Apple products contain Liquid Contact Indicators (LCIs) that change color when the device comes into contact with liquid. Apples’ policy is that water or liquid damage is not covered under warranty. However, consumers complain that the LCI’s can change color due the presence of humidity, and Apple uses this as a justification to deny warranty repairs.
Water indicators in the iPhone can get tripped due to the presence of mere humidity, without any liquid coming into contact with the phone. When the water indicators are tripped, the apple warranty, and AppleCare are voided. This is often the case when customers bring the iphone for repair for software issues unrelated to any water damage.
Customers report that Apple often does not check the phone to see if there is any actual evidence of water damage or corrosion before denying warranty. Instead, if Apple sees the water indicators are tripped they deny warranty repairs without any further inquiry.
One customer brought their iphone into the apple store to replace a defective battery. When Apple determined that the water indicator in the phone was tripped, they refused to replace the battery under warranty even though the defective battery had nothing to do with water damage.
Therefore, when the LCI is tripped, customers will be responsible for the repair of an iphone despite being under warranty and not having any actual water damage.
Apple was previously sued for its faulty water indicators in 2010. The case settled in 2013 for $53M in damages and $15M in attorneys’ fees.
While the lawsuit was ongoing in 2011 (and after it was resolved), Apple changed its water damage policy to allow warranty claims even if the LCI is tripped if the customer disputes water contact. However, based on more recent comments, (and this leaked warranty guide) Apple has reverted back to its original policy of denying warranty if the LCI is tripped, even if there is no other indication of water damage.
This issue may extend to Macbooks as well. Lois Rossman is a popular youtuber and Apple expert who repairs Apple products. Rossman shows in detail that a macbook that Apple denied warranty for due to water damage does not actually have any water damage.