If like me, you follow Stephen Hackett's 512 Pixels, then you know that every couple of months products from Apple's past are added to the list of Vintage and Obsolete hardware no longer supported by the company. But what do these lists of legacy products mean, and how does an older Mac or ancient iPod make the lists?
Vintage [Apple] products are those that have not been manufactured for more than 5 and less than 7 years ago.
This includes any iPhone, iPad, iPod, Beats, or Mac models that have stopped being manufactured in the last five years. (Not necessarily five years from the date you purchased your Apple hardware.) Or course there are a couple of exceptions that can extend your vintage Apple product’s support, but these exceptions are restricted by where you live or where you purchased your product.
Obsolete [Apple] products are those that were discontinued more than 7 years ago.
For these products Apple has discontinued all hardware service with no exceptions. Even if you bring your obsolete product to a third-party Apple Authorized Repair Center they won’t be able to receive replacement parts from Apple.
Short of living in Turkey, or purchasing your Apple products in California, there is very little you can do to have your Vintage Apple hardware repaired by Apple. A couple of exceptions are asking for an exception from an Apple store for a mission critical piece of Apple hardware. If Apple has enough replacement parts in stock for your vintage model they may provide an exception for the standard price of the repair.
Third-party Apple Authorized Repair Center’s are also an option for vintage or obsolete Apple hardware in need or repair. Many third-party Apple Authorized Repair Center’s keep parts in stock for various vintage and obsolete models, and if they don’t have it in stock they may be able to savage it from dead Apple hardware or buy it on eBay.
Today there is more custom hardware in Apple products than ever before. This makes repairing yesterday’s Apple hardware with off-the-shelf parts nearly impossible, and all the wiser to sell or replace your older Apple hardware before it makes the list.