So you just bought your new iPad (or any Apple device for that matter), and after some time a few issues start to show up with the hardware, or the absolutely horrifying case where you were just down right careless and drop your device, damaging the body or worse, the display. What is the best line of action for us in these scenarios? Can we get our units replaced or repaired for free?

Chances are you haven’t read the Legal Warranties Apple provides, after all, we usually just automatically tap on “I agree” when these things turn up. So, we’re here to take an extensive look at the warranties Apple provides and break it down for you, with what it does and does not cover. So let’s dive right into it!We will regularly update this article with any new and relevant info for your warranty needs. Apple has not updated their main hardware policy in as while, so there is no major changes here today. The policy from March 28, 2013 is still valid.

Important: We thought we should highlight one important fact, Apple only acknowledges its Returns and Refunds Policy if your device has been purchased directly from Apple, either through an Apple store, or at an authorized Apple Retail Store.

Where is this information from?

Everything stated in this article is based on Apple’s Legal documents on your Hardware Warranty. A summary of this document is found on one of the leaflets provided with the packaging your Apple Product comes with, and you can also go to Settings – General – About – Legal – Warranty on your iPad, where you will be directed to Apple’s site containing the said document.

What is covered?

Apple’s hardware warranty covers both the device itself, and the accessories contained in the original packaging for one year since the date of purchase. You may avail of this warranty if there is any defect in materials and workmanship out of the box, and only if used in normal conditions and in manners conforming with Apple’s guidelines. If you’re facing problems with the battery, display, home button, sleep/wake button, or with the device bending (although that hasn’t happened with an iPad yet), you should be covered under Apple’s warranty.

What is not covered?

Your Apple warranty mainly does not cover the following:

  • Consumable parts – A good example is the white faceplate on  most white iPads. With too much ultraviolet (UV) exposure, this coloring may fade and discolor over time.
  • Cosmetic damage – Dents, scratches, and other cosmetic damage anywhere on your device is not covered by the warranty.
  • Mishandling – Destroying your device in a car crash, setting your iPad on fire (there must be a reason why this is specified), and submerging your iPad underwater are some examples.
  • Damage by service – Any service including upgrades and expansions must be performed by a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP), or you risk voiding your warranty.
  • Modifications – Any modifications, such as replacing the battery, must have a written permission from Apple.

See also: How to Close Apps on the iPad

What if I don’t agree?

If for some reason or the other you don’t agree with terms and conditions Apple provides, you have the chance to return your unused device within 14 calendar days to the nearest authorized Apple store, complete with all the packages your device came with when you purchased it, including the receipt to serve as a proof of purchase. Apple is also entitled to give you a full refund after doing so.

It’s important to note that Apple only acknowledges its Returns and Refunds Policy if your device has been purchased directly from Apple, either through an Apple store, or at an authorized Apple Retail Store.

How will Apple provide their warranty services?

Before receiving any service, Apple briefs us that its agents may require you to present proof of purchase details. Apple also advises users to create a separate backup of all the content of your Apple Product, as all storage files may be deleted during the warranty service.

As soon as you are good to go, Apple provides warranty services via the following options:

  • Carry-in service – Service will be performed on the spot at Authorized Apple Retails and AASP locations offering carry-in service. If they are unable to fix the problem while there, they may have to send your device to an Apple Repair Service (ARS) location. Once they have repaired your device, you can claim it from the Apple Retail or AASP location, or your device will be sent directly to your stated address from the ARS location.
  • Mail-in service – Apple must first determine if your Apple Product is eligible for mail-in service. On doing so, Apple will send you prepaid waybills and packaging material (if applicable), so you can send your device to an ARS or AASP location depending on Apple’s instructions. They will return your device to you as soon as service is completed. Apple will shoulder the costs of shipping to and from your location if all instructions are followed.
  • Do-it-yourself (DIY) – With this kind of service, Apple allows you to service your own Apple Product. However, if DIY parts service is available, the following should be noted:
    • In services that Apple may require you to return the replaced Apple Product or part, a credit card authorization is required. This is necessary in case you do not return the replaced Apple Product or part, Apple will charge your credit card for the authorized amount.
    • If Apple does not require you to return the replaced Apple product or part, Apple will shoulder the shipping fee and will provide you with instructions on how to repair your device.
    • You must contact Apple if you think you require assistance relating to DIY parts service as Apple will not shoulder any additional costs you may have in trying to repair your device.

How will Apple give you a refund (U.S.)?

Apple claims to initiate the refund process as soon as Apple receives your item, which means that Apple has to receive the item before they start their refund process. So don’t be alarmed if nothing happens as soon as you submit your request. However, if you have ordered a pickup item and decided to cancel it, you do not have to pick up your device (if you haven’t yet) to get a refund as Apple initializes their refund process as soon as you submit your request.

If you have used your credit or debit card in purchasing your Apple device, your refund will be sent to your bank within 5 business days of receipt of the returned item. After those 5 business days, it’s up to the bank as to when the credit will be posted on your account.

If you have used your Apple Store Gift Card, you will be refunded with another Gift Card by email within 3 business days. If you would like Apple to mail the Gift Card itself to your doorstep, Apple advises you to ask for help from a representative. However, this process will take up to 8 business days, and will be sent via United States Postal Services (USPS).

I am not the first owner, can I still avail of this warranty?

If you have bought your Apple Product from a colleague, neighbor, friend, or online from eBay, Amazon, etc., you can still avail of the warranty Apple provides. Upon requesting service, Apple does not check the ownership, but rather just the serial number of your Apple Product, to verify if it is still within the warranty period.

To check your iPad warranty status, fill in your serial number at the Apple website to verify your warranty status.

Can I extend this warranty?

Technically speaking, you cannot extend the warranty of your Apple Product. You can, however, purchase a “service contract,” where Apple extends the hardware support of your device by two additional years. The AppleCare Protection Plan for the iPad more or less has the same coverage as the one year limited service warranty your brand new device came with, except AppleCare now supports up to two instances of accidental damage as well. To find out more about AppleCare, Apple provides some FAQs on its site.

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