Apple Won't Be Able to Repair Out-of-Warranty Apple Watches Due to Import Ban

When the Apple Watch import ban goes into effect after December 25, 2023, Apple will not be able to repair out-of-warranty Apple Watch models in the United States. Apple Watch repairs typically involve replacing a broken unit with a new model rather than fixing an individual component, and replacement devices will not be available.

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Apple shared the news with retail employees in a memo that was sent out this week. Portions of the memo were seen by MacRumors, and it was also shared by Bloomberg. Apple is set to stop all U.S. online sales of the Apple Watch in just a few hours, with in-store sales to cease after December 24.

"Product replacement (CRU) programs aren't available in the United States for the watches below: Apple Watch Series 6 or later, Apple Watch Ultra or later," reads the memo.

Apple cannot provide replacements for any out-of-warranty Apple Watch with a blood oxygen sensor, which includes the Apple Watch Series 6 and later and the original Apple Watch Ultra. Customers who damage their Apple Watch will need to wait on repairs until hardware replacements are available again. Software-based repairs will remain available.

Apple Watch models that are under warranty are allowed to be replaced. This includes both the standard one-year warranty for new devices and devices protected through an extended AppleCare warranty.

Customers will not be able to exchange an Apple Watch after the ban comes into effect, but accessories like bands can be replaced and returns will be accepted.

The United States International Trade Commission is putting a stop to imports of Apple Watches with blood oxygen sensing technology, which means Apple cannot bring them to the United States from overseas where they are manufactured. The ITC in October said that Apple infringed on blood oxygen patents owned by medical device company Masimo, and set the ban for December 25.

Apple could avoid a pause in sales if the White House steps in and vetoes the ban, but that has not happened as of yet. The White House has until December 25 to make a decision.

Other options include settling the dispute with Masimo, which would involve Apple having to pay Masimo to license the patent technology, or removing the infringing technology. Apple is working on a software fix for the Apple Watch blood oxygen sensing algorithm that it believes will be sufficient to get the Apple Watch back on store shelves.

While Apple has to stop selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, the Apple Watch SE will remain available. Third-party retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart will also be able to continue sales of all Apple Watch models while supplies last.

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Top Rated Comments

QCassidy352 Avatar
22 weeks ago
Just a totally insane way to resolve a patent infringement dispute that concerns a single, largely irrelevant aspect of the watch.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DevyniColiai Avatar
22 weeks ago
Over 2 decades and my Casio is still working.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spaceboi Scaphandre Avatar
22 weeks ago

I mean. Let’s be real… this ban will not fully go into effect. There’s just no way…
I just did. You can no longer buy the Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2 on Apple's website or anywhere in the US. Even older models can no longer be purchased

The only Apple Watch Apple can legally sell is the SE since it doesn't have blood oxygen monitoring so there's no patent it's infringing on
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rafark Avatar
22 weeks ago

This seems to be hurting consumers as well as Apple.
It’s apple’s fault for infringing a patent and for failing to settle this dispute. You can be 101% sure if another company was infringing an Apple patent apple would go nuclear on them.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spaceboi Scaphandre Avatar
22 weeks ago
Louis Rossmann is gonna have a field day with this
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
22 weeks ago

Wow this is nuts.
It's not "nuts"

It's a megacorp playing fast and loose and stealing IP

I'm personally delighted to see them being held to account
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)