Apple has granted permission for you to fix your iPhone in the privacy of your own home. The company launched a new section on its website, where you can purchase tools and replacement parts. This includes new display screens, batteries, and speakers. Apple even offers customer repair kits, which weigh in at around 79 pounds, that can be rented for $49 per week.
Apple’s new program represents a significant shift. The company’s traditional offerings of repair tools and replacement parts have been limited to the 5,000 Apple-authorized service providers and the 3,000+ independent repair shops with Apple-certified technicians. Apple has been criticized for its right-to-repair policy. This is in addition to the practice of creating hardware that cannot be upgraded or that contains certain components that only Apple can access.
It’s easy to use the new repair program. Apple now offers repair manuals for certain iPhone models, including the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and third-generation iPhone SE. After studying the repair manual, you can visit the Self Service Restore. This allows you to search more than 200 parts depending on your iPhone model. You can also find tools on the site, such as a torque driver for $99 and a press for display screens for $216.
Renting a custom-made kit can be a great option if you don’t want an expensive tool you have to keep forever. These kits come in one or two boxes and are very heavy. Apple suggests several methods to lift them. Apple will ship the items you order to your home once you have decided what you need. You can send your damaged parts back to Apple for recycling or a credit in the Apple Store.
Apple now allows customers to buy replacement parts directly for their iPhones.
The program is currently only available for iPhones in the US. The store will be expanding to include Mac computers later in the year and will also be available in other countries.
Apple’s long-standing process of getting devices repaired was expensive and frustrating. The company’s new store is a welcome development. It’s unclear, however, if Apple is making every effort to make repairs easier for its devices, particularly since it is limited to a small number of iPhone models. In fact, in recent years, many states have introduced right-to-repair legislation, which Apple has opposed. In California, convinced lawmakers that customers could set off a fire by accidentally damaging the lithium-ion battery in iPhones while trying to repair them. Apple also suggested that the security of its devices might be compromised through unauthorized repairs.
Despite Apple’s best efforts, this right-to-repair movement won support at the White House. President Joe Biden signed an Executive order in July that directed the Federal Trade Commission, among other things, to establish new right-to-repair regulations. The agency declared later that it would increase enforcement against illegal repair restrictions, following an investigation that documented different strategies technology manufacturers used to make products more difficult to repair. Apple’s decision was made in November, the same date as an important deadline in relation to an activist Apple shareholder filed in September. This connection was first reported by The Verge.
Green Century — the sustainability-focused mutual fund that led that effort — has since rescinded its resolution, which would have pushed Apple to study the environmental impact of its strict repair policies.
It was a significant step forward, Annalisa Tarizzo (a shareholder advocate at Green Century) told Recode in November. Because we believe this is a very important topic and that there are real risks for investors, we hope to continue engaging with companies we invest in on the subject.
Terrazzo said that Apple might have been affected by new guidance from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The agency reversed a Trump-era rule that made it easier to disqualify socially conscious shareholder resolutions. This was two weeks before Apple’s announcement. Green Century had until Wednesday to present its proposal to SEC. Apple requested that the agency block it.
Apple’s concessions made to right-to-repair advocates seem to be an attempt at avoiding new regulations regarding its repair program. However, the company’s efforts to move forward are not without limitations. The company isn’t encouraging everyone to play with their iPhones or MacBooks. Apple’s press release announcing Self Service Repair stated that the program was for individuals with the skills and experience to repair electronic devices. The vast majority of customers should go to an authorized repair shop. Customers who choose to repair their own devices under the new program, however, will need to purchase parts from Apple. Apple also determines the cost of these components.
In a November blog post, Elizabeth Chamberlain, director of sustainability at iFixit, stated that this is not the open-source repair revolution we have fought for through our fight for the right to repair. There is no official way for you to avoid receiving warning messages or losing features when replacing a battery or camera, or display. Apple has less incentive to assist those who use third-party parts or those that have been salvaged from other iPhones. Apple has the ability to control the parts market and decide when devices become obsolete.
Apple isn’t the only one to adjust its strategy in order to avoid potential legal or regulatory action. Apple proposed a settlement with a class action lawsuit representing software developers last year. It would allow companies to tell iPhone and iPad owners about other ways to purchase subscriptions beyond the App Store ecosystem. The company also modified its rules for in-app purchases during a dispute with Epic Games. Apple did not change its policy of charging large fees to third-party apps within the Apple ecosystem. Apple’s own apps are free.
Apple appears to be following a similar approach to its new repair program. The company’s new repair program has many caveats. However, it is a huge win for customers who don’t want to send their device to Apple or search for an authorized repair shop.