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Today I discovered that my iPhone 5s is coming apart on its own. The front screen is intact, but has lifted by about 1 centimeter at the top left of the device. The screen backlight is separated from the glass in that area. The device wasn't plugged in or near any heat source, and showed the depleted battery icon when I tried to turn it on. This is no longer my primary phone; I bought an iPhone 6 a few months ago.

I bought the 5s new in October 2013 without AppleCare, so the one-year warranty has lapsed. The metal band around the edge of the phone has scuffs and dings. I certainly can't prove it, but that damage happened months before the screen separation. What I suspect is happening inside the device is that the battery has altered its shape and forced the screen to detach. Or perhaps an adhesive has deteriorated.

If I take this phone to a genius at an Apple Store, what will happen? Will Apple take responsibility for a manufacturing defect even though the phone is out of warranty? From Apple's support website, I see that the standard out-of-warranty cost for a 5s is US$269. It's possible I purchased this phone with a credit card that offers automatic warranty extension; I can look into that.

The phone turns on and works. I no longer need this device, but I'd like to recover some value from it.

  • 1 centimeter is a massive gap, for it to have lifted by that distance it has to have been manually opened? – Tim Wilkinson Feb 2 '15 at 8:40
  • The phone has been solely in my possession, and I have no motivation or tools for opening it. – bneely Feb 3 '15 at 0:49
  • It could very well be a battery defect, but I'm having trouble understanding why you believe Apple would or should warrant a device against manufacturing defects for longer than the warranty period. – samh May 19 '16 at 18:03
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    The Apple Store gave me a free replacement. – bneely May 19 '16 at 18:09
  • I had the same at the top left but a lot less sticking out than yours. It only became an issue last week when I tried to replace the battery. The plastic frame is now completely bend and it looks awful. If you want to keep your phone, buy a new screen at ifixit for example, save $230 bucks and get a free experience. Replacing is really easy, just follow the video. – EDP Jun 26 '16 at 10:28
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Some people are saying that the Apple Store will replace it for free regardless of Applecare coverage within 36 months of purchase. Certainly worth a try.

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I too had an issue with the screen separating from the frame of the phone, in the same location.

I took it to the Apple Store, commented that I believe it may be a battery problem, and let him run his diagnosis (no problems). He showed it to a tech in back, who said that it's not likely a battery issue, but they will replace the screen free of charge. If it turns out to be a battery issue, they will replace that as well. I got an e-mail this morning my phone was ready to pick up, but have yet to go over there and do so.

I did have the standard one year warranty still (I purchased the phone Black Friday of 2016). I'm curious as to if they would have fixed it after the warranty period?

Anyway - that's my two cents for any future researchers :)

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