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Nobody likes having to get their phone repaired. Even if it is covered under warranty, the hassle of taking it in and waiting for it to get fixed is often an annoyance most would rather skip. For this reason, several companies, including Apple, have a large stock of refurbished phones they will trade to you if your phone needs so-called "whole-device repairs."
Unfortunately for Apple, the demand for batteries has been so high that they are running into shortages, especially for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. If you need a battery for either of those devices, you are going to have to wait because they are currently backordered until late March or early April.
However, if you have an iPhone 6 Plus that is in need of whole-device repair, you may be in luck. Due to the battery backlog, Apple has run short on iPhone 6 Plus replacements. As such, Cupertino has authorized the upgrading of phones needing replacing to the 6s version.
The news comes from an internal memo circulated to Apple authorized service providers. The notice was leaked to MacRumors which has confirmed its authenticity through multiple anonymous sources.
The document states, "Orders for whole unit service inventory of some iPhone 6 Plus models may be substituted to an iPhone 6s Plus until the end of March 2018."
The memo did not indicate why the switch is being made but it is likely due to the battery shortage for the device. The directive's conclusion at the end of March just happens to coincide with the time that the new battery shipments are to arrive. Coincidence?
The memo also did not state specific requirements for full-device repair, but generally, things like the display, battery, speakers and camera can be repaired while your wait. Replacements are usually given out to those needing repairs that must be sent off-site. For example, a defective Lightning port or faulty logic board would qualify for device replacement.
Apple has not replied to requests for comment.
Keep in mind that this only covers phones needing repairs that are actually under warranty. Don't go "accidentally" dropping your phone in the toilet just to try getting an upgrade. Also keep in mind that if your chosen repair facility happens to have iPhone 6 Plus replacements in stock, that is what you will get. This program only applies to service centers who are out of those devices.
Talk to the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store to contact customer support to find out if your phone qualifies for a device replacement repair.