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


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.

Derek Ross
I'm a passionate Android enthusiast that's on the pulse of the latest Android news, writing about Android as often as possible. I'm also a little addicted to social networking. Hit me up, I'd love to chat.

Android Wallpaper: Too Cute

Previous article

Official: LG Watch Urbane is possibly the best looking smart watch yet

Next article

You may also like


  1. I had a similarly positive experience w/GOOGLE replacing my MOTO G GPE (connectivity issues).
    No hassles whatsoever & had a brand new replacement in about 5-7 days.
    Would definitely give ’em another go-around,when the right phone comes along…..

    1. Glad to hear it. I’ve returned a Nexus 5 and had two Glass replacements too. All perfect. I don’t get the whole notion that Google doesn’t handle support very well. I’ve had 4 great experiences now.

      1. You should’ve tried getting the Nexus 10 repaired. Took me 3 months. Though that was all Samsung (bought it via Staples and they made me go through Samsung)

      2. What do you mean by two glass replacements? Do you mean the digitizer and or screen assembly? If so did the repair cost come out of pocket? The reason why I ask is because the glass battery door cover from my Nexus 4 broke while in my pocket and I could swear I didn’t bang my hip or thigh against anything, google would not replace it even though I’ve only had it for a month.

        1. Google Glass(es)

        2. As @irishrally said, Google Glass. I had two units replaced over the past year and a half.

  2. I think the phone may be too big. I’ve had me Moto X 2014 since September and there’s no sign of the back cover separating from the frame and I have no case on the phone.

    1. I absolutely loved the Moto X 2014 and actively recommend it to people over the Nexus 6 simply because not everyone wants a phone this large. If they are coming from a Note 3/4 or something similar though, I tell them about the Nexus 6.

    2. The Moto X 2014 device I had as a review unit had this same issue. Thankfully it was not my phone.

      It is just a case of the adhesive on the side edges not being able to handle how warm the devices get from heavy use & the Turbo Charging.

      1. I rarely use turbo charging. I use qi every night.

        1. Same Here… TYLT

    3. My first Moto X 2014 back cover separated really quickly. I got a brand new warranty replacement and haven’t had any issues.

  3. To be honest, from your pictures I don’t even see the gap. It doesn’t look high enough to see under, and that paper is sticking straight up. Almost every phone I’ve ever owned has gaps big enough to stick a paper in like that. In fact I sometimes use the corner of a paper to clean the dust out. Is it actually UNDER the back of the phone and you just folded it up, or is it only between the back and the frame?

    1. There were no gaps anywhere else on the phone but on that one side. When comparing to the other 3 sides, you can clearly tell a difference. The paper was at about 45 degree angle. Yes, the paper is actually inside the phone. No, it was not folded up. Thanks.

      1. Hey if it was actually separating then you did good getting it replaced early. I’m just saying from these photos alone, I can’t actually see under the back. Both sides of mine look like that, and have since I bought it. Up ever so slightly on the sides, though not enough to see under, but flush with the frame on top and bottom. I hope mine never lifts because I didn’t buy it from Google I would have to go through moto or square trade.

    2. It’s more obvious if you are holding it because the back would flex under the pressure.

  4. Good to know, cuz they normally get a bad rep as people say their human customer service is nonexistent.

    So since you don’t have a case, or any protection, how do you keep your devices so pristine? No pocket storage, or rather no mixing of metal objects with the phone? And simply placing it on a table it’ll scratch if it moves.

    The reason I ask is because I tried it with my Oneplus One to go caseless, and that didn’t go pretty. Eventually I had to use a bumper, and then a full case.

  5. I had bought extended warranty from Motorola since I bought the phone from Motorola directly. Last week I dropped my phone and screen cracked. I called them and they sent a replacement with 2 day shipping. The phone appears new device instead of refurbished. Glad I had bought the warranty.

  6. My Motorola exchange experience for this issue was so terrible I requested a refund.

    Waiting 4 weeks from original replacement request only to be told they were still unavailable was unacceptable seeing as I could have purchased a new unit from their website.

    It did not help that the first call I made to check the status after 2 weeks of waiting & hearing nothing took over 45 minutes only to be told they could send me a AT&T branded unit.

    Or the second time I called I got disconnected after 1 hour & 3 minutes and had to call back and spend another hour and 34 minutes.

    I was done with them. I may repurchase it from Google Play, but seeing as my refund is tied up for 4-6 weeks, I will see what Samsung, HTC & LG have in mind at Mobile World Congress before deciding which Android device becomes my next purchase.

    1. Have to agree. Motorola customer service is terrible.

    2. I had a similar issue with Google w/ the 2012 Nexus 7 and it took over a month for the replacement, but I coaxed out a refund out of it and got an iPad at the time.

    3. Motorola is garbage. My 360 was defective, so was my nexus 6. Had a horrible time replacing both and they sent me a freaking refurbished moto 360, when I was a launch day buyer who paid for a NEW unit. I bought a moto x 2014 from them from my brother and it doesn’t seem to have any issues but overall I can’t stand them. I love their products but the quality control and customer support is subpar. It pains me that next year will be the first year I don’t buy a nexus.

  7. Mine is starting to separate, but I don’t think quite enough yet to request a replacement. I hope T-Mobile is as pleasant to work with as Google Play.

    1. Just do it. A small separation leads to a bigger one. Might as well get it taken care of.

    2. plz if u can post back and tell us about ur experience. i want to know if they are still offering refurb devices s replacements. i surely hope not.

  8. I bought my nexus 4 from Google and it developed a very slight creeky noise when I pressed the back cover. I thought it was a little petty but was worried it may develop into something worse. I live in the UK and called the customer service number. An American lady answered, was extremely polite and within 2 minutes she said they will send a replacement. 2 days after I had a brand new handset that had the, then new, little nobbly feet so I could hear my alarm in the morning. I am still using the same handset and it is immaculate. Amazing customer service and makes me want to buy from them again. Simple!

  9. I love google..they have always taken care of any issue I had..

  10. My Nexus 6 has a date of 01/03/15 on the box. I wonder if this issue is with earlier produced devices. Even if T-Mobile isn’t as nice to work with you can let Google know and I’m sure they’ll make sure it is taken care of. It is still a Google device the only difference is T-Mobile is the middle man. It is still Google at the end of the day and still indirectly reflects on their product and services.

  11. My nexus 6 screen cracked from a 1 foot fall onto my desk at work. The web is loaded with stories about how Google is replacing cracked screens free, but since I bought through T-Mobile I have to pay 200 bucks to get it fixed. So no, don’t count on Google or Motorola being as helpful as this experience was. In fact Motorola support was pretty inept, and Google didn’t care at all.

    1. Motorola’s support is even worse.

    2. You said you purchased the phone through T-Mobile. If you had bought it through Google Play, it would have been different.

      1. And that was kind of my point.

        1. This is one area where Apple really gets it right. All of my retail experiences at Apple in the past few years have been stellar. If something goes wrong with your car, go to the dealership. If something goes wrong with your Apple device, go to the Apple Store. Plus you can get AppleCare plus and they’ll replace a broken device in store right away.

          Something goes wrong with your Samsung/LG, send it to Korea and wait three weeks. If you’re a person that uses your phone for more than angry birds, this is truly unacceptable.

          I really wish Google would get it together and have some dedicated retail stores for Android devices/chromecast/chromebooks in major cities.

          1. Actually I’ve been reading a few articles lately saying that google is trying to start retail shops and kiosks that sell and repair nexus devices and help with google services take this with a grain of salt though

          2. Apple devices have the cost of repair built in, whether you need it or not. Check their bank balance if you doubt that.

          3. Android flagships are the same price as the iPhone.

          4. The iPhone 6+ 64GB is $849, that is $150 more than the Nexus 6 with 64GB.
            My math tells me they are not the same price.

          5. And the Nexus 6 is an inferior product, as the article demonstrates. Well built hardware like a Note 4 goes as high as $950.

          6. im sorry u got it wrong. android flagships are not the same price as apples iphone.

        2. Yes but you really can’t complain about it…google or Motorola didn’t sell you the phone. That’s like taking something back to Kmart that you bought at Walmart because they sell the same item

          1. Not quite the same. It’s a Google phone made by Motorola. While Google does sell it directly its still a Google Nexus device no matter where I bought it.

          2. eh? nothing like that!!

  12. wjat is the email for Google customer service… oh wait, they don’t have one.

      1. still waiting

        1. go to support.google.com and click the expand (double arrows pointing down).

          Select what you have an issue with – for example, Nexus, and read thru’ for support options. For Nexus, click the “Contact us” link on the right side top, and you’ll get Chat/Call options (usually preferred compared to Email and wait)

          1. that isn’t email… just like i said

          2. You’d actually prefer to send an Email and wait rather than get instant response via Chat or phone call?
            {wrote a snarky response about wanting smoke signals – but deleting it out to be civil}

            To each their own I guess. Yes, you are right – they do not always make their support Email address known. Just like you said.

  13. I’ve had so many issues with my nexus 6. I’ve had horrible support through Motorola. Has anyone else had issues with the curved 2.5d glass scratching easily? I’ve had tons of gorilla glass 3 phones and don’t have a single scratch on any of them. This thing scratches like an iPhone 4.

    1. That’s why you use a screen protector

      1. My point is that I shouldn’t have to. I’ve had tons of gorilla glass 3 devices and don’t have a single scratch on any of them. This thing scratches easily. I hate screen protectors and because of the nexus 6 curved 2.5d glass it won’t even completely cover the 2.5d glass which is the area that is being scratched easily. That’s why you read a comment before you respond.

        1. It would be smart to use one but apparently you’re not . Considering how expensive these devices are ,Gorilla glass 3 or gorilla glass 4 or not ,It would be wise to use one . It might be more scratch resistant but it WILL scratch It looked nice before though right

          1. Most tech enthusiasts don’t use screen protectors. Content just doesn’t look as good with one and it’s quite obvious when one is one and it just doesn’t blend in. I’m not calling out gorilla glass I’m calling out the nexus 6. I have plenty of other gorilla glass 3 devices that don’t have a single scratch on them why should my nexus 6 be different? I baby my devices and treat then with the utmost care. I’ve never dropped a phone or put one in a dangerous position. My nexus 6 should be immaculate.

          2. No scratches here… Not a fan of the curved edges, all glass protectors fit poorly because of it.

          3. I’m sure the screen is fine but look closely at the 2.5d glass i’m sure there’s at least 1 or 2 there. I think Google opted not to use gorilla glass on the 2.5d glass for some odd reason.

  14. “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”

    You’re not drinking hard enough

    1. When I’m out drinking I spend time my time drinking and have fun, not with my face buried inside a phone, being rude to those around me. My phone generally stays my pocket.

      1. I feel bad even for texting my gf just casually letting her know how my night is going while I’m out with friends. People who mess around on social media or texting someone because they’re socially anxious/indifferent really miss out. I replied to someone on Phandroid who’s a self-admitted phone addict (but not a really rude person per sé). That being said his indifference in saying that he prefers “looking at something more interesting on his phone than talking to people about the weather” is kinda off-putting. I really try to minimise my phone usage when I’m out with friends (especially my group of close friends). I sometimes don’t use my phone for 2-4 hours when I’m out with them (except when I lose track of them, of course).

      2. Has Moto fixed this issue? Replacements are all well and good but if you’re replacing it with one that is likely to also suffer the same fate what’s the use? Awaiting the day I see mine start to separate. What’s the date of manufacture on your new 6?

    2. I’ve never had a drink in my life. Dropping phones is a constant. Only reason my my Nexus 5 hasn;t shattered is because I have a glass screen protector ha ha

  15. I had a horrific experience with Moto on this exact issue. They said they’d ship a replacement in 4 days. 3 weeks later, with nothing shipped, no expected ship date, I requested a refund and was denied. All that over 5 hours on 3 different phone calls and multiple chats. I’ll let my credit card company work this out. Buyer beware from Moto. They don’t even live up to the lower standards they set for themselves.

  16. I bought mine the week before Thanksgiving, and the back is just starting to separate in one spot. I have it through Jump on T-Mobile, so I know I’ll end up with a refurbished phone. I’ve had no issues otherwise, and I don’t want a refurb, so I am just letting it go unless it gets worse.

    1. You can refuse a refurbished phone… At least with Verizon when you refuse a refurbished phone they transfer you to the manufacturer and put a hold on your credit card… Just like the example given.

    2. Refurbished is the new curse to modern product purchases that need replacements. If I wanted a cobbled-together device I wouldn’t have bought a new one in the first place, geniuses.

      Some refurbished devices work great but others as unreliable as all hell.

  17. Love Love Love My Nexus 6… Feeling so blessed that I have not had any issues with the back plate or anything else. I bought mine directly from Moto and I am sure that if I had a problem that they would resolve the issue.

  18. So has the new one started peeling yet? Have they fixed the manufacturing process?

  19. Thanks for posting your experience.

  20. I purchased my Nexus 6 from Google. I never found where/how to purchase a warranty. Anyone know how?

    1. if you purchased it from the google play store, then you automatically have a 1-year warranty.just keep track of the order# and the google account used to order the phone, and you’ll be good to go just in case you have a warranty claim.

  21. I got Motorola to do warranty exchange. However, they never sent new phone out. After arguing back and forth with them for a long time (weeks), they finally admitted that they do not have any to send out. Gave me my money back.

  22. My Moto X (purchased through MotoMaker) with the leather back separated the same way in the first week I had it. Motorola replaced it quickly and also gave me a $50 credit to their web store so I picked up some high end earbuds.

  23. Just check mine. All good. Trying to give me separation anxiety =)?

  24. Who wrote this article? I’m on my nexus 6 and don’t see anywhere that says the author’s name

    1. I’m on a nexus 7, it says Derek Ross…

  25. Uh-oh. The back on my Moto X is doing the same thing… Minor now, but I’m afraid it could get worse.

  26. I would have never have noticed the separation had I not read this. Now I can’t unsee it and I’m upset that I have to go back to T-Mobile :-/ I hope I have a better experience than some of the people here.

    1. Just like I thought. They’re making me go through LG. Which is funny considering the phone is made by Motorola.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Handsets