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Leaked guide gives us a rare peek behind the curtain at the Apple store

September 4th, 2017 at 12:40 PM
iphone repair guide

Apple’s repair techs have to be prepared to tackle a lot of different problems at a moment’s notice, so like any huge company, Apple does its best to give its employees all the info they need to get their jobs done. One such tool is something called a “Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide.” A recent copy of the “VMI” for the iPhone just leaked on a dropbox account, and if you’re wondering how Apple decides whether to repair your iPhone or just give you a new one, it’s a very interesting read.

The guide, seemingly discovered first by Business Insider, provides a thorough walkthrough of inspecting an iPhone for physical damage. Types of damage are grouped based on whether or not Apple will cover the repairs under warranty, if the customer can choose to pay for the repair out of warranty, or if Apple will simply refuse to repair the device whatsoever.

There’s a lot of stuff in the guide that we already knew and/or assumed was true, like the fact that Apple won’t attempt to repair a device with “catastrophic damage,” or that the company frowns upon non-Apple batteries. That said, there’s still some interesting info here that you might not have known.

For example, Apple is incredibly detailed in its categorizing of all the different types of cosmetic damage that can be inflicted upon an iPhone. Chips, pits, scratches, scuffs, gouges, dents, and “brightening” are all tracked in the guide, only to be lumped together under a heading that advises the Apple technician to “deny a repair or replacement.” Ouch.

In any case, it’s an enlightening document for anyone who is planning to take their busted iPhone into an Apple store and wants to know whether they’ll be walking out with a brand new iPhone, or will have to return to pick up a repaired device later on.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today,, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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