So far, Apple has only given certified workshops access to original spare parts. Now the group is gradually opening the depots to everyone.
In the future, Apple will no longer limit access to original spare parts as much as it did before. The group announced a self-service repair program. As a first step, owners of an iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 can purchase the most important spare parts – namely the battery, screen and camera module – directly from Apple and replace them on their own. Previously, only around 5,000 authorized service providers and 2,800 independent repair providers had access to original parts.
Self-service repairs will be offered in the US early next year and will be rolled out to other countries in the course of 2022. Apple was unable to give an exact start date for Europe on Wednesday. The program should later also be available for Mac computers with an M1 chip.
“Right to repair”
On the one hand, Apple is responding to customer requests and demands from consumer advocates. But there were also antitrust reservations in politics that the system had aroused in the past with only a comparatively small number of partner workshops. In some US states, including Apple’s home country California, a “right to repair” including access to original spare parts has been demanded. A year ago the European Parliament also spoke out in favor of a “right to repair”, also with the aim of extending the usage time of smartphones.
The new Apple program for self-service repairs not only includes spare parts that are to be made available to private customers at the same prices as professional workshops. In the future, Apple will also provide access to special tools and repair instructions that were previously reserved for licensed workshops. A new store will offer more than 200 individual parts and tools for the most common repairs.
Repair is not easy
Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said over the past three years Apple has nearly doubled the number of repair locations with access to genuine Apple parts, tools, and training. “Now we have an option for those who want to do their own repairs.”
Devices like the current iPhone 13 cannot be repaired by laypeople as easily as, for example, the models from the Dutch manufacturer Fairphone, which don’t even need a screwdriver to replace the battery. Apple said self-service repairs are “aimed at tech-savvy people who have the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices.” For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional service provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to carry out a repair.