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Keeping Your Apple Warranty Intact When Pursuing Data Recovery

When your apple product breaks and needs to be sent in for repair, it's up to you to ensure your data is recovered correctly


Apple's customer service department is legendary for their fast response times and no-nonsense attitude towards product replacements. According to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, Apple had the highest customer satisfaction rate of all major computer manufacturers in 2012, and many of Apple's customers credit the responsive approach of the company's warranty team.

With this in mind, Apple users need to avoid violations of their warranty agreements. While Apple does not have a particularly strict policy, the company does insist on using a certified Apple repair company when treating hard drive failures and other common computer issues. Because of this, the warranty process can get a bit complicated when Mac users need to get a working copy of damaged data before sending their computers in for a repair. As Apple's one-year warranty states:

"Data recovery is not included in the warranty service and Apple is not responsible for data that may be lost or damaged during transit or a repair."
In other words, Apple's warranty does not cover data recovery. When a Mac user sends hardware into the company, they may not receive their original storage media with the repaired or replaced product.

Apple does not offer a data recovery services, and users need to find a reputable, experienced recovery company in order to retrieve data while keeping an intact warranty. If you have an Apple computer or device that needs professional data recovery services, you need to take care to choose an appropriately qualified provider. Here are several tips to keep in mind:

  • Ask whether the provider regularly works with Apple products regularly. In order to safely disassemble Apple products and remove storage media, data recovery engineers need to use special tools. Companies that do not regularly work with Apple hardware will not have these tools available and will not know how to safely open the chassis of an iMac or Macbook without causing permanent damage.
  • Ask whether the provider has appropriate data recovery equipment. No data recovery provider can safely treat damaged hard drives without a Cleanroom. Find out whether your provider has an appropriately certified Cleanroom or clean-flow bench. Ask about data recovery tools and make sure that the provider holds certifications from hard drive manufacturers.
  • Call Apple to discuss the data recovery work. Apple's return media authorization (RMA) department puts a time limit on each warranty request, and data recovery services might push your RMA past this limit. You can often get an extension by calling Apple's warranty department and explaining your situation.
  • Make sure to pack your computer safely. You might have warranty issues if your device shows up at Apple's RMA center with a cracked screen, so have your computer professionally packed. Get insurance on the shipment and make sure that your data recovery provider knows that the device is on its way. Most data recovery companies will call or send an email upon receiving a shipment.
  • Make sure that the data recovery company understands that you will be sending your computer in for repairs after their services are complete. Some providers will help you handle the warranty authorization process by sending your computer directly to Apple.
  • When in doubt, you can always ask your data recovery provider if they will keep your device's warranty intact.

Like many computer manufacturers, Apple is somewhat strict about authorizing third-party repairs for warranty devices, but reputable data recovery providers will not invalidate your warranty. Data recovery companies can typically complete repairs within 2-7 days, returning a full, working copy of your data along with your computer or device.

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