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A recently leaked Apple document might explain why that last trip to the Apple Store ended with you wanting to tear your hair out. The document shows exactly what technicians look for to determine if you'll get a free repair or replacement iPhone if it's damaged. Study up so that you can avoid the headache the next time you damage your new iPhone.

The “Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide” is a 22-page instruction manual dated March 3, 2017 and covers issues with the iPhone 6, 6S, 6 and all of the Plus models. According to Business Insider, the leaked Apple document was posted and shared on Dropbox.  

The VMI guide is a set of instructions for Apple and authorized service technicians on how to check mobile devices to see if it is eligible for an in-warranty or out-of-warranty repair or a replacement. 

An Apple technician told Business Insider the VMI guide is used to determine the cost for damage when inspecting the devices. 


Apple’s iPhone warranty usually covers the devices for a year after purchase, but when something goes wrong, many people can become confused and frustrated with Apple when they choose not to replace or repair your phone.

iPhone damage eligible for in-warranty service

If you’re under warranty, Apple will attempt to repair your phone if you have debris under the screen or pixel damage, FaceTime camera foam misalignment or a single hairline crack in the glass if you can prove that it was not caused by you dropping or hitting the phone.

iPhone damage eligible for out-of-warranty service

According to the VMI chart, if your phone has a damaged audio/Lightning connector, missing buttons, bends or splits to the enclosure, microphone/speaker damage it can be considered for out-of-warranty repairs. Apple will determine how much you will have to pay for these repairs. Apple will not provide any service at all if they determine your phone has been disassembled or tampered with for any reason. They will also deny you service if your phone has been completely destroyed, although there might be coverage available if you purchased an AppleCare+ package.

Leaked Apple document Visual/Mechanical Inspection (VMI) Guide

Leaked Apple Document Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide eligible for free repair or replacement

Because many people damage their phones by spilling liquid on it or dropping it in the toilet or pool, Apple has a separate set of instructions for their technicians to follow to inspect for water damage and they will ask you a series of questions to determine if the water damage was caused by you or not. If it turns out to be your fault, you will not receive a free repair or replacement.

eaked Apple Document Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide eligible for free repair or replacement water damage


Don’t expect any repairs or replacements if you try to report scratches and scuffs, chips and dents, or any other enclosure issue that is purely cosmetic. If your issues are not listed in the VMI guide, it doesn’t mean you won’t receive a repair under warranty.

eaked Apple Document Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide eligible for free repair or replacement

According to Business Insider, an Apple technician said the VMI chart isn’t the “last word” when determining whether your device will be repaired or replaced. While this may be true, at least knowing what Apple covers can save you a few headaches before head to the Apple Store. And it never hurts to try to sweet talk your way to a lower repair price.