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A friend of mine purchased an iPhone 5 a couple of months ago which she now wishes to sell. She said she has contacted Apple with regards to the AppleCare warranty and selling her iPhone and was informed that the AppleCare that was purchased with the handset cannot be transferred to the new owner OR to a new iPhone 5S.

She would like to know is this true (and isn't it therefore a rip off), as she is only a couple of months into the agreement and therefore would think twice about upgrading at all ?

  • I've successfully transferred AppleCare+ from one owner to another on an iPhone 4S last year. They may have changed the system since then. – bassplayer7 Oct 8 '13 at 14:19
  • @bassplayer7 I've transferred ownership of a device to another owner, but AppleCare generally is attached to the serial number and not the owner in Apple's database, no? – bmike Oct 8 '13 at 15:39
  • @bmike I would have thought that AppleCare was linked to the handset and therefore the warranty would remain on the handset (irrespective of owner). – Simon Oct 8 '13 at 16:12
  • @simon - I agree with your statement. – bmike Oct 8 '13 at 16:27
  • @bmike, yes, I believe that to be correct. I recall that the transfer was very easy to conduct. I called Apple to confirm it could be transferred and the person who received it, I presume, called Apple to note the transfer. – bassplayer7 Oct 8 '13 at 19:16
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Contact Apple with the information below. Apple officially says you can transfer it (to another person along with the phone or to another device within 30 days for the same owner).

The customer can also get a full refund if it's canceled before 30 days from the purchase date and a pro-rated refund, less cancellation fees, if it's canceled after 30 days from the purchase date.

From AppleCare Products FAQ:

Is the AppleCare Protection Plan or AppleCare+ transferable?

Yes. If you choose to sell or give away your Apple product, you can also transfer the ownership of the AppleCare Protection Plan or AppleCare+. Please see the Terms and Conditions for complete details.

For transfer, the terms and conditions PDF (for iPhone - USA) states:

10. Transfer of Plan
(i) With Transfer of Covered Equipment to New Owner. Subject to the restrictions set forth below, you may make a one-time permanent transfer of all of your rights under the Plan to another party, provided that: (a) the transfer includes the original Proof of Purchase, the Plan's Confirmation and all of the Plan's packaging material, including printed materials and these Terms and Conditions; (b) you notify Apple of the transfer by sending, faxing or e-mailing notice of transfer to Apple Inc., ATTN: Agreement Administration, MS: 217-AC, 2511 Laguna Blvd, Elk Grove, CA 95758, U.S., fax number 916 -405-3655 or agmts_transfer@apple.com, respectively, and (c) the party receiving the Plan accepts the Terms and Conditions of the Plan. When notifying Apple of the transfer of the Plan, you must provide the Plan Agreement Number, the serial numbers of the Covered Equipment being transferred, and the name, address, telephone number and email address of the new owner. (ii) With Transfer From Original Covered Equipment to New Covered Equipment. You may make a one time, permanent transfer of the coverage under the Plan to a new Apple product that is owned and purchased by you within thirty (30) days of the Covered Equipment purchase. The new product must be eligible for coverage under the Plan and at the time of transfer both products must be covered under the manufacturer’s one (1) year limited warranty. Apple will issue a Plan Confirmation for the new product, which will then become the Covered Equipment. When notifying Apple of the transfer, you must provide the Plan Agreement Number, the serial numbers and Proof of Purchase of the products being transferred by sending or faxing, where available, notice of transfer to Apple as set forth in the section immediately above.

For cancellation and refunds, the terms and conditions PDF (for iPhone - USA) states:

9. Cancellation You may cancel this Plan at any time for any reason. If you decide to cancel either call Apple at the telephone number below, or send or fax written notice with your Plan Agreement Number to AppleCare Administration, P.O. Box 149125, Austin, TX 78714 - 9125, U.S. (fax number 916-405-3973). A copy of the Plan’s original proof of purchase must accompany your notice. Unless local law provides otherwise, if you cancel within thirty (30) days of your Plan’s purchase, or receipt of these Terms and Conditions, whichever occurs later, you will receive a full refund less the value of any service provided under the Plan. If you cancel more than thirty (30) days after your receipt of this Plan, you will receive a pro rata refund of the original purchase price, based on the percentage of unexpired Coverage Period from the Plan’s date of purchase, less (a) a cancellation fee of twenty - five ($25) dollars or ten percent (10%) of the pro-rata amount, whichever is less, and (b) the value of any service provided to you under the Plan. Unless applicable local law provides otherwise, Apple may cancel this Plan for fraud or material misrepresentation. Unless applicable local law provides otherwise, Apple may also cancel this plan if service parts for the Covered Equipment become unavailable, upon thirty (30) days’ prior written notice. If Apple cancels this Plan for the unavailability of service parts, you will receive a pro-rata refund for the Plan’s unexpired term.

Also see How to transfer coverage of an AppleCare agreement.

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    The limitation of 30 days only covers transferring it to a new unit with the same owner. Transferring it with the phone as you sell it is not restricted by time (in section "i" above). – Alan Shutko Oct 8 '13 at 15:14
  • My experience is any time you have a device serviced from Apple or an authorized provider, Applecare goes through the transfer programmatically and without charge. I've not ever seen it work in the absence of a repair where a new serial was substituted (say an iPhone swap as opposed to a screen glass repair or hard drive swap which doesn't change the processor / logic board). – bmike Oct 8 '13 at 15:35
  • That's US specific and each country/region may have slightly different rules - see apple.com/legal/sales-support/applecare/appmacuk.html for a UK example. – RichVel Jan 30 '14 at 6:18
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AppleCare protects the item and is fully transferable to any new owner of that existing phone. Also, the full terms and conditions are at apple.com/legal in case your country specific details differ from the USA.

You can also cancel AppleCare for a pro-rated refund at any time so if after three months, you wanted to sell your iPhone 5 to someone that didn't want to pay for AppleCare coverage - you could get the majority of the cost back.

I agree with what you reported, you can't in general just move AppleCare to another device whether it's the same owner or a different owner. The move in that case is to get a refund in my opinion. The power to decide is in your friend's choice - sell the iPhone 5 with coverage if that raises the sale price (or value to the next owner) or get a refund which will defray all but the few months of coverage that has been used when buying coverage for the iPhone 5s.

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