Got a Replacement iPhone or iPad recently? You can get iWork and iLife for iOS FREE!

If you remember Apple’s iPhone event in September, you recall that Apple was including access to iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) and iLife (iMovie, iPhoto) for free with the purchase and activation of a new iPhone/iPad after Sept. 1st. Tuesday (Oct. 22), Apple did the same with the new OS X Mavericks: not only making it free, but iLife and iWork free with purchase and activation of a new Mac. Hopefully by now you understand the premise of this post due to italics, so let me explain.

NOTE: iSuite is used throughout the post and refers to both iWork and iLife combined.


The terms purchase and activate are used jointly, but play two distinct roles in getting this iSuite free. Purchasing is not limited to just the iPhone 5s/5c/4s, but rather any device at an Apple store capable of running iOS 7 after 9/1/2013. Based on my experiences, this includes both in and out of warranty replacement phones/tablets. For example, say you drop your iPhone 4 and it’s cracked/broken/destroyed in a volcano/whatever. Since Apple Retail does not repair devices, you get a new iPhone 4 and are billed the cost of replacement (free for in-warranty replacements). Of course, once you get a new/replacement device, it’s likely the Apple Genius assisting you activates it on your respective carrier.

Most replacement devices at Apple Retail (save for the new models) have not been configured to iOS 7, and are still running a variant of iOS 6. The fact that these devices aren’t already on iOS 7 is irrelevant because of this: Upon initial activation, Apple runs a system check documenting the date of activation, and will also document the Serial Number of the device alongside the AppleID used the first time for sign-up. The reason why eligibility for the iSuite is hardware based makes sense when thinking about it. This makes a few scenarios virtually impossible, such as:

  • Restoring a device purchased before Sept. 1 in order to get free iSuite
  • Using someone else’s AppleID not associated with a device purchased after Sept. 1 to get a free copy of iSuite
  • Using your own AppleID to get multiple copies of iSuite.
  • Gifting the iSuite to a friend/whomever as a result of this promotion without their AppleID credentials

Being hardware based also makes a few other things possible, such as:

  • Searching for warranty information through Apple’s Website
  • Skipping the AppleID login upon initial setup
  • Tracking App Store purchases
  • Application and Springboard behavior detecting a new user (upon initial setup)
  • iCloud configuration

Now, if you’re really unlucky like myself and end up with more than one replacement, you can gift the iSuite to a friend/relative/pet/etc. All you need to do is obtain their AppleID credentials, and when initially setting up your replacement device, sign in with their AppleID. Because of the hardware check mentioned above, Apple will believe this ID has been associated with a device purchased after 9/1/2013, resulting in the iSuite being free on their account. You must make sure the ID you want to have the iSuite free on is the first ID you sign in with. If you attempt to use another ID after one has already been setup, the check will fail, and you will not get the iSuite for free.


A Note about iSuite on Mavericks:

Update: As of this posting, there is a workaround that allows you to install a copy of the iWork ’09 trial and then simply update to iWork on the App Store. This is both legal and supposedly allowed. Note that this does not include iLife, so if a method for that is known, I’ll be sure to update.


OS X Mavericks is still relatively new, and the new Macs have just been released, so it is hard to say whether this process used for iOS will be the same for OS X. It’s also important to note that there are no removable parts on an iDevice unlike the Mac, so whether or not the outcome of installing a new hard drive with a copy of Mavericks guaranteeing a copy of iSuite for free is still up in the air. Of course, the initial serial number check will probably put a damper on your plans, but either way, you should not be discouraged. The new iWork and iLife are fantastic on both iOS and Mac, and are worthy of their price points.

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