In a surprising turn, Apple announced a new self-service repair program that will allow individual consumers to perform Do It Yourself (DIY) repairs on Apple products. This means that a previously impossible repair will be possible. Now you can order an iPhone screen directly from Apple and use instructions and tools from Apple (if you want) to install it at your home's comfort.
This is a big change in the policies of Apple but the giant tech company didn't come to the decision out of the goodness of its heart. The announcement follows by months of growing pressure from shareholders and 'Right to Repair' advocates. For many past years, Apple has blocked the customers' access to the genuine parts arguing that improper repairs with unauthorised people will result in safety or performance issues. Instead, it offers a subscription AppleCare+ service that provides consumers with repair service for a lower cost.
The first pressure lever came from the legislation. Lawmakers in the EU and Australia have realised the need to protect our right to repair. More than 27 state senate has introduced the Right to Repair act last year and the act became a law in the New York state in 2021. This is a sign of a promising future in which no manufacturer will be able to lock down their products and restrict access to the repair parts and tools, manuals and repair instructions. This will be especially helpful for low-income people who usually want to manage the amount of money they spend on the devices they need to work.
That's also led to pressure from the Federal Government. In May, the federal consumer protection agency released a report long-awaited report to congress to justify repair restrictions consumers are facing. They examined for and against arguments about those restrictions and concluded that there is no evidence about manufacturers justification about self-repair. Electronic device manufactures say that letting people fix their own devices is dangerous. It will increase the risk of hacking and won't help reduce electronic waste. But the Federal Trade Commission or FTC isn't going to buy them at all.
In July, President Biden signed an executive order to promote competition in the American economy. A part of this document asks the government agencies to make people easier and cheaper to repair items by preventing manufactures from putting limitations for consumers on self-repairs or third-party repairs of their products.
Ultimately a resolution from shareholders fired the last shot on Apple's repair monopoly. Environment advocates asked the company to revise its policy in the favour of independent repair. Apple's initial response to the resolution was not so friendly. The company sends a request to the Securities and Exchange Commission to neglect the proposal. But after about 30 days in a surprising move, Apple announced its new self-repair program that allows customers to purchase genuine parts and tools directly from Apple.
'Self Service Repair is intended for individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices,' the company said in a release. 'For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair.' With the company's program being one of the few of its own kind Apple is taking great steps toward making repairs available for everyone.
In November 2012 Apple announced its Self-Service Repair program. This unprecedented program will allow individuals and smaller repair shops to have access to genuine resources and parts. This is very good news for confident people that don't want to pay expensive costs associated with Apple's own repair.
Now customers can buy parts through Apple's self-service repair online store. After customers sign up, they'll be able to view repair instructions for their devices. Following this, they will be redirected to a dedicated online store to order the parts and tools required.
Once the parts arrive the customer will be able to repair their device at home using the downloaded repair manual. Customers who send back the old parts to Apple for recycling will receive credits for new purchases.
As Apple puts on, the Self-Service Repair is not intended for everyone. It's designed for customers with high technical skills that feel comfortable opening up their device by themselves. It also brings some benefits for small repair shops. With this new self-service program, they will be able to take advantage of the cheaper genuine part to offer a better repair and replacement service.
Apple is starting the newly launched Self-Service Repair program with iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups and soon will expand the coverage to Mac computers using the M1 chipset.
As Apple explained in the press release, in this phase the program will put focus on the most serviced parts such as the iPhone display, battery and camera. Apple didn't mention the exact parts but these are likely new lenses, new screens and new batteries.
Apple's press release is light on details. While did admit the ability of additional repairs will be available in 2022 the company didn't specify which repairs and it said nothing about the repair parts of the M1 Mac.
It's unclear whether it will stretch this program beyond the most recent devices, how much genuine parts will cost customers, and whether it will eventually make parts available for a wider range of repairs.
In the press release, Apple made it clear that the Self-Service repair program will be started at the beginning of 2022. Unfortunately, the initial phase is only for the US. Costumers from other countries including Australian iPhone owners should wait until Apple expand the program to other places throughout the year.
Unfortunately, Apple didn't cite how much repair parts and tools cost under the Self-Service repair program. But certainly, it should be less than repairs in the Apple Stores where screen replacement by Apple cost up to $329 and battery change costs up to $69.
Taking into account these costs and having a look at the online third-party part stores we can guess that a high-quality screen will cost around $250, batteries $60 and cameras about $50. However, we expect that Apple will be able to sell the parts at a lower cost.
Apple has started a program that has many benefits for the environment and global warming. First and foremost, when more genuine parts are available devices can be repaired more easily and thus fewer devices will be thrown away. This help reduce e-waste and energy consumption. Most of the energy is consumed during the manufacturing process of electronic devices. Therefore, one of the ways of saving energy and reducing carbon footprint is using electronic our electronic devices for a longer time.
The company also announced that it will receive and recycle the old parts after repairs. This means the parts won't turn into garbage but materials will be recycled into future devices.
Certainly, sending part between Apple and consumer needs some logistics. But the environmental advantage of Apple's Self-Service Repair program overweights any environmental impact involved.
As the discussion about 'Right to Repair' are becoming viral across the Internet, Apple's new program was a surprise and a welcomed one. Being one of few of its kind, the exact details of Apple's Self-Service Repair program is still unclear. But with this program, Apple started the ball rolling for the right to repair, not just for Apple but for the entire tech world.