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If you’re still sporting an Apple Watch Series 2 or Apple Watch Series 3 and have been having problems with your screen — or even if you’ve tossed your old cracked Apple Watch into a desk drawer — you may now be able to get it replaced for free.
Apple has recently announced a new screen replacement program that covers both the Apple Watch Series 2 and Apple Watch Series 3 models, released in 2016 and 2017, offering free screen replacements for models that have had a certain type of screen crack.
Apple has determined that, under very rare circumstances, a crack may form along the rounded edge of the screen in aluminum models of an Apple Watch Series 2 or Series 3.Screen Replacement Program for Aluminum Models of Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 3
While the program applies to both the Series 2 and Series 3 of Apple Watch, it specifically applies only to the aluminum models. This makes sense since the problem is a result of a defect in the screen materials, and the aluminum models use Ion-X strengthened glass, versus the much more durable sapphire crystal found on the stainless steel and ceramic versions.
Apple provides a detailed list of eligible models, but generally if you have any aluminum-encased model of the Apple Watch Series 2 or Series 3 ever sold — even if you bought it today — your device is eligible should it encounter the problem. Apple says that it affects models sold between September 2016 and September 2019. It’s possible these models may no longer be sold once Apple announces the Apple Watch Series 5 next week, or Apple could simply extend the program in the future.
It’s worth mentioning here, however, that this doesn’t cover just any kind of screen damage. Apple isn’t going to replace your Apple Watch screen if you clearly broke it yourself, but is rather looking for a very specific type of crack that can develop on the edges of the screen, often beginning on one side and then continuing around the screen edges.
How to Get It Fixed
You can have your Apple Watch serviced under the program through any of the usual channels — an Apple Retail Store, an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or by sending it straight in to Apple.
Regardless of the method you choose, however, Apple notes that the repairs will still take approximately five business days as they’re not done on-site, but sent to an Apple Repair Center.
Although the repair program is for a fairly specific problem, the good news is that if you have encountered this problem — or you do in the future — then at least you’ll have the confidence of knowing that Apple will be able to repair your screen at no charge. The program covers eligible models for up to three years after the first retail sale of the Apple Watch, or one year from the start date of the program, whichever is longer. This means that even if you bought an Apple Watch Series 2 when it first launched in September 2016, you’re still covered for screen repairs until September 2020.