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Apple Stores will send some iPhone 6/6s phones for off-site repairs, offering 16GB loaners

iPhone 6, iPhone 6s Plus

In an effort to reduce wait times at Genius Bars within Apple Stores, Apple this week will launch a new repair program for the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus and 6s Plus in select stores across the United States, Europe, and Japan, according to several employees. Rather than completing all repairs in store, the new program will allow Apple Store Genius Bars to determine that these phones should be shipped to an off-site repair center if the issue falls into one of three categories:

  • If the device is unable to connect to iTunes on a computer
  • If the iPhone will not power on
  • If the iPhone does not boot up past the Apple logo

Apple has told employees that fixing these issues in the store takes significant amounts of time that could be instead allocated to serve other problems. If a customer agrees to have the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus or 6s Plus sent off-site for diagnostics and repair, he or she will be loaned a 16GB iPhone 6 to use in the interim. This is the first time that Apple is offering loaner iPhone 6 units to customers and repairing the devices for general issues off-site. Apple expects the off-site repair process to take three to five business days.

Mailing in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s units for issue diagnosis, repair, and potential replacement is a significant shift for Apple’s Genius Bar operations. This means that customers now facing certain iPhone issues will have to wait up to a work week for their iPhones to be diagnosed, fixed or replaced while they use a low-capacity, basic model loaner device in the meantime. Apple Store employees say that a new automated systems within Genius Bars will determine if the device should be fixed on-site or off-site, taking away decision-making power from the employees on scene.

Of course, this program is just launching in pilot form and may not end up spreading to all Apple Stores across the world, so customers may end up avoiding needing to use low-capacity loaner phones. This would be a huge differentiator from the previous Apple Store Genius Bar standards, whereby a customer with an iPhone under warranty has been able to come in with a problem and leave with a solution, and it is unlikely that Apple Store employees and end-users alike will all enjoy this change.

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  1. 2is1toomany - 7 years ago

    You’re damn right. I think it’s ridiculous and makes the employee-customer interaction even more hostile.

    • We should make a petition to stop this practice asap. It will tarnish the apple company by not having peace of mind.

      If apple want to do this practice, they should focus on out of warranty iPhones . If iPhone under warranty, consumer should get a replacement phone as usually.

  2. mikhailt - 7 years ago

    I think if this takes off, Apple will reuse some of the trade-ins from the iPhone Upgrade Plans as loaners.

    I also think Apple needs to do this for all of their stuff, especially laptops. A lot of people cannot be without their laptop for more than a few days, especially remote workers. There are some Apple business plans that includes this but it is like $500-1000 per year to that loan benefit, which I think is BS.

    • proudappleuser - 7 years ago

      It’s not a BS service. I’m a Joint Venture member and it is a mega time saver, on top of giving a loner if needed. I get priority support and appointment times, priority repair, high end phone support, loner computer and training if needed. I don’t use the training but everything else is used by me and my team.

      As far as the new repair system goes, I don’t see it affecting most people. I’ve had issues but never an iPhone that won’t power on.

      • mikhailt - 7 years ago

        Wait, you get a loner if needed? I was told that I would have to pay extra on top of what my company pays. I’ll check in again.

  3. rnc - 7 years ago

    This is very cool!

    Wish I had Apple Stores, the official ones, in my country.

  4. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    That’s ironic, for me. I have brought in malfunctioning devices before, and the Genius simply told me to buy a replacement, only to return it with my legal 14 day return policy. And if they hadn’t fixed it by then, simply return to buy another one. I thought that to be a bit ‘taking advantage of the situation’, though some will say for that to be ok. YMMV.

  5. 89p13 - 7 years ago

    I still have my 6 Plus – and keep it charged and updated – just so I’m not stuck with a 16G dog while Apple get’s their shit together.

    No thank you – this is not a Good Solution.

  6. The tricky part is:”The loan phone will be given if your phone will get fix in off-site”
    If they took your phone for 5 days but without off-site repair, you get nothing

  7. Carpaticum (@Carpaticum) - 7 years ago

    Apple – The Beta company, including software and hardware. In Munich/Germany are two Apple Store – is it not possible to make an appointment at the genius bar, they shut off the reservation site. You have to call first (waiting times about 25 min) and you have to go a registred partner store (Gravis). For what i pay Apple Care? …yeah Tim…Great, amazing, awesome Products…you make my life better and simpler.

  8. CranApple (@MoreCran) - 7 years ago

    Question: How does this work to avoid losing the data acquired when using the loaner phone? I don’t want to restore the original backup, it will be out of date by a week. I also don’t want to restore from the latest backup of the loaner phone, it only had 16GB of my 128GB on it. Am I stuck between picking two poisons for data that doesn’t instantly sync to the cloud?

    • icrew - 7 years ago

      What sorts of apps are you referring to? Most of the ones I use these days sync to a cloud service, so swapping devices isn’t that big a deal. (Plenty tedious, sure, but not more than that. Of course, that’s just me…)

  9. icrew - 7 years ago

    I’ve never understood why companies (not just Apple–think car companies too) routinely use their base models as loaners or rentals. I’d think you’d instead want to use this sort of thing to show off your top-of-the-line product both to engender good will and to sell the customer on upgrading to the fancier version.

    (A recent example from my life: I drove a rental base-model Jeep Patriot for a couple thousand miles recently. It was a decent vehicle, other than being horrifically underpowered. My current car is 10 years old. If the Jeep hadn’t been so frustrating to drive, it very well may have made it onto my potential next car list…)

    • icrew - 7 years ago

      Why is something I just posted (~15 minutes ago, at about 1PM PDT on 2015-10-26) showing up as having been posted 13 hours ago?

      • dcj001 - 7 years ago

        9to5 Mac uses Apple’s Time Machine.

    • You dont offer top of the line loaners because if you do, you get all those whiners with “you told me it would be ready at 9:30 and its 9:32, I deserve to keep the higher model for this major error” … and then any goodwill is completely gone.

  10. Brad Waler (@BWaler) - 7 years ago

    Which is all well and good until you have an iCloud backup larger than 16GB and you can’t restore your data. I know because I worked for an AASP and it did not create a great customer service experience.

    • PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

      I’ve never been able to restore from iCloud, not once. Always need to do it over USB from iTunes.

  11. taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

    For the increased Apple Care price Apple should just give you s new phone and then sell the refurbished units wherever they want.

  12. QUOTING :::
    the new program will allow Apple Store Genius Bars to determine that these phones should be shipped to an off-site repair center if the issue falls into one of three categories:

    If the device is unable to connect to iTunes on a computer
    If the iPhone will not power on
    If the iPhone does not boot up past the Apple logo
    that is not true.

    i have my sister phone that her volume button not working along with my friend phone flashlight not working. Genius say they need to send out to iPhone off site center.

    TO: Mark Gurman , can u please be more detail of categories. thank you

  13. fakeiphones - 7 years ago

    You can thank the hundreds of counterfeit iPhones Apple technicians are seeing on a daily basis at each store for this. Every 1 out of every five iPhone appointments is a person with 2 iPhones which somehow don’t power on. It’s always two iPhones for each of these appointments and the customer is always not from America. How odd, eh?

  14. @dannypwins - 7 years ago

    Apples service will start to get crappier over time imo.

  15. nextx42 (@nextx42) - 7 years ago

    @mikhailt They are offering MacBook Loaners for JointVenture customers. Of course you have to pay for it. But it’s very cheap considering what it will cost an employee to wait for 2 weeks for the repair

  16. jacosta45 - 7 years ago

    This is kind of odd. Two years ago when Apple was offering the battery replacement for iPhone 5 I had to wait two weeks while they fixed the battery and they loaned me the same model – a slate black 32GB with no struggle. I think people having to borrow a 16GB iPhone from a 128GB will be pissed… lol.

  17. PMZanetti - 7 years ago

    I really don’t agree with this method. They should flat out replace the device at that moment, and send off the old to repaired/reconditioned/resold at Apple’s leisure.

  18. James Patrick Rice - 7 years ago

    The better solution is to drop the iPhone off at the Apple store and buy anther (16,64 or 128gb) iPhone then when the phone is ready for pick up turn the new iPhone back in for a refund (14 day return policy). I do this with all my apple products including the 3 x MB Airs that had to get repaired. it just makes it easier. In closing try and downgrade a 64 gb iPhone to a 16gb phone – not a chance.

  19. Ellen Sue Chadkin Lerner - 7 years ago

    I do like the idea of getting a loaner, but I certainly would want my original phone back. Getting an immediate NEW replacement while under warrenty is probably faster and fair after paying a lot for the phone and a lot for the warranty. , But how do we know we really get a new one and not someone elses refurbished one. I don’t mind refurbished but I want to know what I am getting and if my “new” phone has a problem, I’d rather have another “new phone” or a rebate on the replacement phone I bought originally.I think as someone suggested more support for out of warranty phones is needed also. My husband broke his screen on an older iphone; he never did have a warranty. We didn’t go to Apple because I know it would have cost a lot more to get it done there. He found a place locally that fixed it but then had to send it out (at no charge) because something went wrong when they repaired it.. So it was tough for my husband to be without a phone for over a week. It was repaired however. I’d like to see apple support for more local repair services with competitve repair costs when out of warrenty. The apple store is not all that far from me but far enough that I avoid going there.