Saturday, December 20, 2014

A New (old) iPhone for Claus

IT Lavie went out a few months ago and (on her own) upgraded her iPhone 4 to a new iPhone 6 (16GB) model.  She enjoys it very much and the storage space is now double from what her model 4 had. She looked at the Plus model but settled on the standard 6 size. Compared to the 4, the size of the 6 was a pretty big jump in itself.

I’ve spent some time on it (while doing the migration support for her) and while the technical details of it are very nice, I haven’t been overwhelmed by either the more rounded styling nor the feel of it.

All that to say I much prefer the more solid and “blocky” feel of my older iPhone 5 unit. Plus the 64 GB storage size is super-duper.

And will all that said, a few weeks ago I got a new iPhone for free.

There I was a work on my lunch hour relaxing and closing out my RSS feed review. As I went to tuck it away I noticed that the screen seemed to be a bit “proud” of the bumper case edging. Currently I’m rocking a very trim Spigen iPhone 5 Case Neo Hybrid in the bright red. It is super trim and just a touch flashy with a soft polymer cover. I assumed I had just pushed the phone up a bit from behind and tried to snap it back it.

Nope.  After some trials I removed the phone from the case and discovered the touch-display screen itself was popping out of the actual phone case.

I didn’t capture any photos of the issue, but this post I found over by Travis Ehrlich at Gear Diary pretty well matched my experience exactly, photos and all, Is Your iPhone 5 Screen Lifting Up and Away?

I hadn’t dropped it, stepped on it, drove over it, or otherwise abused it (that I could remember) so the only thing that came to my mind was that the battery may be swelling causing the screen to be pushed up and off the phone body.

With images of the alien-body-popper scene fresh in my mind, and a battery meltdown/explosion I shut the phone off and called Apple.

They had me turn it back on, do some stuff to send diagnostics to them, confirmed the phone seemed to be in great shape (and reported I was very good on my battery/charging activity somehow), that it wasn’t included (based on SN) in the Apple battery recall scope, and advised me to run it in to an Apple Store for a Genius review.

The whole process of getting an appointment, waiting, etc. for an Apple Store service visit is a post in of-itself. However, for this one, one I finally found the store, and waited for a while (an hour?) the Genius took the phone into the back, came back out and informed me that yes, the battery inside the device was indeed swelling pretty nicely, that it was out of warranty, and not included in the battery recall scope.

However, they “graciously” would go ahead and replace it for me free of charge.  Only they didn’t have a replacement in their store. Would I be willing to go to another store that had it in stock? Yep.

So we secure wiped my iPhone (I had a back-up at home about a week or two old so no significant data loss worries) and pointed me to the 2nd Apple Store.

A mad dash across town and after some discussion with that store’s Genius staff, they eventually pulled the replacement unit. The Genius agent swapped my SIMM card between the phones after re-confirming my old one had already been wiped, I was able to talk them into getting me a piece of tape so I could pull and reuse my screen scratch protector (Spigen also). It came off fine and with some skilled tape-usage, I was able to get it transferred to the new phone lint/bubble-free.

A new (old) iPhone 5 64-GB phone in my hand.

The Genius couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me if this unit was refurb or new but from later production runs. Either way it looked brand new and ran just fine so I’m not complaining.

The phone has continued to operate well since.

Some forum crawls have found others with the same issue of a non-scope iPhone 5 with battery issues that Apple has replaced for free.  Some comments are that they may do so for phones with this problem up to one year beyond the original 2-year warranty period. I think it is currently a case-by-case basis at Apple’s discretion.

Regardless, I’m very pleased with the service provided in my case. It took a while to work through the process but it turned out well for me.  And having several Apple Stores in the Houston area was a real plus. I never considered going to the carrier’s stores for help and if you don’t have an Apple store around, you would likely need to send it in which would be a hassle also.

Hopefully this one will last for another two-years…So that may mean there would be an iPhone 7 or 8 model out to consider?


Claus Valca

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