Leaked VMI document offers an insight into Apple's warranty repair rules for the iPhone
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Business Insider has accessed a leaked Apple document, which puts forth some guidelines on the company's repair policies and how it classifies a device's service eligibility. The document is called the Visual/Mechanical Inspection (VMI) guide and acts as a reference for Apple Care centers to help determine the servicing criteria of a device. This particular leaked document pertains to the iPhone 6, 6S and 7, including the Plus variants, although an Apple technician has confirmed to BI that all of Apple's products have their own such documentation.
The attached picture shows that the document has three headings that are color-coded. Defects that fall under the green header are eligible for warranty service. These include debris under the glass, FaceTime camera foam misalignment, and a single hairline crack that is not accompanied by any enclosure damage. The yellow header lists some the defects that are eligible for out-of-warranty service including liquid damage, corrosion, Liquid Contact Indicator (LCI) triggering, chips or cracks in the glass, damage in camera visible via the photo, etc. Apple charges between US$130 to US$150 for screen repairs and between US$300 to US$350 for other damages, in case of out-of-warranty service. The red header indicates defects that are ineligible for service. These include configuration code mismatch, intentional tampering, cosmetic damage, missing parts, non-Apple batteries and catastrophic damage.
Apple has also outlined how its Geniuses should evaluate liquid damage. Based on the criteria listed, the Apple Care center can decide whether to honor the service in-warranty, out of warranty, or deny service altogether. Apple employees say that they mostly refer to the VMI only if there's an 'oddball' issue and that most of the criteria can be easily concluded based on experience. These criteria do not apply to devices covered under AppleCare+, as it entitles users for 2 device replacements, including accidental damage.