The back cover of my Nexus 6 was separating, Google issued a warranty replacement with ease

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Nexus 6 back cover separation

Last month we reported that some Nexus 6 owners were experiencing separation issues with their phone. And no, I don’t mean smartphone addiction, the back cover of the Nexus 6 was coming unglued. Well Android fans, it happened. The back of my Nexus 6 started to separate from the frame after two and a half months of use. Thankfully, my warranty replacement experience with Google Play Support was absolutely wonderful and the handling of my entire issue couldn’t have made me any happier.

I’ve been using mobile phones for many years, buying my very first mobile phone back in 1998, a Nokia 918. Since then, I’ve become somewhat of a phone addict, buying at least one new phone a year.  In all of my years from dumbphones to smartphones, I’ve never dropped a phone on a hard floor or had the displeasure of watching in horror as my phone slid across the pavement. Shattering the screen of a phone is something I’m simply not familiar with. I’ve always been extremely careful with my devices, some may even say a little bit anal, and having a damaged device is well, just something that I know I wouldn’t be able to unsee.

And then it happened, from no fault of my own, my beautiful Nexus 6 began to show signs of imperfection. Shortly after we ran the story last month about Nexus 6 back cover issues, I noticed that one of the sides of my Nexus 6 was raised slightly higher than the other side. I also noticed that if I lightly pressed on the raised area, the cover would recede back into place and all was once again right with the world, at least from my anal retentive gadget owner perspective.

Over the next few weeks, I watched the raised cover turn into a tiny gap that was wide enough for me to slide a piece of paper into. While my separation gap wasn’t as bad as others were reporting, I knew I didn’t want to take any chances and have the gap grow into the complete eyesore as shown below. Plus, if there’s a gap, dirt and moisture can easily enter the back of the phone and eventually lead to a completely broken device. I had to get this fixed before things got worse.

Nexus 6 defective back plate

I contacted Google Play Support on Monday February 9th. I used the web form and requested a phone call. My phone rang a minute later and I began to explain that the back of my Nexus 6 was separating. I told the customer service representative that I never dropped my phone, I treated it like my third child, and I was afraid that the gap would continue to grow and result in a broken phone. I was also very adamant that I kept amazing care of my phone and it was only two and a half months old, I did not want a refurbished replacement. I was put on hold for a short couple of minutes and then the support representative returned with the good news. My device was most likely going to be replaced with a brand new device. I just needed to wait for a follow-up email.

The next day I received an email from a Google Play hardware support specialist that was going to assist me through the warranty process and with my replacement. The assigned support rep requested my phone’s IMEI number and pictures of the damaged area. Simple enough. I took took a few photos of back cover separation on my Nexus 6 and added them to my reply email. Now for the waiting game.

Nexus 6 back cover gap

To my surprise, I didn’t have to wait very long, receiving a response later that evening. Google Play was going to ship me a brand new Nexus 6. The email included a special purchase link as well as two attached PDF files – the shipping label and packing slip for me to return the faulty phone. I ordered my replacement Nexus 6 immediately (and joyfully did a happy dance). The email stated that my credit card would show a pending transaction, that would eventually drop off, after Google received my old Nexus 6.

Fast forward two days later and my replacement Nexus 6 arrived just as expected. Thanks to Android 5.0 Lollipop, NFC, and a little Bluetooth goodness, Tap and Go makes activating a new device near effortless. I turned on the new Nexus 6, connected it to WiFi and touched the back of my new phone against the back of my old phone. I was then prompted to enter my Google Account password and immediately my applications, wallpaper, homescreen settings, and WiFi networks began downloading to my brand new phone. Now, I have a lot of applications, 137 including the Googly ones, so the restoration process did take a while, but that’s to be expected.

Nexus 6 warranty replacement

I spoke about this whole process on my personal Google+ account. A few commenters mentioned that this wouldn’t have happened with a case or that a case would simply “fix” the eyesore. This was a clear defect with the Nexus 6 and it’s a defect that’s recognized by both Google and Motorola. In fact, a Motorola employee commented on my Google+ post stating that if anyone experiences this issue that they should contact them for a replacement, a case would not have prevented this. Just like the iPhone 6 bending, if your phone has a clear manufacturer defect, you get it replaced. You don’t put a case on it and call it a day. Cases are accessories. They aren’t required.

If you have a problem with the back cover of your Nexus 6 separating, you need to contact whomever you purchased the phone from, whether that be Google Play, Motorola, or your carrier, and get a warranty replacement. Sure, you could buy a supposed OEM back cover, which is essentially a plastic sticker, from eBay and do it yourself, but you shouldn’t have to do that. Our devices should be perfect from the manufacturer and we shouldn’t have to rely on fixing these types of defects ourselves when the manufacturer is clearly stepping up and fixing the issues themselves.

Dealing with Google Play Support and their customer service representatives was a perfect experience. Not only were they pleasant to deal with in both phone calls and email, they completely resolved my issue in just a few days, new phone and all. The Nexus 6 is still the best smartphone I’ve ever used and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks Google.