On Wednesday, Apple announced a new Self Service Repair program, which allows consumers to order official replacement parts for their iPhones and MacBooks. Owners of these devices will no longer have to depend on third-party companies like iFixit for replacements, thanks to the consumer-centric, and environmentally-conscious move.
Unlike PCs, Apple computers are notoriously hard to repair. The company’s policy of disallowing users from performing their own maintenance on iPhones and MacBooks has been a highly contentious issue for consumer rights activists, who’ve campaigned for years to give users the “right to repair.”
According to Apple, the move will start exclusively in the United States, followed by additional regions throughout 2022. The company says that it will initially only offer replacement parts compatible with the iPhone 12 and 13, followed by MacBooks powered by its M1 chip.
For starters, Apple will allow users to order up to 200 replacement parts and tools required to perform repairs once the store goes live, which will stock screens, batteries, and miscellaneous parts at launch. Apple says that anyone who is trading in a device that has been repaired at home will receive store credit to encourage users to recycle their devices instead of discarding them and creating e-waste.
“Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “In the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and training, and now we’re providing an option for those who wish to complete their own repairs.”
The initial phase of the program will focus on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera. The ability for additional repairs will be available later next year.
Apple builds durable products designed to endure the rigors of everyday use. When an Apple product requires repair, it can be serviced by trained technicians using Apple genuine parts at thousands of locations, including Apple (in-store or by mail), AASPs, Independent Repair Providers, and now product owners who are capable of performing repairs themselves.
The right to repair remains a highly contentious issue as it makes its way through state legislatures in the United States, with corporate lobbyists arguing that the right to repair would enable customers to circumvent and otherwise undermine their businesses. Many consumer electronics companies ship with warranties that are immediately voided upon tampering, rendering it risky for customers to attempt their own repairs — effectively forcing customers to purchase costly warranty services.
Apple’s move in this space is the biggest step towards giving options back to the consumer and may precipitate other manufacturers and producers into doing the same thing — hopefully.