My AppleCare Experience With a Replacement iPhone 6S Plus

The headphone jack on my iPhone 6S Plus stopped working recently. I can’t really tell how long ago it broke because I listen to Bluetooth audio most of the time, but I noticed that plugging speakers directly into the 3.5mm jack did absolutely nothing. Audio would still play out of my iPhone’s speakers, and the volume display didn’t change to show “Headphones” instead of the word “Volume” (which is what’s shown when using iPhone speakers). I’m outside of my initial year of coverage, but the 6S Plus is the very first iPhone for which I decided to purchase AppleCare.

The package cost me an extra $169 when I bought the iPhone, but it extended my warranty for another year, and also provided cheaper replacements in case of accidental damage. I wasn’t able to book an appointment with Apple in advance, so I just took my chances and walked into the Apple Store at the Eaton Centre on a Saturday afternoon. Their initial estimates was a 70-minute wait, but I ended up getting to a specialist in just 20 minutes.

The appointment itself took another 20 minutes. I told the tech that the headphone jack had stopped working, he tested it, factory reset the iPhone and ran a diagnostic, and tested the jack again. They confirmed that there was no water damage, so they offered me a replacement 6S Plus of the same colour and size right on the spot. I now have a receipt saying that they did about $470 worth of repairs / replacements, but the actual charge to me is $0.00 since it’s covered by the warranty. I’m not sure if those numbers are just bloated to impress warranty owners, but I’m certainly feeling like AppleCare was worth it this time around.

Restoring my iPhone from iCloud Backups

I was told to wait 15 minutes to boot the phone, possibly due to re-registering the SIM card and phone with my carrier. I waited until I got home to turn the iPhone back on, and it took me about 90 minutes to restore data and apps from iCloud.

The reinstall process was pretty painless, but it’s still not a great experience having to sign back into almost all of my apps. Hangouts, LINE, Dropbox, Mail, and Evernote all stared at me like I was a stranger, and asked me to enter passwords. Thankfully, 1Password had already downloaded, and its password extension helped to speed a lot of logins up.

The only downside to all of this is that I’ll need to re-download all of my Lightroom pictures from 2016, as well as 2000 songs for Spotify. These apps aren’t capable of doing background operations, so I’ll have to keep them loaded on an iPhone dock and just wait for the tasks to complete.

Encrypted iTunes Backup

I didn’t have to touch iTunes for this restore at all, and I like how cavalier I can be about backups, since most of my apps sync with various services (Dropbox, iCloud Drive, etc.). So even if I don’t have a very recent iPhone backup stored in the cloud or my Mac, a reset doesn’t mean I lose much data, because the apps themselves are always syncing.

However, if you are interested in making the restore process as easy as possible, an encrypted iTunes backup is still the best way to go. You will need to hook up directly to iTunes to initiate the backup (and the eventual restore), but it’s a lot faster than using iCloud, and it restores passwords as well.

Another Good Genius Bar Experience

I’d actually forgotten that I’d have to swap out my phone in the case of a repair, and it was only when I was speaking to the specialist that I realized I’d be losing that specific iPhone. Luckily, iCloud backups and my services have gotten me back to a working iPhone within a few hours.

Apple products — iPhone Plus models, iPad Pro models, and the new MacBook Pros — have been getting more expensive lately, and a little harder to justify in comparison to the competition. However, one of the things I’ve always been happy with is Apple’s level of support. There’s something about having a local store to go to, and knowing that they’ll have enough stock to just swap my device out is a huge relief to me. AppleCare certainly isn’t perfect, and some of my friends and family have had some bad experiences while on valid warranties, but I’m counting myself lucky this time around, and wanted to share what the experience was like.

I’m considering upgrading to a new MacBook Pro in the coming year, and based on this experience, I’ll probably be picking AppleCare up for that, too.

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