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If an iPhone previously had its screen/battery/camera repaired by a third-party but it works fine afterwards, will Apple service the iPhone?

For example, let's say that my iPhone battery went bad so I went to a cheaper third-party store to have it replaced (likely with a non-OEM battery). I use it for a few months but it degrades much faster than an OEM battery. Can I take it to Apple and pay them the money to replace the battery with their own OEM part?

I understand a third-party repair will void the warranty on an iPhone, but I have not been able to find any definite information about whether they void all future repairs/servicing from Apple.

The reason I am asking about this is because of an article on the Verge published in March 2019 linked here. Here are some snippets (my emphasis added):

iPhones with third-party batteries are now eligible to be repaired at Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP), according to internal Apple documents reportedly obtained by MacRumors and French outlet iGen. Before, Apple policies stated that customers were ineligible to receive any kind of repair service if their iPhones were previously repaired with any non-original, third-party components, meaning you’d be taking a big risk by replacing an iPhone battery yourself.

Batteries are the latest third-party components to be accepted by Apple’s rigid repair policy, as the company changed its policy to accept iPhones with third-party displays for repair in 2017.

So this article suggests (without a source) that only recently an iPhone with a third-party battery or screen replacement is eligible for repairs. Is there any more information, perhaps directly from Apple, about what is allowed for servicing?

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Apple has always reserved the right to only cover under warranty (and their service plans like AppleCare) authorized repairs that use certified parts. I’ve seen this language in the legal agreements since the 90s and can’t source earlier documents to see when it actually started.

1.11.6 Disclosure of Unauthorized Modifications. During the service ordering process, you must notify Apple of any unauthorized modifications, or any repairs or replacements not performed by Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (“AASP”), that have been made to your product. Apple will not be responsible for any damage to the product that occurs during the repair process that is a result of any unauthorized modifications or repairs or replacements not performed by Apple or an AASP. If damage results, Apple will seek your authorization for any additional costs for completing service even if the product is covered by warranty or an AppleCare service plan. If you decline authorization, Apple may return your product unrepaired in the damaged condition without any responsibility.

In practice, the worst that happens is you get a call mid-repair and an explanation why the repair will cost more or why the repair isn’t being completed. So yes, Apple typically does all it can to cover a repair even when it has the clear right to not perform service in my experience.

With batteries and hardware, as long as there’s not case or connector damage and the part is scrapped, there’s little benefit to Apple not doing the repair. The technician is on the hook for a limited warranty so the only time when Apple or a certified center rejects a repair is when they can’t guarantee the repair for the time Apple specifies or they can’t complete the repair with the parts budgeted for that repair. Also, if Apple subsidizes the cost of the repair parts since they can rework a portion of the failed ones and then certify them for repair use later, it seems fair to not pass that cost savings off to someone that isn’t returning same quality parts back into the “repair pool”. The source of those quotes is likely service bulletins that leaked on how Apple trains their staff to qualify repairs and label parts for return and inspection. Apple engineers analyze all manner of failed parts and if the technicians send back non OEM parts, that wastes time and resources on the quality team and also needs to be tracked for failure rate analysis.

But the official stance is they may not service any gear they can’t verify has correct parts and a properly documented service history if the original parts are missing when the repair starts. Apple doesn’t usually grill customers “Did you have any unauthorized repairs?” but it’s in the terms you sign before you hand off your gear if you read all the words.

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  • Also, I have seen third parties abuse the heck out of this. Buy up dozens of phones, harvest all the good apple batteries, take in the phones for “service” with the knock off batteries in place, and eventually get a stern talking to by Apple or eventually banned from the stores, but for the average consumer, be honest - if you have no reason to suspect a repair, you won’t be punished. If you know you serviced it, just say so. – bmike Jan 25 at 15:30
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"let's say that my iPhone battery went bad so I went to a cheaper third-party store to have it replaced (likely with a non-OEM battery)." Even if you replace it with an OEM battery, your iPhone will not fully accept it. Many users are like "FU Apple" about that, for that sounds like Apple forces you to bring your iPhone to their authorized service providers. So, for sure Apple will be happy to service your iPhone, the discussion is more about why "the latest version of iOS displays a new "Service" battery message in the Settings menu that suggests the cell has an undiagnosed problem, disallowing users from accessing Battery Health information." https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/08/08/new-service-battery-message-in-ios-pushes-consumers-toward-official-replacement I like the following opinion in that regard: "I think that it is somewhat misleading for the iOS to say Battery Health – Service. Instead, it is better to say something like Unverified, or Third-party, or even just a question mark. It is misleading to say Service for any battery and compatibility." https://appleworld.today/2020/12/19/opinion-getting-back-to-the-iphone-battery-service-issue/ Again, this implies Apple will be just happy to get your iPhone fixed, for they are now facing lots of criticism by their users due to their policies.

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  • This is interesting opinion, but it does not answer the question. – DavidSupportsMonica Jan 25 at 15:29

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