The service guide was obtained by Business Insider, which has posted a few select pages for all to view. The Visual/Mechanical Inspection Guide (VMI) covers Apple’s iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, and 7 Plus smartphones.
The first page covers items that are eligible for Apple’s warranty services “regardless of any accidental or liquid damage”. These defects include hairline cracks on the front glass that are not associated with any other impact marks on the device itself or additional cracks on the display. Another issue that that gets you ticket straight to a repair or replacement is a FaceTime camera that has its foam misaligned. This will show up as a crescent-shaped obstruction in the opening surrounding the camera. The last defect eligible for warranty service is any debris that are found under the glass, which would point to a manufacturing defect.
Apple has a much longer list for out-of-warranty service, which includes liquid damage, chips or multiple cracks in the display, extreme abrasions on the unibody or an enclosure that has been bent.
As for iPhones that Apple won’t even bother servicing, these include devices that have configuration mismatches in relation to their product code, intentional tampering with a device, and iPhones that have non-Apple batteries installed.
Additional information is provided that instructs Apple employees to reject warranty claims for cosmetic damage to an iPhone that doesn’t affect the operation of the device. This includes scratches, gouges, and chips to an otherwise functioning device. In other words, Apple isn’t going to replace your phone for regular wear and tear. And if you’re that concerned about physical appearances (and are that accident prone), perhaps you should wrap your iPhone in a case.
With that being said, the VMI is simply a guideline that should cover most warranty claims that are brought to Apple’s attention. There always exceptions, which Apple has been known to grant on occasions. "There are always those one-off issues that the phone is technically not covered under warranty but we swap the phone anyways under warranty," said an Apple technician to Business Insider.