pexels photo 196653 - Is it Cheaper to Repair or Replace an iPhone?People invest a lot into their iPhone, both in monetary terms and otherwise. When you use your phone dozens of times each day for a wide range of tasks, from catching up with friends to browsing online, listening to music and watching your favourite TV programmes, an iPhone becomes more than an expensive gadget.

To many people, their iPhone is one of life’s essentials, with the added importance of being widely considered a status or fashion symbol to boot.

Which makes it all the more unfortunate that, like any smartphone, iPhones are prone to bumps, mishaps and malfunctions. The more you use it, of course, the more likely accidents are to occur.

There is nothing worse than letting your prized possession slip out of you hand, only to pick it up to find a big ugly crack across the screen. Similarly, there is nothing more frustrating than software becoming glitchy or failing completely, and no amount of rebooting seems to solve the problem.

The question then is whether it is cheaper, easier or better to get your iPhone repaired, or else accept that the device has had its day and invest in a new (or second hand) one.

Warranty matters

The first thing people think about when their iPhone is damaged or not working properly is whether or not they are under warranty. This essentially boils down to the age of the phone – Apple offers manufacturer’s warranty for one year from new.

Even if your new iPhone is still covered by warranty, there are a range of exceptions, including battery failure, accidental cosmetic damage or water damage, and issues arising from alterations made to the phone (e.g. network cracking) and non-Apple authorized repairs. If any of these apply, you will have to pay for repair through an Apple-authorised agent, or by returning the device to Apple themselves.

There is the option to extend cover by a further year by taking out an AppleCare+ plan. AppleCare+ protection costsfrom £89 for an iPhone SE to £199 for an iPhone X. The two-year protection includes cover for two incidents of accidental damage, although there is a surcharge of £25 for screen replacement and £79 for all other repairs. It also includes software support.

The only other recourse to free repair (or replacement) for your iPhone is to look at statutory consumer rights laws. In order for this to apply, you would have to be able to prove a fault with the software or the hardware itself, which rules out any form of accidental damage. This protection lasts for up to six years from new.

The cost of repair

As most common physical faults on an iPhone are caused by accidental damage or battery failure, it is safe to assume that you will have to pay for repair. Whether you are better off getting your iPhone repaired or replacing it will depend on the nature of the fault, the model you own, how old it is and its current value.

The general rule of thumb is, if repairs cost more than the phone is worth – and therefore what you could replace it for – you are better off buying a new one. By ‘new’, we really mean second hand. A brand new iPhone is covered by warranty anyway, and if you want to upgrade your older model to something brand new, you should always expect to pay more than whatever the repair costs might be.

For battery faults, Apple offers a one-time replacement at £25for all models from iPhone SE onwards. Anything earlier and the cost goes up to £79. So the first time your iPhone battery goes, it is probably sensible to take advantage of the offer and get it repaired. After that, you are looking at ‘other damage’ repair costs, which we will explain below.

For screen replacements, official Apple charges range from £136.44 for iPhone 5, SE and 6, up to £286.44 for iPhone X. This is where age and model comes into play. You can, for example, find plenty of good quality, refurbished iPhone 6 handsets on the market for less than the £136.44 screen repair charge. This becomes increasingly unlikely the later the model is, to the point where a screen replacement for an iPhone 8 or X is by far the most affordable option.

For other repairs, the story is different. The standard Apple repair charge for an iPhone 5 and SE is £255.44– comfortably above the average used market price. For an iPhone 7 Plus or 8 it is £356.44, for an iPhone 8 Plus it is £406.44, for an iPhone X it is £556.44. Do your research and it is perfectly possible to find all of these models second hand for less than those prices, from both private sellers and dealers.

In summary, then, any kind of accidental damage to an iPhone will result in repair charges. Through official Apple channels, even if you have an AppleCare+ care package, you are looking at a minimum £25 plus £89 care plan charge to replace a broken screen on an iPhone SE – only a marginal saving on the £136.44 it costs for an out-of-warranty phone anyway.

For a first-time battery replacement, or to replace a cracked screen on a recent model (iPhone 8 onwards), Apple’s repair services make financial sense. But for anything else, you are likely to be able to save money replacing your iPhone with a pre-owned handset.

Phoenix Cellular are Europe’s leading distributor of wholesale used mobile phones, as customers become smarter to the benefits and cost savings of a pre-owned phone the market and margins for retails will continue to increase.  Contact us today for more information.