also explain that you are free to bring your iPhone to any Authorised Apple Service Provider that's most convenient to you. You do not even have to inform them where you want to go beforehand. Yes, it's that convenient.

When you pay the Authorised Apple Service Provider of choice a visit, and get the rote "Please contact your mobile carrier" spiel, just inform them that you have already contacted Apple Support, and they have confirmed that you can, indeed, get your iPhone exchanged there. If they persist, ask them to check the service report, after which they will force a smile and accept your iPhone.

Of course, it's not all hunky-dory. Because these are third-party service providers and not Apple themselves, they vary a bit in how much they charge for a replacement device. Even different branches of the same company quoted us different prices!

Here in Malaysia, we called up a number of Authorised Apple Service Providers and were quoted prices from RM 1,100 to RM 1,300 (US$ 299-349). The cheapest quotation of RM 1,100 (inclusive of a RM 50 inspection fee) was from the 1 Utama branch of Mac City. This may change with time, of course, so we highly recommend that you peruse the list of Authorised Apple Service Providers in your state and call each and every one of them to find out how much they charge for a replacement iPhone.

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Your iPhone Has Been Tampered With

Contest iconIf you had your device opened by an unauthorised technician, this will not only void your warranty (if any still exists), you won't be able to buy a replacement. Your only option at this point would be to call Apple Support and plead your case. Sob, cry, beg if you must.

If they agree to a replacement, count your lucky stars. Otherwise, you will have no choice but to consider your iPhone a lost cause and purchase a new one at full cost. At this point in time, there is no harm going to an unauthorised technician to see what magic he/she can perform to resuscitate your iPhone...

Why are Apple iPhones so expensive?

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