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Apple has quietly extended free repairs for separated back covers on the first-generation Apple Watch to three years, regardless of warranty coverage.
The change should apply to any first-gen model — Sport, standard, Edition, or Hermes — even if a previous warranty has expired. To arrange a repair, people must contact an Apple store, an authorized service provider, or else Apple's remote support staff.
People who have already paid for a back cover repair may be able to secure a refund by calling Apple Support.
The loose cover issue has been known since 2015. Among affected people, the part often appears to be separating when taking a Watch off its magnetic charger. The root cause is unknown, but one possibility is that Apple's manufacturer didn't use strong or sufficient glue.
The repair extension was earlier reported by MacRumors, and confirmed by AppleInsider sources.
Apple's Series 1 and 2 Watches, launched in late 2016, so far appear to be sturdier. The Series 1 is essentially a first-gen Watch with a faster processor, but the Series 2 includes additional upgrades, such as full waterproofing — making it essential that the device stay sealed.