In a surprising turn of events, Apple has opened up to allow anyone to repair and service a handful of their products. The newly launched program has been named “Self Service Repair”, where Apple will offer original parts, manuals and tools directly to those of you who are comfortable performing repairs by yourself.
According to Apple, the repair program contains over 200 different parts and will be launched in the US in early 2022, before being rolled out in more countries.
For those deft at repairs, the iPhone 12 and 13 are the models included in the program at launch. Later on, Apple has confirmed that all Macs with the M1 chip will be able to be repaired without having to take them to an Apple Authorized Service Provider. Now during the introduction, the repair program will let you replace essentials, like the battery, screen and camera on iPhones. The plan, however, is for the list of permitted repairs to expand over time.
If you have an iPhone or Mac that needs to be repaired, you will be able to log in to a separate online store to order the parts you think you will need. You should also be able to return old, used parts to Apple to get some sort of discount for having recycled them.
Apple emphasizes that although the repair program is open to everyone, they recommend that it’s only used by people with some experience. The company still believes that most people should consult a licensed service provider if something breaks or needs to be replaced.
The EU is currently working on making it a right to repair your own electronics, trying to reverse the trend where products are increasingly difficult to disassemble. The EU refers in particular to the environmental benefits that easier access to repair will have. It is thus hardly a coincidence that Apple is creating a repair program now, having previously cracked down on independent workshops that have offered repairs of Apple products. They have also made it increasingly difficult to use unofficial parts.
Switching to an unofficial screen would, among other things, cause the FaceID sensor to stop working – even though it is not connected to the screen – and the use of an unoriginal battery, for example, makes access to battery health information unavailable.
In the past, replacing Touch ID sensors outside of licensed service providers has caused Apple customers trouble by sending their phones in an endless boot loop thus rendering them unusable. Apple has often referred to their advanced built-in security features and the need to protect users from risks but has repeatedly had to apologize and find other ways to secure the devices after causing headlines and creating outrage.