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Apple won't offer Apple Watch service replacements on out of warranty devices

Apple Watch Series 9

Customers won't be able to get an out-of-warranty damaged device replaced or exchange a recently purchased Apple Watch after the December 25 import ban begins.

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will no longer be sold by Apple in the United States after December 25, thanks to an International Trade Commission import ban. However, sales aren't the only thing impacted by the ban.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple won't be able to offer full device replacements on out-of-warranty products when customers damage their Apple Watch Series 6 or later beyond repair. Since the Apple Watch is such a compact and complex device, service providers tend to offer replacement devices as an option rather than attempting to replace a broken display, for example.

Apple will be able to tell customers to hold onto their product until later and then notify them once the ban has been lifted. Otherwise, the customer's only option is to do without or purchase an Apple Watch SE.

Devices still under the first year of warranty coverage or extended AppleCare packages will still be hardware serviceable.

Apple Watch exchanges are also common after the holiday has passed, but Apple won't perform those either. If a customer needs a 45mm Apple Watch Series 9 instead of a 41mm one, and it was purchased from Apple, nothing can be done except offer the customer a refund.

Best Buy and other retailers can still sell out their Apple Watch inventory. Apple Watch bands and accessories can still be exchanged as usual.

There isn't any sign of the import ban being lifted anytime soon, though Apple does have options. A software update might be enough to convince customs to allow importing devices, the White House could intervene, or if all else fails, Apple could always settle.