Apple Store technicians decide on what will happen to a device brought in for repair according to certain guidelines, ultimately determining whether it will be replaced or repaired. The warranty for most Apple products covers repairs of eligible devices but the process for the determination of when a device is repaired or replaced has been relatively unknown outside the circle of Apple technicians.
According to Business Insider, a 22-page document recently leaked on Dropbox sheds more light on how Apple technicians and service providers are instructed to inspect iPhones for repair. The documents also assist technicians to determine if a device is eligible for repair either in-warranty or out-of warranty or if the iPhone should be replaced rather than repaired due to an irreparable issue.
The leaked document is dated March 3, 2017, and covers the last three released iPhone models (iPhone 6, 6S, and 7 spanning both regular and plus versions). According to the Apple Geniuses (technicians at the store), it is called a Visual/Mechanical Inspection (VMI) Guide.
An Apple technician who spoke to Business Insider said that the VMIs are "something we use, but don't refer to it at all unless we get some oddball issue" while another technician mentioned that the VMIs were "used more for the physical inspections and how to determine cost or damage. That's basically half the training for iPhone techs".
A close inspection of the leaked VMI shows issues eligible and ineligible for repair both in-warranty and out-of-warranty. Issues. such as water damage, are not covered as an in-warranty repair but can be addressed by an out-of-warranty repair with the user paying for it, while other issues, like a single hairline crack, are covered under warranty.
However, there does appear to be some discretion afforded to staff, with one Apple retail employee who said that "there are always those one-off issues that the phone is technically not covered under warranty but we swap the phone anyway under warranty".
Regardless of the possibility of a trip to the Apple Store for a repair, a quick look at the available portions of the VMI may aid any future repair visits to the Apple store by highlighting if the device will be repaired in-warranty or out-of-warranty.
Source: Business Insider