Apple now upgrading iPad 4th gen replacements to newer iPad Air 2 as stock dwindles

Customers in need of a whole unit replacement for their fourth generation iPad may now receive a newer and more capable iPad Air 2 as a substitute from Apple Stores and authorized service providers. Apple is implementing the new policy, allowing its repair staff to ship an iPad Air 2 for a unit replacement when stock of the aging and now discontinued 4th gen iPad isn’t available.

An internal memo obtained by 9to5Mac reads:

Starting March 30, iPad 4th generation whole unit repairs may be substituted to iPad Air 2.

Apple’s memo also notes for staff to inform customers of the replacement unit’s color and capacity. The iPad Air 2 introduced a new gold color option, and offered only 32GB and 128GB storage options while discontinuing 16GB and 64GB models that were available with the 4th gen iPad. For that reason, users may receive a slight upgrade in storage when getting a replacement in addition to the device’s newer and more powerful internals overall.

While the iPad Air 2, introduced in October 2014 is also now discontinued, Apple will continue offering the device as a replacement as its supplies of the older, but still supported 4th gen iPad run out. The current iteration of the 4th gen iPad was discontinued in October 2014 to make room for the iPad Air 2. As Apple has now discontinued the iPad Air 2, it has been replaced with the new $329 iPad.

Apple typically supports products for at least 5 years following discontinuation, meaning users of the 4th gen iPad, introduced in 2012, can continue to get repairs and support from Apple stores and authorized service providers. Many Apple Stores and service providers don’t perform repairs on iPads, however, meaning a replacement is often the solution to many repair situations.


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