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Cracked cameras: user complaints about huge repair fees

9to5Mac is reporting that a growing number of iPhone X users have been complaining about the durability of the rear camera.

Several posts on Reddit and the Apple Support forums report that the camera lens on their iPhone X has cracked. (Note that it’s not technically the lens which is broken in this situation, but the glass camera covering that sits above the iPhone X’s dual lenses.) Most of these reports state that the cracking was not a result of dropping the phone, and that Apple’s only solution is to charge a whopping $549 for a full device replacement.

Apple’s repair and replacement prices vary depending on the model and the problem, but for a seemingly small issue like a piece of cracked glass users are repeatedly shocked to learn that a simple fix is not available. $549 is a flat charge for an iPhone X replacement, around half the cost of buying a brand new device. Customers with extended AppleCare support can get a replacement for $99.

The camera covering on iPhone X (and most other recent devices) is sapphire glass, which is great at resisting minor scratches but not so good at surviving damage. Oftentimes a drop or a bump can put increased load on the glass, which could then lead to a crack appearing at a much later date.

It’s worth remembering that this kind of evidence is anecdotal, and represents a tiny minority of the tens of millions of units Apple has shipped. Still, we’d hope Apple comes up with a better solution in future. In the meantime, consider this a warning to take extra care if you have an iPhone X.

Perhaps the most important takeaway here is that without AppleCare, iPhone and iPad repairs are very expensive. If you’re worried about damaging your pricy iPhone X, we’d recommend investing in a decent protective case or shelling out for an extended AppleCare warranty. It could end up saving you hundreds of dollars.