I’ve been covering Apple in various capacities for a long time now. Over the years, I don’t know if I’ve seen a company announcement as unexpected and warmly welcomed as Self-service repair. After announcing the news last November, Apple has officially opened the service to users in the United States.
Departure about nowowners of iPhone 12, 13 and third generation OS will be able to purchase spare parts and tools, and consult instruction manuals that will guide them through the process of resolving common issues with handsets. The new offering is positioned as a follow-up to the 2019 decision to open iPhones up for repair – and resale – through third-party stores.
Picture credits: Apple
“Over the past three years, Apple almost doubled the number of service points with access to real Apple parts, tools and training, including more than 3,000 independent repair providers,” the company notes in a statement. “A global network of more than 5,000 Apple Authorized service providers support over 100,000 active technicians. As a result, in the United States, eight out of 10 Apple customers are located within 20 minutes of an authorized service provider. “
This information and an overview of the company’s environmental promises are detailed in a new white paper titled, “Extend access to safe, reliable and secure service and repair.”
Despite the excitement – I think understandable – around the announcement, Self-service repair is presented as a niche offer. Indeed, the company does not recommend it to most users. Instead, it’s something that exists as an option for those with some experience repairing modern consumer electronics. The truth is, as devices have gotten thinner, ease of repair has been sacrificed.
This is precisely why companies like FairPhone have been able to make a name for themselves by putting repairability first. Samsung and Google have also made similar announcements recently, but the truth is that without the right tools, even cracking open a phone without doing damage is difficult. As such, Apple offers tools for both sale and rental. For example, a heat tool is needed to soften the glue and open the phone.
Buying it outright will cost hundreds of dollars – something that’s extremely useless if you’re not, say, opening a phone repair shop or doing volume repairs. In that case, you can simply rent the device for $49 for seven days and send it back to Apple. The company says it sells parts and tools at the same rate it charges third-party stores, so if you play your cards right, you can save some cash here.
Picture credits: Apple
Prices vary quite a bit, depending on things like device model and whether you’re swapping parts. For example,
12/13 battery models: $69 ($24.15 credit potential when replaced part is returned)
Battery SE: $49 ($24.01 credit potential)
Show models 12/13: 225.96 – 309.96 depending on model (33.60 potential credit)
Show SE: 128.44 (credit potential of 30.40)
In addition to manuals to guide you through the repair process, the company will help you determine what parts are needed. After payment, Apple will send you a box with the parts and a return label to return the old broken components for a discount on the total cost.
The new manuals will be available to everyone, whether or not you buy Apple’s tools and parts (iFixit, for example, sells some), though the company naturally recommends that you use proprietary products. As to why its tools are more expensive than third-party ones, the company writes, “Our tools are designed for professional repairers, to deliver the same performance as the factory tools used to manufacture Apple products. They are also designed to be shared between multiple product models.For example, using product-specific interchangeable repair trays, the Display Press and Battery Press are compatible with all iPhone devices released within the last 7 years.
Opening and repairing a device won’t automatically void its warranty (whether you’re using Apple’s tools or not), but whether you managed to damage the phone in the process is a different story. .
Picture credits: Apple
Basically, it’s a sort of “proceed with caution” agreement.
For Apple, there’s a definite sustainability angle here. Anything that potentially extends the life of a device reduces the number of products that end up in landfills. Beyond that, the timing of these offers comes as state and state lawmakers consider new right to repair legislation — a timing that is certainly no coincidence.
Repair for M1 Macs will arrive at some point later this year. On the telephone side, Apple plans to extend the offer to more territories, starting with European customers.