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The tragic tale of a shattered Apple Watch

Caitlin McGarry | March 9, 2016
Spoiler alert: This story has a happy ending, but it took months to get there.

“It could be that their watch was so damaged that even a new screen couldn’t help,” he told me, offering to give mine a shot if I wanted.

You must be joking, I thought. If the replacement display was botched, I wouldn’t be able to take it to Apple to reverse the damage. But I appreciated his honesty and pleasantly turned down his offer.

I schlepped back out to Queens to reclaim my $40 deposit and then sat down to do what I should have done in the first place: I filed a repair request with Apple.

The process was so simple I almost kicked myself for wasting months trying in vain to find another way to get it repaired. All you have to do is go to Apple’s support site, select which watch model that you need to be fixed, then unpair your device from your phone. I didn’t even have to dig to find my watch’s serial number because it was stored under my Apple ID.

Within two days, a box from Apple arrived at my front door. I wiped the data from my watch, slid the face from its white Sport band, nestled it in Apple’s packaging, and dropped it off at FedEx. A day later, my replacement watch was on its way.

Moral of the story

I don’t regret being a cheapskate, partly because journalism: Now I know that Apple Watch repairs are so uncommon that Apple might offer the only way to get the nearly 1-year-old product fixed, particularly if you live in a small town or rural area, and even if you live in one of the world’s largest cities.

If you’re a DIYer, iFixit’s Apple Watch teardown offers a detailed guide to opening up the device yourself (and the site sells tools for getting the job done), but I’m not a risk-taker, especially not after this incident.

I did learn the Apple Watch’s value to me, though. If I had damaged the screen of my iPhone or MacBook Air, I would’ve paid Apple any amount of money to fix it immediately, no cost comparisons necessary. I missed not wearing the watch, but I didn’t feel its absence acutely the way I would have with my phone or computer. It’s nice to have, not a must-have.

But I’m back to wearing my Apple Watch nearly every day. I have a new lavender band to replace my dingy white Sport strap, and a watch dock to keep it safe. And if it happens to slip off its stand again, I’ll know that the Apple Watch and I just aren’t meant to be.


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