What Does It Mean When An Apple Device Is Listed As Vintage?


Apple only services its products for a set time period, and designates devices as obsolete and vintage based on their status. Here’s what that means.

Apple’s retail stores and service programs are a staple of their customer experience, but products can only be repaired for a set period of time, and the company uses obsolete and vintage classifications to sort eligible and ineligible devices. Though Apple devices are notoriously difficult to repair — and are sometimes unrepairable altogether — a common defense of the company is the ease of which users can get devices serviced. In many cases, users can schedule an appointment at an Apple Store and get a repair or replacement in the same day. If the user has an AppleCare+ plan, the repair or replacement can come at little or no additional cost. However, this only applies while a device is eligible for service — and mileage may vary with products classified as vintage.

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The company appears to be at least attempting to change its image with regards to repairability, as it introduced a Self Service Repair Program last year. With the Self Service Repair Program, anyone can order replacement parts and rent official service equipment online. Apple discourages this, and recommends only individuals with the knowledge necessary to service their products go through with the endeavor. Even with the seemingly inclusive repair program, the company’s guidelines for obtaining replacement parts still apply. This includes matching serial numbers to devices, and a lack of parts for products classified as obsolete and vintage.


Related: Apple’s Self-Repair Service Is Good News But Why Has It Taken So Long?

Apple creates its own guidelines for service and parts availability for products, but it is still bound by any consumer protection laws that may apply. For this reason, the number of years that a device can receive service and repairs will vary based on country and region. Though a device may be classified as vintage by Apple, it might still be eligible for service and repair if strong consumer protection laws apply in the country or region. Products can receive service and repairs for a maximum of seven years after they were last distributed or sold by Apple — or as required by law — and devices approaching that threshold will be classified as vintage.


Vintage Products Might Be Eligible For Service


Technician repairing an iPhone.

Apple products classified as vintage are approaching an obsolete classification, and may be eligible for service and repair. Devices classified as obsolete are not eligible for service unless required by law, so a vintage classification is a two-year buffer between full service availability and an obsolete classification. Vintage products were last distributed by Apple more than five but less than seven years ago, according to the company. However, for countries with strong consumer protection laws, a vintage classification is inconsequential. France, for example, requires service and repair availability for seven years after the product was distributed by law.


There are currently a slew of vintage Apple products that are approaching obsolete territory, across the company’s entire product lineup. The most recent MacBook to be classified as vintage was the 12-inch MacBook, first released in 2016. The iPhone 6S — which isn’t getting the upcoming iOS 16 update this fall — was also designated as vintage. Other products, from iPods, iPads, and Apple Watches, are also lingering in vintage territory before eventually being considered obsolete. Vintage products will only be eligible for service for a short period of time, so if repairs are needed, it is best to schedule an appointment with Apple as soon as possible.


Next: How To Check The AppleCare Status Of Apple Devices

Source: Apple Support

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