Apple today announced Self Service Repair, a programme that will allow you to fix your broken iPhone or Mac computer yourself.
Starting next year, you’ll be able to order replacement parts and tools directly from Apple to complete your own repairs at home. The company will also offer Repair Manuals to guide you through the process.
Apple said the programme will be available first on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineup, focusing on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the display, the battery and the cameras. The programme will then include Macs with M1 chips. The program will also launch in the U.S. first, with other regions to follow later in the year.
“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.
Apple will sell more than 200 individual parts and tools when the program becomes available next year.
“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,” added Williams.
Apple, however, stresses that the program is intended for those with knowledge or experience in repairing electronic devices. If you’re not confident that you can do it yourself, it might be safer to just have your device serviced by Apple or any authorized repair outlet. In case you’re unsure, you can review the Repair Manuals to get an idea of the steps involved in the repair process.
The company also said that you can receive credit toward your purchases when you return used parts from your repair.
The announcement of Self Service Repair comes as a surprise to many, given how Apple has long been firm on its stringent repair policies. The company, for years, has been accused of promoting anti-repair practices by customers and technicians alike. It previously restricted independent repair outlets from gaining access to official parts and manuals.
The iPhone is also difficult to repair due to Apple using proprietary components in its design by which only the company itself or its authorised technicians can open. A teardown of the iPhone 13, for instance, recently revealed that replacing the display breaks the Face ID feature, although this has seemingly been rectified by Apple in the iOS 15.2 beta software update.
This is why a lot of people aren’t convinced that Apple announced this new program out of goodwill, with signs suggesting that this sudden change of heart was instead brought on by pressure from regulators. The Verge reports that environmental advocates filed a shareholder resolution in September asking the company to reconsider its stance on repairs. Today is supposedly the deadline for Apple to act on the resolution. If it fails to do so, the advocates will reportedly bring the issue to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
It's also worth noting that there are still plenty of details regarding the Self Service Repair program still unknown. How much will parts sell for? Will users be able to use all features of their devices after repair? How does this affect Apple Care? Apple will likely answer these questions and share more details about the program at a later date.