Don't drop your iPhone! Apple warns coronavirus has caused shortage of replacement models

APPLE Store workers have been warned about a shortage of replacement iPhones due to the coronavirus outbreak.

That's according to leaked details of an internal memo that says that the ongoing crisis is causing major supply issues.

The iPhone maker is one of the America's biggest tech giants – but Apple's gadgets and parts come via China.

China currently has the highest rate of COVID-19 infection globally, with more than 80,000 cases to date.

Factories in China have been forced to shut down and international travel has been limited, creating a major headache for Apple.

Now Bloomberg reports that people with broken iPhones hoping for a replacement could be waiting up to a month.

That's because replacement models for heavily damaged devices are now in short supply, apparently.

Apple support workers known as 'Geniuses' have reportedly been advised to offer mail-replacement iPhones to customers.

And they can also provide some loan devices, to help reduce delays.

"The company recently told technical support staff at stores that replacement iPhones for heavily-damaged devices will be in short supply for as long as two to four weeks," Apple Store employees reportedly told Bloomberg.

Insiders have also "noticed" a shortage of individual parts for gadgets.

But the main delay appears to be for replacement iPhone models.

If an iPhone is too heavily damaged, the company will provide replacement devices.

But delays could mean getting your hands on one will become difficult.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is an airborne virus, spread in a similar way to colds and the flu.

The virus attacks the respiratory system, causing lung lesions.

Symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever, shortness of breath, chills and body aches.

It is incredibly contagious and is spread through contact with anything the virus is on as well as infected breath, coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever, shortness of breath, chills and body aches.

In most cases, you won't know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.

But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease or people with weakened immune systems.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus.

In 2003 an outbreak of a similar virus, SARS, infected more than 8,000 people in 37 countries before it was brought under control, killing 800 of those worldwide.

The coronavirus is believed to have originated in China's Hubei province.

That's near to the Henan and Guandong provinces, which are home to major Apple suppliers.

More than 2,000 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in those provinces alone.

The current infection rate stands at more than 80,000, the overwhelming majority of which are in China.

But the number of infections in western countries has risen in recent weeks, including in the UK and US.

Apple chief Tim Cook recently warned that the firm was expected supply delays and shortages.

But Apple hasn't officially said that upcoming iPhone models will be pushed back.

It's possible Apple may still make an announcement on March 31, but the rumoured iPhone 9's actual release may come some time later.

We've asked Apple for comment and will update this story with any response.

In other news, your iPhone gets slower and loses battery life if you always swipe your apps closed.

Putting your wet iPhone in rice won't fix it.

And this genius iPhone trick loved by mums lets you "lock" the touchscreen.

Are you worried about the coronavirus crisis? Let us know in the comments!

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