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

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.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • I took my OLD iPhone 4 in out of warranty to get the top button repaired. I was charged $180 and they just replaced it. They said they did not repair them.
    I am guessing that would be the same with any but the latest models.

    • they are sent away to be repaired, not repaired on site. the phone you returned will end up being exchanged in the same way

  • I went to the apple store and some guy got his apple ipod classic replaced.. he came in it wasn’t working and they went into the back and got him a brand new one.. so I think they will just give you a new iphone 4s.. unless they completely run out..

  • Apple still have stock of iPhone 3GS refurb units available, you’re not getting a free upgrade.

  • They in most cases will issue a refurbished model the same or as the article says next highest equivalent.

  • Yeah they have plenty of stock to cover replacing old models.

    I actually just got my Samsung S3 replaced as the usb port broke. Despite the fact they S4 has been out for a year and the s 5 is coming out, the Sumsung shop just opened a draw and handed me an s3.

  • Sorry, but you won’t get a new model iPhone. Apple actually has plenty of stock of older models (new and refurbished) for this very thing (ex-Apple Store Specialist here).

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