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I received a set of AirPods Pro for Christmas. I've noticed the right AirPod produces noise almost like a white noise machine whenever I put it in Transparency Mode. It's distractingly lopsided. Looking on the internet, it looks like people are exchanging AirPods Pro that do that and successfully getting ones that don't do that. Assuming the gift was purchased within Apple's extended gift exchange period, would I be better off exchanging it or using AppleCare to get a replacement? I was trying to figure out if I'll end up with a refurbished one if I go through AppleCare.

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    Chat it out with AppleCare - if the defect is obvious, I’m sure they’ll benefit from analyzing why it’s not perfect and bend over backwards to get you a unit that works. When you are handed the repair part, you’ll have something that works regardless of if it’s remanufactured, repaired, new or “refurbished” for whatever definition you apply to those terms. – bmike Jan 1 at 18:41
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You wouldn't receive a replacement unit from a refurbished batch. They should replace them with a brand new pair of AirPods Pro. There's also no sign of official Apple refurbished AirPods Pro on the store page, so you should be safe.

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  • Thank you so much, @Visby Green! That's good to hear. There's nothing like getting something new and immediately replacing it with refurbished. I had that happen with a Dell purchase years ago... – Timothy R. Butler Jan 1 at 18:27
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    I would argue that Apple refurbished is better than new and the sentiments here are wrong. I’ll put up an answer with my thoughts, but the last place Apple is going to put discount sales up is the refurb store on items on back order. This answer and the comment above make no sense at all to me. – bmike Jan 1 at 18:39
  • @bmike My misunderstanding is clear, and after reading your comment and answer, you're absolutely right. – Visby Green Jan 1 at 20:06
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I would always go through Apple service regardless of what you think the timing is - if you think the product needs repairing, the service wing is the best place to get that service and not returns.

Apple service parts are often of higher quality than the new since some new parts can have manufacturing anomalies and the service parts are tested to a much higher standard - after all, Apple knows that thousands of people are going to get a device that needs exchange immediately (DOA) and they know the service part has to be better than the new in the box experience.

(Also, Apple service is designed to get you service where Apple sales is designed to Make the sale / take your money. Why seek support from the sales floor when that phase of the transaction is concluded?)

As a class - I’ll take a refurb / repair / known good service part over a new in the box one any day if given the choice. I know refurbished has a bad rep from companies that do a crap job of quality. Apple wants you as a customer for life, so why would they stock the service department with something that won’t make you happy. You’re already bummed you need service and you don’t think Apple hasn’t stacked the deck so they can delight you better from service than new?

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  • I tend to agree,@bmike, although since refurb parts are sold at a discount when available, I wouldn't want to pay the new in box price and get a refurb part a week later. Better to start with the refurb part in that case. – Timothy R. Butler Jan 1 at 19:24
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    @TimothyR.Butler I disagree. I feel Apple refurb are better value and quality and they are priced that way since most people feel the opposite and not because the goods are in any way inferior. If enough people believe something, it becomes real enough in any market. – bmike Jan 1 at 20:36
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    I wasn't making an argument on their quality. But, if I were buying refurbished, I might as well buy it for the refurbished price if that makes sense. I too have recommended refurbished to people at times -- it is a good value with, as you said, higher QA and lower price. – Timothy R. Butler Jan 1 at 21:09
  • I'm with @bmike. I will note that Apple refurb products carry exactly the same one-year warranty as do the new products. The refurb boxes, however, are usually buff-colored rather than white... – DavidSupportsMonica Jan 1 at 22:03

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