How to fix a broken iPhone

Six simple steps to return your iPhone to working order.

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Navigating our modern, digitally-focused world with a busted phone can be a nightmare. Whether it's a cracked screen, a flaky battery or a totally unresponsive handset, anything that keeps you from staying connected while on the go is more than a mere inconvenience. When such an issue crops up, you'll want to get it fixed ASAP, especially when you've forked out hundreds of dollars for one of Apple's premium iPhone handsets.

To help get your iPhone back in tip-top shape as quickly as possible, we've put together this repair guide for both in-warranty and out-of-warranty servicing. Follow these steps, and you'll be back up and Snapchatting again in no time.

Step One: Check your warranty

iPhone repairs don't come cheap, so the first thing you'll want to do is check if your handset is still under warranty. If you purchased your iPhone under contract with an Aussie telco, you might be eligible for a no-cost service through your contract. Warranty terms differ from telco to telco, though, so you'll need to contact your telco directly to determine whether your iPhone is covered.

Repairs through Apple are considerably more straightforward. Apple will repair or replace your iPhone for free if it's under warranty, provided the repairs fall within Apple's terms and conditions. All iPhones are automatically covered by the Apple Limited Warranty for one year after purchase, but if you opted for an AppleCare Protection Plan or AppleCare+, you'll have coverage for two years. If you're not sure whether your iPhone is still under warranty, you can check by entering its serial number on Apple's service check website.

If your iPhone is no longer under warranty, you can still send it in for Apple to repair, but you'll be charged for any work that needs to be done – and those repairs aren't cheap. Here are some of the most common repairs and their associated costs:

  • iPhone 6s/7/8 screen repair: $228.95
  • iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus screen repair: $268.95
  • iPhone 7 "Other damage": $478.95
  • iPhone 8 "Other damage": $518.95
  • Battery service: $39 - $119

Even if you are under warranty, it’s important to note that accidental damage isn't covered by the Apple Warranty or AppleCare+. Screen damage isn't covered either, unless it was a direct result of a manufacturing defect. In these cases, you'll have to pay regardless of whether you're under warranty.

Along with accidental damage, the Apple warranty doesn't cover any cosmetic damage, any damage caused through services or modifications conducted by a non-authorised Apple Service Provider or any damage caused by regular wear and tear.

Step Two: Submit a service request

Once you've established that your iPhone is under warranty or you've accepted the steep costs of an out-of-warranty repair, you'll want to visit Apple's support claim page and submit a service request by selecting the relevant options for the issue affecting your iPhone.

As part of the submission process, you can choose whether to send your iPhone in through the mail or bring it into an Apple Store or Apple Authorised Service Provider for servicing. The store option is the preferred one as minor repairs can be done right then and there in as little as a couple of hours. Major repairs tend to be resolved quicker by bringing your iPhone directly to a store, too, plus you'll be able to request a loaner phone if you're still under warranty.

Be aware that as part of the service request process, Apple will place a temporary authorisation on your credit card for the maximum possible repair cost of your service. You'll only be charged the cost of the actual repairs carried out, but if your card rejects the temporary authorisation, your service request will be rejected, too.

Step Three: Prepare your iPhone for repair

Depending on what's wrong with your iPhone, it may need to be completely wiped or even replaced as part of the repair process. To ensure that you don't lose any important data, it's critical that you back up your iPhone before sending it off or bringing it in for repair.

If you're taking your iPhone into an Apple Store or Apple Authorised Service Provider, you'll want to make sure you know your Apple ID and password for resetting your device during the repair process. You'll also want to bring along your driver's license, passport or other form of valid identification as well as your iPhone receipt for proof of purchase.

If you're sending your iPhone in via the post, you'll need to erase it yourself before mailing it off. You can do this by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If your iPhone isn't turning on at all, you can erase it remotely using iCloud. Finally, you'll need to disable the Find My Phone feature if you've activated it and remove your SIM card for when you get your phone back.

Step Four: Send your iPhone in for repair

If you're sending your iPhone to Apple through the post, you'll receive a shipping label to print out after submitting your service request. Once printed, take the label and your iPhone to Australia Post, where you'll find the packaging necessary to send the phone off.

For in-store repairs, you can make an appointment at your nearest Apple Store during the service request process, or you can contact your local Apple Authorised Service Provider directly to organise an appropriate time to drop in.

Step Five: Play the waiting game

Once your iPhone is out of your hands, it's simply a matter of waiting for the repairs to be completed. Repairs through Apple Store appointments tend to be the quickest, with an estimated repair time of up to five business days. Sending your iPhone in to Apple via the post can take between five and twelve business days. Repairs conducted by an Apple Authorised Service Provider will vary from provider to provider.

However, if you've purchased AppleCare+, you can take advantage of Apple's Express Replacement Service (ERS). With ERS, Apple will send out a replacement iPhone as soon as you submit your ERS request. You'll also receive packaging for sending your broken iPhone back. If you don't send your old iPhone back within ten days of receiving your replacement, Apple will charge you the full cost of the replacement phone.

Like the regular service, you won't be charged for an ERS request if the issue with your iPhone is covered under warranty. Additionally, AppleCare+ includes partial coverage for two incidents of accidental damage, reducing the service cost to $149 regardless of which iPhone model you have. If you've already claimed two incidents, though, you'll have to pay an out-of-warranty fee ranging from $408.95 to $598.95 depending on your iPhone model.

Step Six: Restore your repaired phone's files and settings

When the dust has settled and you finally have your working iPhone back in your hands, the first step is to re-insert your SIM card. Next, it's time to restore the backup you made before sending it off. You can do this either through iCloud by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage and selecting the latest backup listed. Alternatively, if you backed your iPhone up through iTunes, you can restore it by choosing the "Restore iPhone" option in your iPhone's summary tab in iTunes.

With your data restored, your repaired or replaced iPhone should be good to go. If you have any issues, Apple provides a 90-day guarantee on all its services, even if you're out of warranty. This guarantee applies even if your iPhone was repaired by an Apple Authorised Service Provider.

Non-Apple alternatives

Of course, if your iPhone is out of warranty and you don't want to pay Apple's hefty repair fees, there's always the option of seeking out a non-authorised iPhone repair centre. While these businesses are often considerably cheaper than their official brethren, any repairs they carry out can potentially prevent you from seeking future repairs from Apple directly. This issue is still in dispute between the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Apple, but it's worth keeping in mind if you plan on taking your iPhone to a non-authorised repairer.

Repair costs too steep? Maybe it's time for an upgrade instead

If repairing your broken iPhone isn't an option, you might want to consider purchasing a new iPhone on a fixed-term contract. No matter what iPhone you're after, check out our comparison of Apple iPhone plans to find the one that's right for you.

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