Business Insider last Friday obtained Apple’s 22-page document for internal distribution, titled “Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide,” that explains how iPhone service eligibility is determined while specifically highlighting what is and isn’t covered in warranty repairs.

Dated March 3, 2017, the internal guide covers all iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 models though a similar document exists for all of Apple products.

Although Apple’s standard warranty covers incidents such as broken pixels, debris under the display glass, misaligned FaceTime camera foam and a single hairline crack on the front glass, other types of damage may require an out-of-warranty repair.

But how does Apple determine what an eligible repair is?

The guide says that technicians are required to visually inspect a device for signs of physical damage and talk to the owner to determine if liquid damage may have occurred.

The document reveals that Apple might swap the phone under warranty even if an external liquid indicator has been tripped, assuming there are no other signs of damage.

Out-of-warranty replacements are provided for LCD fractures, cameras damaged from lasers, display cracks at a point of impact, a bent or split enclosure, damaged components like Lightning, audio or mic parts, extreme abrasion and liquid damage confirmed by the user.

An Apple technician told the publication that the guide is used for training, to teach service technicians how to inspect devices for physical damage and determine cost for damage.

Service technicians don’t refer to it all that often unless there’s an “oddball issue.”

In other instances, the owner whose device’s screen suffers from dead pixels has to specifically ask for it to be fixed. Cosmetic damage like enclosure wear, housing dents, chips and pitting, scratches and scuffs or chassis brightening is not covered by the warranty.

According to Apple’s FAQ, damages stemming from “accident, disassembly, unauthorized service and unauthorized modifications”, like using an unofficial battery or submerging a phone in water, are not covered by the one-year warranty.

“There are always those one-off issues that the phone is technically not covered under warranty but we swap the phone anyways under warranty,” said one Apple retail employee.

  • Jose Rivera

    I like how the top image says that they shouldn’t replace iPhones because of small wear and tear that doesn’t affect the inside of the device, yet I’ve still have it replaced with really bad external damage but with a screen still in tact and all things working like normal. I would hate to have an employee actually use that on me because normal wear and tear shouldn’t hinder a replacement device. Especially if the insides are all still intact and it hasn’t been messed with.

    • CuBoy531

      Try Samsung phones. Their replacement program is way better. You must send in the phone and have repeated failures 3 times before they replace it. What a joke!

    • Marcus Stenton

      I think you have misinterpreted the image. It’s explaining that cosmetic damage is not a reason for a repair or replacement and the phone must have a hardware issue present to be eligible.

      • Jose Rivera

        Whoops my bad. If that’s the case than I guess my post is wrong. Haha Yeah I can see that as not being a reason for replacement. I thought it was saying that cosmetic damage will hinder a replacement of a device if an issue is present. I like how they call the color fading “brightening” on their thing.

  • Alex

    What about a bend of the iPhone 6 that was out of our control. For example in my pocket when I was pushed down some stairs but it is out of warranty? Only problem is a slight bend and the gyro not working.

  • Jon20

    Wish they would replace my 6+ with this “Touch Disease.” I feel it’s unfair to be stuck with a phone that is suffering from this when it was clearly a design flaw on their end. Then they have the balls to charge me a discounted screen replacement fee in order to fix the problem that I never caused. Not the best customer service Apple.

  • jennyzeroo

    I keep hearing bout this awesome CS, but I’ve never seen it.