Now that Apple has closed all its retail stores outside Greater China, where else can you go to fix a broken iPhone?
As the coronavirus continues to spread, Apple has closed all of its retail stores outside Greater China until March 27. Beyond selling products, Apple’s retail stores are also go-to places for getting your iPhone repaired. The stores are convenient as staffers can diagnose the symptoms of a non-working phone, replace cracked screens, and even swap out a defective unit. But with the stores temporarily closing, you do have other options for fixing a defective iPhone, both through Apple and through third parties.
First, if your iPhone is experiencing problems but you’re not sure it needs to be physically repaired, you can speak or chat with an Apple representative to diagnose the issue. To do this, download and install the Apple Support app on your iPhone or iPad and follow the steps in the article “How to use the Apple Support app to resolve technical problems.” Alternatively, you can use Apple’s Support website on a computer to converse with a rep.
Apple authorized service center for repair
In addition to repairing your phone in-store, Apple allows you to get it repaired through an authorized service center, such as those at Best Buy and select third-party repair shops. Using this method is the best way to go if your phone is still under warranty or covered through AppleCare+ protection. You can check your coverage at Apple’s website or through the Apple Support app (tap your profile picture in the upper right and then tap the option to Check Coverage).
To set up a repair, sign in at the Apple Repair website. Scroll down the page and click the button to Start a repair request (Figure A).
Select the icon for iPhone or click the link to “See your products” and sign in with your Apple account. At the next screen, select the general problem you’re having with your phone, such as Repairs & Physical Damage or Battery & Charging. Then select a more specific problem, such as Cracked screen or Liquid or water damage (Figure B).
The next screen asks: “How would you like to get help?” Selecting the icon for “Find iPhone Repair Prices” takes you to a page that lists repair costs for various iPhone models. Go back to the previous page and select the icon for “Schedule a Repair.” Enter your phone’s serial number or other identifier.
At the next screen, make sure “current location” is selected, or just type your zip code. Select your carrier. Click Continue. The next screen shows you a list of nearby authorized repair centers. Note that in certain locations, on-site repair service may be available. Select the repair center you wish to use, or select on-site repair if that’s an option. Choose a date and time to schedule your phone for repairs (Figure C). Your reservation is then confirmed.
Send in for repair service
If you prefer not to bring your phone to a certain facility for repairs, you can mail it to Apple for service. This is especially relevant during these days and weeks of social distancing. Depending on your specific iPhone issue, getting to this method on Apple’s Support site can be challenging. Instead, you may wish to just call Apple Support and indicate your preference for the mail-in service.
Third party repair options
Unless your device is under warranty or you have AppleCare+ protection, you don’t need to get your phone repaired through Apple. Other retail and repair shops are viable options.
One choice is Staples. Open the Staples Cell Phone Repair page in your browser to learn more about the service. If a Staples store is nearby, you can simply bring your iPhone in for repair without scheduling an appointment. But you should first call the store to confirm that it does handle phone repairs (Figure D).
Amazon used to offer in-house and in-office mobile phone repairs. But an Amazon spokesperson said that the company is not offering the service at this time.
Finally, local independent repair shops are always worth considering. Such shops typically charge less for mobile phone repairs than do retailers like Apple and Staples. In the past, Apple tried to steer users away from independent repair shops by voiding the warranty for such repairs. But with the Right to Repair movement gaining traction, Apple no longer tampers with your warranty and allows such shops to purchase genuine Apple products. Apple also offers an Independent Repair Provider Program for independent shops to provide out-of-warranty repair service for iPhones.
To find a reliable independent repair shop, you can search for them via Google, Yelp, and other sites or apps where you’ll find customer reviews.
Keep in mind that as the coronavirus spreads, more retailers and shops may be decide to temporarily close down or curtail operations. In that case, Apple’s mail-in repair service may be the best option if you need a physical fix for your iPhone.