The Apple Watch ban means you can’t even get your old model repaired anymore


If you own an Apple Watch that’s out of warranty in the United States you might want to start being extra careful with it. That’s after it was confirmed that Apple will no longer be able to repair Apple Watches outside of warranty claims as of December 25, 2023.

That’s the date on which the United States ban on Apple Store sales of the Apple Watch kicks in, with all models that are capable of measuring blood oxygen levels affected. In a memo sent to retail employees last week and seen by MacRumors, Apple confirmed that it will not be able to replace broken Apple Watches. It would normally replace broken Apple Watches with new units rather than try and fix individual components, but the ban will prevent that from happening.

The Apple Watch ban means you can't even get your old model repaired anymore 02

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Apple has already stopped selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra via its online store and it will stop selling them in its physical stores after December 24. As for the replacements for broken models, that will affect the Apple Watch Series 6 or alter as well as all Apple Watch Ultra models.

The move means that those with broken Apple Watches will have to wait for their repairs until hardware replacements are once again available, and there is no indication of when that might be. However, Apple is still allowed to swap out products that are still covered by warranty, including those that are covered by the extended AppleCare+ warranty that some customers choose to buy for their devices.

This whole situation came about because Apple was adjudged to have infringed upon a Masimo patent relating to the blood oxygen-sensing technology used in Apple Watches released in recent years – the Apple Watch SE is not affected because it does not have the same technology built in.

Apple is reportedly already working on a software change that could see it bypass the patent dispute, but there is some doubt that will work considering the nature of the hardware-based patent that is in play. Alternatively, Apple could choose to pay Masimo to license its patent, something the medical device company has already said that it would be open to allowing. However, it isn’t known how much money would need to change hands.

For now, buying an Apple Watch in the United States is going to get harder and harder. Apple must stop sales this weekend, while third-party resellers can continue to sell the wearable until their current stocks dry – no new watches can be imported into the United States while this ban is in place.

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