Computers and devices are now generally considered to be more reliable than in years past. If something does happen to go wrong with one of these devices, a warranty can help troubleshoot and repair. Not only can a warranty save you money, but it can also save much frustration and headache. Do you know if your phone or computer is even still under warranty? We can help with that, showing you how to do a warranty check on a variety of devices.
Why Is a Warranty Check Helpful?
For better or worse, our favorite devices can and do fail from time to time. That’s why warranties are so invaluable – they can help you repair your device at no extra cost to you. Knowing that you still have a warranty when your device has an issue is the first step to knowing how to resolve the situation, as repair costs can reach astronomical proportions.
Do you think your computer, tablet or smartphone is still under warranty? Then go ahead and skip right to the next section. Are you outside of your warranty? Then you may have to look at third-party repair options or even purchase a new device.
How to Check Your Warranty Status
First things first: before you can start thinking about saving money on a warranty, you need to make sure your device is still covered. Thankfully, this is relatively easy and requires less than five minutes to verify warranty status so that you know what your options are with a device that is not working properly.
To check the validity of your computer’s warranty, you’ll need the serial number, which can be found on the unit itself in some cases or within macOS or Windows 10/11 settings. Plug the serial number in to the manufacturer’s warranty checker to find out whether your computer is still covered:
To find a serial number on a Mac
Go to the Apple menu in the top-left corner and click on the first option: “About This Mac.” The serial number will immediately be available on the screen that pops up and is also available on the box it came in.
Find a serial number in Windows
- Right-click on the “Start” button and click on “Command Prompt (Admin).”
- Type in
wmic bios get serialnumber, then hit enter to execute the command.
- Your serial number should now display.
Alternatively, you can look for a serial number somewhere on the computer itself, on the box, an email receipt if you purchased online, or documents that came with the device.
Warranties for Tablets and Phones
Checking the warranty for your phone or tablet can easily be done on manufacturer websites. Unlike computers, which is a pretty uniform process, smartphones and tablets will vary by manufacturer.
Apple does everything online, while Amazon will ask you to call customer service. Google will ask you to call as well, while Samsung wants you to set up an account, register your product, then verify warranty status. In every case, you will want to know the date of purchase, the serial number, and the product model (iPad, Pixel 5, Samsung Galaxy S21, etc.).
Locating iPhone and iPad Serial Numbers
- On both the iPhone and iPad, go to “Settings -> General” and tap on “About.”
- The serial number should be toward the top of the screen.
Finding Serial Numbers on Android Smartphones and Tablets
- Generally speaking, on an Android device, head to “Settings -> System.”
- Head to “About Phone -> Status (Information)” and look for “Device serial number” toward the bottom of the screen.
Getting the Serial Number on Amazon Fire Tablets
- Head to “Settings -> Device Options -> About Fire Tablet.”
- Look for “Serial Number” and copy the number down.
How Do You Make a Warranty Claim?
After you look up the status of your warranty with the sites above, your next step will be to ascertain what you need to make an actual warranty claim. Instead of one concrete need across the board, each manufacturer may require something different. One common expectation is proof of purchase. That may come in the form of a paper or email receipt.
If you bought directly from the manufacturer, they can likely look up your transaction history and find the serial number for you. For big-ticket items, such as tablets, phones and computers, holding on to a receipt and making a photocopy can be really helpful should you ever need to go through a warranty process.
What Is an Example of a Warranty Process?
Lenovo’s Warranty Claim Process
In the case of Lenovo, you will start with your serial number and the warranty check page. Locating your serial number is sometimes just as simple, as it’s available on a sticker on the back of any desktop or all-in-one. For laptops, the serial number is often located underneath the battery or can be found using the
wmic bios get serialnumber command prompt.
Upon entering your serial number, Lenovo’s page will immediately show your warranty status and what level of support is available. While each device manufacturer will be different, Lenovo will show you a line graph that indicates when your warranty began and ended. Additionally, you will see a section for the various service levels Lenovo has available for Good, Better and Best online support dependent on your warranty or extended warranty status.
Separately, you have an option to upgrade your warranty. While we didn’t complete the process, Lenovo indicates that for a “small fee,” it will reinstate the warranty. The requirement is that you make this purchase before the base or initial warranty expires. The cost of the upgrade varies, but keep in mind that the greater the warranty, the greater the coverage, as it may include accidental damage protection against spills and drops.
Amazon’s Warranty Claim Process
Whereas Lenovo has a detailed warranty website full of information, Amazon is the exact opposite. The only real step you can take is to land on Amazon’s warranty detail page ahead of calling customer service. Other than telling you the applicable warranty for your device, the only information Amazon provides is advice to contact its customer service line to troubleshoot or replace a device under warranty. This is true for all of Amazon’s devices, including all of its Fire tablet lineup, Kindle eReaders, Fire TV devices, etc.
How Does Apple’s Warranty (AppleCare) Work?
As one might expect, Apple does things a little differently as far as warranties, even if the time frame is fairly standard. The base warranty provided with every Apple device purchase is known as AppleCare. With AppleCare, Apple provides a one-year limited warranty and up to 90 days of complementary technical support (over the phone). All warranty work with Apple starts with its warranty check website. Once your serial number is entered, Apple will show you three separate options.
- Valid Purchase Date: this option lets you know whether Apple can verify when your product was purchased.
- Telephone Technical Support: this is covered by the 90-day time frame from the initial date of purchase.
- Repairs and Service Coverage: learn here whether your Apple device is still covered under the one-year limited warranty.
If your product is still covered by AppleCare, Apple will let you know what is still covered and give you a direct link to set up a repair. If you are covered, you are then provided with three to four different options:
- Send in for Repair: Apple will provide you with a prepaid shipping label, and you can send it to their repair center. This option is dependent on the product itself. For example, my iMac options, shown above, is not shown the “Send in for Repair” option due do its size and shipping costs.
- Bring in for Repair: this will take place at any Apple-owned store or Authorized Service Provider.
- Chat: exactly as it sounds: you can talk to a support rep to troubleshoot.
- Talk to Apple Support Now: the same as chat: call in to troubleshoot over the phone.
Using any one of these options, you can take advantage of Apple’s warranty process. One of the biggest benefits is the ability to go into an authorized retailer or Apple store and immediately receive assistance. That’s a huge bonus over competitors, where you will almost always need to send in a device for repair.
What About AppleCare+?
If you want to take Apple’s warranty one step further, pick up AppleCare+. This extended warranty program not only extends the length of the warranty but also dramatically reduces replacement costs for non-warranty repairs like broken or cracked screens. Coverage length can vary, as you can purchase two years initially with prices depending on the device.
- The extended AppleCare+ warranty on a newer iPhone can run between $129 and $199, depending on your model.
- With the Mac, it’s between $99 and $299, with costs varying between laptops and the iMac.
Initial costs aside, there are two aspects of AppleCare+ to consider. The first is that it covers your device against anything that could be considered a hardware failure not caused by damage, misuse, etc. Replacements under those conditions are free.
Accidental damage, like a cracked screen or broken hinge, requires an additional charge to replace but one that is significantly smaller than the charge for replacing without AppleCare+. AppleCare+ replacing a cracked screen on your iPhone would only cost $29 while non AppleCare+ replacements could run as high as $279.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is usually covered under a warranty?
For the most part, general warranties cover mechanical or electrical defects that are out of your control. That means a screen stops working or the battery stops holding a charge. It could also mean the keyboard stops registering keystrokes. Anything that is not related to physical damage, like drops or bumps, will be covered within the initial warranty period.
2. How long does a warranty cover you?
For the most part, all standard warranties default to a one-year period from the date of purchase/activation. However, nearly every computer and device company offers an extended warranty across their product lineup. Lenovo and Dell offers this for their computers as does Apple on the entirety of its product lineup. Likewise, Amazon sells an extended warranty for its Fire lineup of tablets.
3. What happens if I’m just over the warranty expiration period?
This is actually a more common scenario than you may think. It’s not impossible for a company to provide a slight amount of leniency on their warranty period, but most companies stick to their one-year timeline and do not budge. Apple and Amazon are traditionally among the better companies at offering a tiny bit of warranty flexibility, but that’s on a case-by-case basis.
4. How much are out-of-warranty repairs?
This is a tricky question without an easy answer. Warranty costs will vary by company and by situation. Is the hinge broken on your laptop? That’s likely going to be more expensive than replacing the battery. It’s all very dependent on what went wrong and how it went wrong.
5. Are there third-party warranty options available?
Yes! Third-party options are available, and some of them, like Squaretrade, are highly regarded as strong alternatives to manufacturer warranties. Likewise, Best Buy, Target and other big-box in-store and online retailers also offer their own in-house warranty programs to provide additional coverage.