Ask LH: If My Phone Gets Replaced Under Warranty, Will It Be Upgraded?

Hey Lifehacker, I saw yesterday’s question about warranty repairs for older iPhones, and I have a related issue. I have an iPhone 4s, and the contract doesn’t finis until April 2015. If Apple stops making the iPhone 4s when the “iPhone 6” comes out later this year, how can I get a replacement if the phone stops working under warranty? Thanks, Old Phone Buyer

Picture: Getty Images

Dear OPB,

As we noted yesterday, a carrier is obliged to repair or replace a phone if it stops working during the life of a contract. (Note that this doesn’t cover damage due to you dropping it!) So if your iPhone 4s stops working between now and next April, you’re entitled to a repair or — if the issue is unfixable — a replacement.

If that was to happen and the iPhone 4s couldn’t be repaired, then you would be supplied with the nearest equivalent model. In Apple’s current range, that’s actually the iPhone 5c. That phone hasn’t been a massive success and it’s possible that it might disappear as well later this year — though that might see a reappearance of the iPhone 5 instead as the low-end model. But it’s also feasible you might be supplied with a refurbished model, which opens up the possibility of getting yet another 4s.

Bottom line? If you’re on contract, you can expect your phone to be fixed or replaced if problems arise, but it’s rarely going to be an opportunity to score a free upgrade.


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