Apple Care

How To Transfer Apple Care to a New Owner

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I am writing this article because there seems to be a lot of confusion about whether it is possible to transfer Apple Care when you sell or give your device to another person. Why do I say there is confusion? Well, when I called up Apple the other day to transfer the almost year of Apple Care that is remaining on my Apple Watch to the person that bought my Apple Watch from me… Apple told me that I wasn’t allowed to do that. I politely explained that I had a very recent Apple Support Article in front of me that says it was possible. I gave him the article number and in a few seconds he apologized for the confusion, acknowledged that he had made a mistake and connected me with someone who could help.

But the story doesn’t end there. The person he connected me with told me that he could absolutely help me transfer Apple Care to someone else, but he said more than likely it wasn’t necessary. The only reason you would need to have Apple Care in your name is if you called up Apple and wanted a partial refund for the Apple Care (i.e. you wanted to cancel it and get your money back for the portion of the plan that hasn’t been used). Otherwise, it is the device itself that is covered with the Apple Care warranty and who calls the device in to make a claim to get the device repaired or replaced doesn’t matter. There were a few other things I learned from this call as well:

  • You can check whether any Apple device has an remaining Apple Care coverage by going to and entering in the serial number of the device (or device identifier).
  • If you still want to transfer Apple Care to the new owner you will need the following information about that person:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • Email address associated with their Apple ID
  • Also, at any time after you transfer ownership the new owner of that device can make the request themselves (they don’t need you to do it) to have their name put on the Apple Care, but they need the following information in order for Apple to that:
    • The name of the original person on the Apple Care
    • A valid proof of purchase (unless the device was purchased at an Apple Retail Store)
    • The proof of purchase can have financial information like the last 4-digits of the credit card blacked out (Apple just needs the basic receipt)

The Apple Support Article I linked to above has some of the information I explained above but not all of it so don’t rely purely on the Apple Support Article. Hope this helps.

Why I'm Not Getting the New Apple Watch


If you know anything about me you might be a bit surprised that I haven't already put my pre-order in for the new (Series 2) Apple Watch. Having lived with the "sluggish" nature of the original Apple Watch for 16 months now I am a bit surprised myself. The prospect of a faster processor in the Apple Watch alone should be enough to push me over the edge, but I have my reasons:

  1. Next week Watch OS 3 will be released, and by all indications this is going to give the 16 month old watch a new lease on life. The promise of a more optimized OS and much faster 3rd party application response times means this really will make the watch feel brand new. If Watch OS 3 does everything beta testers are saying it does then I am going to be extremely happy with this OS update...effectively turning my watch into a new Apple Watch.
  2. I still have another 7 months of Apple Care left on my Apple Watch. Apple had already had to replace my Apple Watch once due to the back falling off, so I really have no interest in buying into a brand new Apple Watch and having to re-purchase Apple Care for that new Watch. I am going to use up a bit more of my Apple Care and enjoy the snappier watch with Watch OS 3 for a while, and then a few months before my Apple Care expires I will sell my Apple Watch and spring for a new one (I really don't want to wear an Apple Watch without an extended warranty).
  3. I just pre-ordered the iPhone 7 Plus (128 Gb in Jet Black) so my I have a new tech toy on the way. As much as I like new tech there is only so much money I am willing to spend at one time.

I really am expecting the new Watch OS 3 to turn my watch into a new watch, at least from a speed and usability perspective. So in a very real way I am getting a new Apple Watch next week...

Is The Back of Your Apple Watch Falling Off?

I woke up this past Sunday morning and put my Apple Watch on its charger, just like I normally do every morning (I wear my Apple Watch to bed, mostly for VIP calls, not sleep monitoring). But when I finished my coffee and was ready to go out for my morning bike ride I noticed something strange when picking my Apple Watch off the charger. I felt a strange texture where the ceramic back of my stainless steel Apple Watch should have been. I looked down and clearly something was wrong. It looked like the "intestines" from my Apple Watch were hanging out the back of the device. The ceramic back of my Apple Watch had become detached from the watch (the "intestine-like" substance was the cable running from the main battery to the inductive charging assembly built into the back of the watch).

My guts are showing, how embarrassing...

My guts are showing, how embarrassing...

I gently put the watch back down on the charger and the ceramic back of the watch snapped back into place (come to find out it is held into place by magnets and then permanently/semi-permanently glued down). It was the glue on the inside lip of the Apple Watch that had failed. So I did like most people would do, I drove into an Apple Store and visited the Genius Bar, after all I had purchased Apple Care for my Apple Watch so I knew I was covered no matter what. The employee at the front of the store asked me what I needed help with and I explained the problem. The employee looked rather shocked and said this was the first time he had heard of such a thing happening to Apple Watch. I knew that this was a known problem from doing a little searching on the Apple Support forums, so I was a bit surprised by that response. I was directed over to the walk in Genius Bar line and within a few minutes I was talking with the person doing triage and assigning appointment slots to walk in customers. Again I explained the problem and he very quickly said that the watch would either need to be sent off for repair or replaced, but they couldn't replace the watch for me in-store. Apparently Apple (at least in some locations) doesn't have enough Apple Watch stock to do in-store warranty replacements. He said since I had Apple Care my best bet would be to go home and call Apple Care and they would send a replacement watch to my house.

So that's what I did. I called Apple Care and they took care of me. I was given what Apple calls their "express replacement", which means they express ship you a replacement device and then when you received the replacement you ship your damaged device back to Apple in the same packaging. This is a free service option if you have purchased Apple Care and an optional service (for an additional charge) if you didn't purchase Apple Care. Apple then places a hold on your credit card until your device arrives at Apple, but that minimizes the time you would be without the device. An excellent option in my opinion.

Two interesting things with respect to the warranty call. The first is that before they would process the replacement they had me unpair the Apple Watch from my iPhone. This "unlocks" the device from my iCloud account which lets Apple repair the device and then re-purpose it. If I were to send the watch to them without unpairing it then they would not be able to do anything with it. So I understood why they did this. I'm sure they had enough Apple Watches sent it incorrectly that it was causing a problem and with the new feature in Watch OS allowing you to pair your iPhone with more that one device it was now possible for people to pair their iPhone with the replacement Apple Watch and forget to unpair their old watch before returning it. So I explained that I would want to keep using my watch until the replacement arrived and he said that I could do that, but that I had to unpair the watch at least long enough for them to process the replacement. The system is hard wired so that the customer HAS to unpair the watch before they can process the claim. I guess that's one way to make sure the customer at least knows how to unpair the watch. He then told me I was free to re-pair the watch, but to make sure I remembered to unpair it again before sending it in else I would risk being charged for the replacement device (the temp hold on my credit card would be become an actual charge). Makes sense.

The 2nd interesting feature of the call was the long list of questions Apple asked me about how I use the Apple Watch. They wanted to know if I had been using the watch in any kind of extreme heat, in a very wet environment like a pool and if I wore the watch in the proximity of any kind of lotion or sunscreen. They even wanted to know the exact brand and type of sun screen. This tells me that this glue problem my watch had isn't as isolated as the Apple Store greeter made it sound. Obviously if Apple has a list of questions to ask customers then this a fairly well known issue.

So there were a few thing I learned from this whole experience that I wanted to pass on:

  1. It's always a good idea to call Apple Care by phone before going into the Apple Store. In my case it would have saved me 2 hours of driving.
  2. Not all Apple Stores will be able to fully take care of an Apple Watch warranty claim. This was very surprising to me since Apple Watch has been out for over a year now.
  3. Don't expect to be able to get a Genius Bar appointment any time soon. The earliest appointment I could find in my area was a week from the day I was checking. Apple accepts walk-ins for the Genius Bar, so if you have a device in need of warranty then a walk-in appointment is really your only option. But Apple handles walk-ins really well now. They give you an approximate time frame they think they can squeeze you in and then take your phone number and text you when your appointment time is approaching so you can go somewhere outside the store until they are ready for you.
  4. Apparently backs falling off of Apple Watches is a thing. How big of a thing I don't know, but obviously my issue was not an isolated event given the series of prepared questions I was given.

Updated Oct 13, 2016...the back of the replacement Apple Watch that Apple sent me has also experienced the same problem. I called Apple and they sent me yet another Apple Watch. I have no idea what is causing the adhesive used to secure the Apple Watch back to fail.


Updated June 24, 2017...the back of my Apple Watch has fallen off yet again. See this post for more details. I've given up on the Series 0 Apple Watch and gone ahead and bought a Series 2. Hopefully the more water-resistant Series 2 will solve this issue I am having...


UPDATE July 12, 2017 Apple has an internal service memo that extends the original Apple Watch warranty out to 3 years to cover this isssue and this issue only. See my latest post for more details.

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