What Makes Apple Refuse A Warranty Repair?

What Makes Apple Refuse A Warranty Repair?

If you’ve ever taken your MacBook or iMac in for repair, you’ve probably wondered exactly what those Apple technicians are doing behind closed doors. Over on Tested, they talked with an Apple repair tech to figure out what happens, and what circumstances might lead Apple to refuse a warranty repair.

Photo by Magic Madzik.

The process of diagnosing a repair includes a few toolkits, diagnostics, and even a dent inspection tool. What’s interesting is what Apple technicians have to prove in order to say they won’t do a repair:

Physical and water damage are just two things to keep in mind when bringing your MacBook in for service. The general rule of thumb, according to ACMTs (Apple Certified Macintosh Technician) that reached out to us, is that in order to refuse a warranty, Apple has to prove that the damage was due to accidental misuse or user error. In the case of Will’s MacBook, there was no physical evidence that the USB port is what caused the motherboard to die, so the repair was covered.

While Apple’s customer service generally has a good reputation, the company has been known to play fast and loose with its warranty obligations, especially when it comes to mobile phones. Refusing warranty repairs for damage caused by the user is not unusual, and not unreasonable under Australian consumer laws, but claiming that a machine can’t be fixed 12 months and 1 day after purchase might be. Head over to Tested for all the details about what usually happens behind closed doors, and how Apple checks for water damage.

How Apple Evaluates MacBook Damage for Warranty Coverage [Tested]


  • That’s why we went for Dell complete cover for our 1000 or so devices at work. If the machine takes a dive in the pool and it’s an accident, it’s repaired or replaced. We had a machine that was run over by a car and it was replaced with a brand new machine (after we sent the old one back). They’re even known to replace stuff that wasn’t accidental (one student had pulled the LCD bezel off completely and Dell fixed it (we didn’t know they had done that, but the Dell tech did and still replaced it).

    One machine was even fixed the next day. I reported it yesterday (faulty keyboard), got an email a few hours later saying parts had been dispatched, the tech showed up this morning and fixed it. In rural Australia. And this is why when it came time to pick a machine for home, I went with Dell.

    Apple could learn a lesson from all of this.

      • The girl had taken her bag out to the car to put in in there (ready to go to school), but the car was locked, so she ran inside to ask mum for the keys. She forgot the bag was there and that was the end of that.

        I was rather surprised, because I thought Dell would charge some kind of replacement fee or something but they didn’t. Instead they just asked us to send photos as proof, then when they had decided to replace, to send the machine back. When we did, a shiny new netbook arrived. I think it was the model up too (Latitude 2120 instead of 2110) since they no longer made the 2110

      • There have been times when they’ve “forgotten” about machines we’ve reported. One machine with a broken screen sat for a month because it slid off the list of machines, but a second email saw the machine repaired as a priority, and they’re picking up their game again (like the next-day-rural-Australia repair of a machine with a faulty keyboard)

      • well, yes.

        the amount we currently pay for our dell and acer equipment, isn’t near what apple is charging FOR LESS, and we have onsite warranty, damage is repaired, even if deliberate.
        it was whas something like yumcha compujters (i know its spent wrong) from country china that we get at $100 a machine, who cares..

    • (We have ~500 Dell machines here, so I guess that puts me in a good position to comment on their customer service :). If we had Acer, I’d be raving about Acer (if their service was good. I don’t know if it is or not?))

  • I have no affiliation with dell other than having owned a few of their laptops and monitors.

    Haven’t needed to make any warranty claims until recently but this one was fixed next day by a tech who came to our office with a replacement part.

    You don’t need to be a dell rep to see this is awesome

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