With Apple’s approval, you may now repair your iPhone from the comfort of your own home.
The firm introduced a new area of its website on Wednesday where you can purchase tools and replacement components, such as new display screens, batteries, and speakers.
The online shop seems to be simple to use, and Apple is even giving clients repair kits weighing roughly 79 pounds that can be rented for $49 per week.
This new initiative represents a significant departure for Apple. Previously, the business exclusively provided repair equipment and replacement parts to its 5,000 Apple-authorized service providers and another 3,000-plus independent repair shops with Apple-certified specialists.
For this policy, as well as its practice of designing hardware that cannot be easily upgraded or incorporating certain components that only Apple has access to, Apple has long faced criticism from right-to-repair advocates, who want manufacturers to give customers the ability to repair their own devices.
The new repair procedure seems to be straightforward. Apple has released repair manuals for certain product lines, including the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and third-generation iPhone SE.
After studying the repair instructions for your specific phone, you may visit the company’s Self-Service Repair Store, where you can search among over 200 components depending on the iPhone model you possess. The website also sells instruments to help you finish your repairs, such as a $99 torque driver and a $216 display screen press.
If you don’t want to purchase a costly tool that you’ll have to keep for the rest of your life, you may rent a personalized kit that contains all the tools you’ll need. These kits, which arrive in one or two boxes, are incredibly hefty.
Therefore, Apple suggests many tactics, including “Think before you lift” and “Take your time.” Apple will mail all of the items you’ve purchased to your house after you’ve determined what you need.
When you’re through with the repair, you may even recycle some of your old components in return for an Apple store credit.
The program is currently restricted to iPhones and is only accessible in the United States. However, later this year, the shop will offer select Mac machines and will be accessible in additional nations, beginning in Europe.
Getting Apple gadgets serviced has always been a costly and inconvenient procedure, so the company’s new shop is surely a step in the right direction. At the same time, it’s unclear if Apple is doing all possible to make it easy to fix its goods, particularly given that the program is currently confined to a few iPhone models.
After all, in recent years, dozens of states have passed right-to-repair legislation, which Apple has opposed.
For example, in 2019, the business successfully persuaded California authorities that consumers risk starting a fire if they mistakenly damage the lithium-ion batteries in iPhones while attempting to fix them. Non-authorized repairs, according to Apple, may jeopardize the security and privacy of its devices.
Despite Apple’s best efforts, the right-to-repair campaign has lately gained White House backing. President Joe Biden issued an executive order in July directing the Federal Trade Commission, among other things, to develop new right-to-repair laws.
Later that same month, the government also announced that it would increase enforcement against “illegal” repair limits after an investigation that revealed several tactics used by technology manufacturers to make goods more difficult to repair.
The Verge first uncovered the link between Apple’s decision and a critical date tied to a right-to-repair resolution submitted by activist Apple shareholders back in September.
Green Century, the sustainability-focused mutual fund that spearheaded the movement, has already withdrawn its resolution, which would have required Apple to research the environmental effects of its stringent repair procedures.
“We believed that was a significant enough step forward,” Annalisa Tarizzo, a Green Century shareholder advocate, told Recode in November. “We aim to continue engaging firms in which we invest on this subject because we believe it is very important and poses genuine dangers to investors.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) new instructions may have affected Apple’s timing, Tarizzo suggested. The agency reversed a Trump-era regulation that made it simpler for firms to reject socially aware shareholder motions two weeks before Apple’s statement.
Green Century also had until Wednesday to defend its plan to the SEC, which Apple had asked the agency to stop.
As a result, Apple’s concessions to certain right-to-repair campaigners seem to be an effort to foresee potential rules with its repair program. However, the company’s progress has certain restrictions. It’s not exactly enticing people to go snooping around on their iPhones and MacBooks.
Apple said in a news statement launching the self-service repair program that it is meant “for individual technicians with the skills and experience to repair electrical devices,” and that the “vast majority of consumers” should contact an authorized repair shop.
Meanwhile, users who want to fix their iPhones under the new scheme will still have to purchase parts directly from Apple, which also controls the pricing of those components.
“This isn’t the open-source repair revolution we’ve sought via our struggle for the freedom to repair,” iFixit’s director of sustainability, Elizabeth Chamberlain, stated in a November blog post. “With an ‘official’ means to prevent warning messages and feature loss when replacing a battery, camera, or display, Apple has less motivation to assist customers who use third-party components, or even those salvaged from older iPhones.” Apple may select when gadgets become outdated by controlling the component marketplace.
This isn’t the first time Apple has changed its tactics to avoid possible laws or legal action. Apple said last summer in a proposed settlement with a class-action lawsuit representing software developers that it would allow firms to inform iPhone and iPad customers about options to pay for products such as subscriptions outside of the App Store environment.
In September, the company also changed its regulations for in-app purchases while being embroiled in a legal battle with Epic Games.
Apple isn’t changing its policy of charging big fees to third-party apps that run inside its ecosystem, while its apps are free, because of either of these app-related updates.
Apple seems to be following a similar strategy with its new repair mechanism. Even though the company’s new program has some conditions, the move is a huge gain for users who don’t want to ship their devices to Apple or find an approved repair shop.