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Some Apple Watch Series 3 Repairs Can Now Qualify for Series 4 Replacement

Apple has informed its retail staff that it will substitute some Apple Watch Series 3 repairs with the Apple Watch Series 4, due to low inventory on the older model. The announcement was spotted by an internal memo delivered to staff and Authorized Service Providers, seen by 9to5Mac.


Now, customers looking for a repair or replacement of the stainless steel Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS and cellular, can instead receive the stainless steel Series 4 model with GPS and cellular. The change is said to apply to Apple retail stores and ASPs globally, but it's unclear at this time if the Series 4 upgrades are a permanent solution to the Series 3 shortages.

Apple's new repair/replacement upgrade for the Apple Watch is the latest of several instances of the company substituting Apple Watch repairs with newer models. This began in January, when the company announced that some first-generation Apple Watches and Apple Watch Series 1 could qualify for Series 2 replacements, due to supply constraints on repair parts for the older models. Then, earlier in May, Apple confirmed that repairs of certain Apple Watch Series 2 models will be fulfilled with equivalent Series 3 models due to temporary shortages of unspecified Series 2 parts.

To initiate a repair, head to the Get Support page on Apple's website and book an appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. 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, so your mileage may vary.

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Top Rated Comments

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18 weeks ago
And suddenly a bunch of Series 3 owners "accidentally" drop their watch down the stairs ;)
Rating: 17 Votes
18 weeks ago
No way in hell anybody is replacing my trick Apple Watch! :mad:

Rating: 11 Votes
18 weeks ago
this is why i like being an apple customer, replace with equal or better, you try that with bestbuy and they will just laugh at your face.
Rating: 6 Votes
18 weeks ago
I wonder if anyone has successfully had their 1st generation Apple watches replaced up to a series 4. o_O
Rating: 4 Votes
18 weeks ago
Anyone know how to brick a watch lol
Rating: 4 Votes
18 weeks ago
Please note: there is absolutely no way for an Apple employee to know 100% whether or not your Apple Watch will be replaced with the exact same model or the upgraded one prior to sending it to the offsite repair facility for replacement.

After it’s been sent out and you find out it it’s the same or newer generation, it’s not possible to retrieve the original watch back.

It’s best to assume you’re getting the same watch, and be surprised and delighted if it does happen to be upgraded.
Rating: 4 Votes
10 weeks ago

Did u have an s3 and received s4?

Yep! Here’s my original work authorization email and the watch I got yesterday. The language mentioning the Series 4 in the email is just a result of my acknowledging there was a chance they would be upgrading the watch, not that it was guaranteed.



Rating: 3 Votes
15 weeks ago

I just got a call from the store that the reason my replacement has been delayed is because of the supply constraints and they will probably be replacing mine with an S4! However, we will see the the final outcome when I go to pick up my watch. Mine was a 38mm silver SS

The store confirmed today that I’m getting a series 4!!!!
Rating: 3 Votes
16 weeks ago

Keep us updated. Should be a SS 40 mm series 4.

I will! Unfortunately I called support to check the status and they told me it was not shipped yet. I called the store to find out what was going on and they said there was a “glitch” in system and no watches went out Wednesday or Thursday. It’s supposed to ship today but it looks like i probably won’t know anything until next week.
Rating: 2 Votes
18 weeks ago

Maybe this disproves my theory - I thought the S3 would stick around and be priced as an entry-level $200.00-$250.00 AW. I thought the S4 priced where the current S3 is would compete too much with the S5.

Maybe they really are going to get rid of the S3 and keep the S4 as the new entry-level when the S5 announces.


I can still see Apple going with this strategy. The story mentions that only Stainless Steel models are able to upgraded from S3 to S4. They stopped selling the S3 Steel models last fall, so I imagine they've stopped manufacturing them and are relying on whatever leftover stock they have for repairs. Aluminum S3 models on the the other hand are still being sold and thus are probably still being manufactured. If they wanted to, they can definitely keep selling S3 aluminum models past this fall.
Rating: 2 Votes

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