Apple will repair some Apple Watch Series 2 devices that suffer from defects including swollen batteries or an inability to activate, per an updated version of its service policy obtained by MacRumors.
In an internal document sent to Apple Stores and licensed repair shops, Apple wrote it has “determined that under certain conditions, some Apple Watch Series 2 devices may not power on or they may experience an expanded battery.” The documented added that “Apple will service eligible devices free of charge” and “authorize coverage for eligible devices for three years after the original date of purchase,” essentially extending the default limited warranty an additional two years for the affected watches.
Per MacRumors, the decision only applies to certain models in the 42mm-size range:
Eligibility is limited to any 42mm-sized Apple Watch Series 2 models, including Sport, Edition, Hermès, and Nike+ variants, pending a visual-mechanical inspection, according to a companion document numbered OP1977. The warranty status of the Apple Watch does not affect coverage, the document states.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because Apple did exactly the same thing about a year ago for prior generations of the Apple Watch experiencing the same or similar defects, and a few months later for watches that began falling apart. Some iPhone 8 Plus phones additionally experienced swelling batteries beginning last year.
It’s unclear just how widespread the issues are, though the swollen battery issue can be caused by a number of factors like overcharging or overheating; their persistence suggests that Apple is continuing to have some problems with the quality of components in its supply chain. It does not appear, however, like the issue is anywhere near as bad as the infamous battery defects that caused Samsung Galaxy Note 7s to begin exploding, which eventually prompted a recall of the entire line and an end to all production.
According to MacRumors, though it has confirmed the new policy has been delivered to stores, Apple has not publicly acknowledged it yet and “outside of our control, some Apple employees advise customers that no such policy exists.” Anyone experiencing this issue with no resolution is advised to “keep trying or escalate the case to a senior advisor if possible,” the site added, though Apple tends to be good about honoring warranties.