Apple is offering free repairs on certain faulty phones and laptops

The iPhone is the best, except when it’s the worst because it doesn’t work.
The iPhone is the best, except when it’s the worst because it doesn’t work.
Image: Reuters/Aly Song
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Everyone loves free stuff, but an offer of free repairs is usually a bad sign. Apple announced yesterday (Nov. 9) that it is offering free repairs for two popular products: the iPhone X and the 13-inch MacBook Pro laptop.

“Apple has determined that some iPhone X displays may experience touch issues due to a component that might fail on the display module,” the company explained on its website. The problem manifests in either non-responsiveness or intermittent responsiveness to touch on the phone display. Or, a display may react even though it was not touched.

The iPhoneX debuted a year ago. The company discontinued it in September after releasing newer models, but Bloomberg reports that (paywall) users have been complaining about the faulty screens online for several months.

Apple states that it is extending its repair offer for “three years after the first retail sale of the unit” but notes that other problems with a device may cost consumers. “If your iPhone X has any damage which impairs the ability to complete the repair, such as a cracked screen, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the service,” the company explains. “In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the additional repair.”

As for the MacBook Pro, some models of the 13-inch laptop without a touch bar, sold between June 2017 and June 2018, “have an issue that may result in data loss and failure of the drive,” according to Apple. The company notes that consumers should carefully check to ensure that they have a possibly affected model, and if so, get it fixed promptly.

While the free repair offer is convenient, it will take a bit of effort on consumers’ parts to ensure it doesn’t end in disaster. “Prior to service, it’s important to do a full back up of your data because your drive will be erased as part of the service process,” Apple warns.

The company explains that a technician will run a utility to update the drive firmware, which will take about an hour, and the laptop will be returned with macOS re-installed. After the service, assuming consumers backed up their data, they will need to restore that information. But any files that were already corrupted prior to service cannot be restored.

The company advises that you have another device, such as an iPhone, handy to view the Apple support article about restoring your data from backup “since your computer will not be able to access the internet until after you do a restore.” So you better hope that you don’t have a faulty iPhoneX as well and that your screen’s not on the fritz, or you’ll find yourself in a bit of a fix.

This latest news is just more evidence that Apple is having problems with products. From overheating laptops to exploding devices to delays in releases to battery-charging issues, the company whose products have long been coveted for their sleekness and convenience seems to be taking a less impressive turn of late.