Is Apple Deliberately Misdiagnosing iPhone Repairs?

Get a second opinion if your iPhone has been assessed as unrepairable by Apple’s Genius Bar technicians

By James Robertson – 16.08.2022 at 15.52pm

caricature of customer and apple genius bar technicians diagnosing iphone

We all know that paralyzing feeling: you reach for your phone and flick your thumb to unlock it but it feels unresponsive in your hand. Your iPhone has suddenly stopped working. You book an appointment at the Apple genius bar only to be told your iPhone can’t be fixed. You need to buy a new one and you have lost any data stored on the device. 

“Every day, many customers visit our store directly after their genius bar appointments, distraught at the idea of losing their data after having been told their devices cannot be fixed. I never stop being surprised at the number of customers we talk to that have absolutely no idea how to back up their phone or how to check if their data is regularly being saved somewhere. I don’t know the exact percentage, but it’s for sure the vast majority.”

Anthony Fisher (Head Technician) Fone Fix 

After you’ve been given the bad news, Apple may offer you a trade-in. They will take your old device off your hands and in exchange, you’ll receive a discount off a refurbished iPhone, or they will simply suggest that you buy a brand new device. 

However, even if the “Genius” technician at the Apple store has deemed your iPhone to be beyond economical repair, always get a second option before you swap or exchange your device! Remarkably, for the vast majority of these cases, a minor repair is all that’s required. 

The most common solutions range from the removal of pocket fluff inside the charging port, to a battery reconnection or a basic screen replacement. All of which take less than 20min to complete.

Here are two recent examples from Friday 05th August 2022. Both customers took their iPhones to the Genius Bar at the Apple store in Bondi Junction where they were deemed to be unfixable. 

  • Customer: Phoebe McBride
  • Model: iPhone 8
  • Issue: No Power/Not Charging/ Needs Data 

fone fix google my business review for iphone 8 repair

The Genius Bar technicians plugged Phoebe’s unresponsive iPhone into a computer and told her it cannot be fixed. They also told her that if she wanted to recover the data, they would send the phone to a third party via Auspost for a cost of around $600.00. Due to the high price and the risk of losing her device and data in the post, Phoebe thought it would be a good idea to get a second opinion from an independent repair store. 

After visiting Fone Fix in Bondi Junction, Phoebe’s device was fixed within 20 minutes with a straight forward screen replacement. She is now able to use the device to set up her new iPhone and back up her data. The old phone can then be kept as a spare or sold. No other issues were found with the device and aside from the faulty screen it was fully functional. 

  • Customer: Robert Brander
  • Model: iPhone 12 Pro
  • Issue: No Power/Not Charging/ Needs Data

fone fix google my business review for iphone 12 pro repair

Robert’s iPhone 12 pro had stopped charging and no longer powered on. Much like Phoebe’s situation, Apple’s Genius Bar technicians advised Robert that the charging pins were broken inside the port and that he needed to buy a new phone. Robert took his device into Fone Fix for a second opinion. After a closer inspection, a simple cleaning of the blocked charging port fixed the problem and cost Robert only $40.00 for the service. No pins were found to be damaged inside, the iPhone was fully functional and most importantly, Robert now has access to all the data that he had not backed up. 

Cases like Phoebes and Roberts are constant and have been going on for as long as iPhones have been around. You can only imagine the number of unfortunate people in the same situation that didn’t get a second opinion. 

So why is this happening? 

The only logical explanation for the misdiagnosis of faults is to sell you a phone and make money. Apple has built their business around selling new devices so it’s understandable that Apple wants to sell customers new phones instead of fixing the old. But for customers, this is only half the solution. They have still lost all the data that was saved on the old device. It’s unfair of Apple to tell them that their device is unrepairable and their data is lost forever when they haven’t even performed the most basic diagnostic testing.

You need to open the phone to know what’s going on!

An independent phone repair shop has built its business around making successful repairs. If the solution is to replace the device, they won’t make any money. This is why it’s so important to get a second opinion after a meeting with the Apple store.

Apple will rarely open a device and their solutions are focussed around selling new hardware. The diagnostic machine they plug your phone into will always suggest replacement rather than repair.

When you bring your phone into an independent phone repair shop they will take it through a more repair focused diagnostic procedure.

  • Soft reset
  • Charging connector clean
  • Battery reconnection 
  • Battery replacement 
  • Screen reconnection
  • Screen replacement

If none of these methods work, then they can look at replacing combinations of internal components.  Something could be damaged or faulty or be causing a short circuit. For example, a faulty flex cable, earpiece or back camera can often cause devices to power off.

“When all these processes have been exhausted, only then would I be able to determine if the device is repairable or not. In cases where there is damage to the main board and the phone is beyond repair, we would then look at recovering the data if required.

Some time ago I contacted the managers at Apple in Sydney CBD and Bondi Junction to see if I could assist them with customers whose devices were not turning on that needed the data. My thought process being that, if Apple were to help these particular customers it would offer them a positive experience for a service that did not currently exist and that those individuals would be more likely to use Apple’s products and services in the future. I personally refer hundreds of customers to Apple every year for the devices that cannot be fixed to take advantage of their trade-in program. So in my opinion it was a win, win situation for Apple, myself and their customers. Unfortunately they didn’t seem to share the same opinion and were not interested in my proposal”

Anthony Fisher (Head Technician) Fone Fix 

What Apple doesn’t seem to understand is that the data is often of more importance than having a working phone and buying a new device is not going to bring the data back.  Amazingly in most circumstances, especially with iPhones that won’t power on, a simple repair will more often than not bring your device back to life. 

If your back camera lens breaks, Apple won’t fix it!

With Apple’s new iPhone models, you may have noticed that the back camera produces from the rear of the device. This new design will in turn make the camera lens much more likely to sustain damage. Thankfully if the top glass that covers the camera lens gets cracked or damaged, it can easily be replaced in about 20 minutes for around $80.00. However, if you go to Apple for this repair, the only option you will be given is to buy a new device for hundreds of dollars. This is just another example of a simple repair that can be completed in minutes at the fraction of the price of buying a new handset that Apple will not do. 


Regardless of what information you are given by Apple, always get a second opinion. What do you have to lose? If the device cannot be fixed, you can always go back to Apple and get a new phone, at least you will know for sure.

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