Apple Extends Free Repairs of First-Generation Apple Watches With Detached Back Covers

If you have a first-generation Apple Watch with a separated back cover, Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will repair it free of charge, according to an internal service policy obtained by MacRumors.

apple watch separated back cover

Apple Watch with separated back cover via Reddit user PoorSpanaway

Apple recently extended the service policy's coverage period to up to three years after the original purchase date. If you bought an Apple Watch in April 2015, for example, it is eligible for a free repair until April 2018.

Apple has determined that under certain conditions on some Apple Watch (1st generation) devices the back cover may separate from the watch case. Apple will service eligible devices free of charge. Apple will authorize coverage for three (3) years from the date of purchase.

The service policy has been in effect since last year and applies to any first-generation Apple Watch, including Sport, Edition, and Hermès models, even if the device's limited one-year warranty or extended AppleCare coverage has elapsed.

Affected customers can call an Apple Store and schedule a Genius Bar appointment, or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider, to initiate the repair process. Or, customers can call Apple Support to arrange shipment of the damaged Apple Watch to an Apple Repair Center in a postage paid box.

Apple advises customers inquiring about a refund for a previous Apple Watch back cover repair to contact Apple Support.

Several users have shared pictures of their first-generation Apple Watch with the back cover falling off on the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors discussion forums, Twitter, and elsewhere on the web. In many cases, the back cover detaches when the Apple Watch is removed from its magnetic charger.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber, for example, shared a picture of his wife's stainless steel Apple Watch with a detached back cover last October. He said the Apple Watch, purchased in May 2015, was providing erratic workout readings before coming apart after it was taken off of its magnetic charger.

While many customers report that Apple repaired their Apple Watch free of charge, some have been forced to pay out of pocket. Since the service policy has not been publicly announced, some Apple support representatives may be unaware of its existence. Escalating your request to a senior advisor may help.

Apple appears to have fixed the issue with its newer Series 1 and Series 2 models, perhaps by using a stronger adhesive.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
91 months ago
Not at all surprising that they'll take care of it. Apple almost always covers issues like this, even long out of warranty.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
laurim Avatar
91 months ago
Why would they use better glue if you are gonna buy it anyways?
Nice attempt at snark. Because excellent customer service is a major reason we stay loyal.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DaveOP Avatar
91 months ago
Why would they use better glue if you are gonna buy it anyways?
To save themselves money on these repairs?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nvmls Avatar
91 months ago
Why would they use better glue if you are gonna buy it anyways?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
5105973 Avatar
91 months ago
Now THAT is the Apple I want to see more of and buy products from! NOT the Apple that initially swept the so-called Touch disease under the rug until they were called out on it.

BTW, I've been swimming with my Nike Series 2 Sport. It's awesome! I think by the end of summer I'm going to have back the fit figure I lost to middle age and donuts. :p
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
91 months ago
Same experience here. Had an out of warranty iPhone with an intermittent home button. It was replaced on the spot.

Had a friend accidentally drop his older iPhone 5 into a toilet, which caused it to fail. He went to an Apple store, explained what happened, and the phone was replaced on the spot.
Two months after AppleCare+ ran out on my iPad Air, I accidentally smashed the screen. Took it in, said, "well, this is totally my fault, and my coverage has expired, so what are my options?" - they replaced it for the cost it would have been had it still been under AppleCare+, $50. I like Apple's service.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)