Apple has informed its tech support retail employees that stock of replacement iPhones will be strained for the next few weeks, according to Apple Store employees who spoke with Bloomberg. This shortage marks one of the first instances of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and its many ripple effects on industries worldwide, affecting the iPhone maker’s existing product supply. Bloomberg notes that the company’s iPhone 11 and iPad Pro lines are beginning to see shortages as well.
The company shared in a recent investor call that it does not expect to meet revenue goals for the second fiscal quarter of 2020, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has also said worldwide iPhone supply would be “temporarily constrained.” But it wasn’t clear at the time that the effects of the coronavirus would hit existing products like replacement iPhones, too.
If your iPhone is heavily damaged — to the point of needing to be replaced — there will reportedly be a limited supply of replacement devices to swap it out for over the course of the next two to four weeks. The report also notes that some Apple Store locations are short on individual parts, meaning that in those cases, minor repairs that are normally handled in-store may not be possible due to shortages.
This doesn’t mean you’re without any options if your iPhone isn’t working. Bloomberg says a memo from Apple told employees that stores are authorized to mail replacement iPhones to customers whenever they become available, or loan out iPhones until a replacement arrives.
Bloomberg notes that Apple has reopened most of the China-based Apple Stores that have closed due to the COVID-19 virus. That could be a sign that other parts of Apple’s business may soon function normally. Also, that Apple expects the shortage to last for up to four weeks could mean it’s already ramping up the restocking of replacement phones in the meantime.