Apple to replace some Series 3 watch repairs with Series 4 models due to part shortages

Customers looking for a repair or replacement of their LTE-enabled stainless steel Series 3 watch will be getting a brand new stainless steel Series 4 model with cellular connectivity.

That’s according to an internal memo to Apple staff and Authorized Service Providers, obtained by 9to5Mac, which states that this change in policy applies globally because it’s currently experiencing low inventory on Series 3 models.

From the 9to5Mac report:

The change means that customers looking for a repair or replacement for their Apple Watch Series 3 Stainless Steel (GPS + Cellular) model will instead be fulfilled with Apple Watch Series 4 Stainless Steel (GPS + Cellular) inventory as a replacement due to constraints on the older model.

COMPARISON: Is Apple Watch Series 4 worth the extra $120?

The inventory shortage and Apple Watch Series 4 substitutes apply to both Apple Stores and Authorized Service Providers globally, but Apple doesn’t provide any indication of whether or not the constraints and Series 4 upgrades will be temporary.

The previous-generation Apple Watch Series 3, at right, next to the current Series 4 model, at right.

The Cupertino firm in the past substituted devices in need of repair or replacement with newer models due to supply constraints.

As MacRumors noted, Apple in January said some Series 0 and 1 watches would qualify for Series 2 replacements. It also recently informed staff that some Series 2 repairs will be getting Series 3 replacements temporarily due to parts shortages.

“As usual, it’s not guaranteed that all locations will acknowledge existence of this internal policy, especially given that there is no definitive end date,” the publication noted.

Be persistent, would be my advice, don’t accept ‘no’ for an answer and let your service technician know that you know that this is the latest Apple’s policy. Apple has not officially acknowledged this change and it certainly doesn’t provide any indication of whether or not the part constraints and Series 4 upgrades will be temporary so keep that in mind, too.