Apple delivered an early Christmas present to the environmentally conscious and DIY enthusiasts on Wednesday: it announced it would soon begin selling parts, tools, and manuals for People who do their own iPhone repairs.
It was a huge win for the Right to Repair movement, which has demanded that technology manufacturers provide the necessary components and manuals so customers can repair their own smartphones, tablets and computers.
Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others have long battled legislative proposals that would make such repair resources publicly available. But the movement gained momentum this summer when the Federal Trade Commission announced that it would Run up law enforcement against tech companies that made it difficult to fix their devices.
For decades the idea was that people maintain their own consumer electronics was impractical. Genuine parts were hard to come by, and repairs could be expensive and intimidating. When phones and computers broke down, buying new equipment was the easiest option.
Now, Apple’s self-healing program is a sign that the tech industry may finally warm up to making maintenance part of the experience of owning a device.
“It’s a win for garages, it’s a win for consumers, and it’s a win for the planet,” said Nathan Proctor, director of the US Public Interest Research Group, a consumer organization that advocates the “right to repair.” Legislation.
Here’s what this means for you.
What does the Apple program mean that I can do with my broken iPhone?
Beginning early next year, Apple said people can use an online store to order parts and tools to repair its newer products, including the iPhone 12 and 13 and newer Mac computers. Customers who send their defective part to Apple will receive credit towards the purchase of a new part.
The program focuses on the most common items that need to be repaired, such as screens, batteries, and cameras, before expanding to other types of components.
The company hasn’t released a list of the cost of parts yet, but said prices to consumers would be the same as authorized repairers pay. Currently, an iPhone 12 replacement screen at an authorized store costs about $ 234 after a broken screen is traded in. At an Apple store, an out-of-warranty iPhone 12 screen repair costs about $ 280.
“Providing better access to genuine Apple parts gives our customers even more choice when a repair is needed,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a statement.
Why is that a big deal?
In short, you have more options to fix an iPhone, which can lower your costs.
It used to be easiest to go to an Apple Store to get an iPhone repaired. But just as taking your car to a dealer for service isn’t the cheapest option, going to an Apple Store isn’t the cheapest option either.
The alternative was to take your iPhone to a third party for repair, possibly at a more competitive price. When I took a broken iPhone XS screen to an Apple Store this year, I was quoted $ 280 to repair it compared to $ 180 from an independent retail outlet.
Apple has made iPhone repairs increasingly difficult for third-party vendors, said Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, a parts company that publishes instructions for consumers to repair their electronics.
Even when using original parts, some repairs could only be authenticated using Apple’s software tools that were not available to the public. Apple made these software tools available only to its employees and authorized repair facilities who have signed and agreed to source parts exclusively from the company. These authorized businesses were more likely to charge higher prices than unauthorized ones.
Apple’s new program opens further doors. You can try repairing your device yourself to save money. Or, you can buy the parts from Apple and take them to someone else to do the repair.
All of these can encourage people to care for and keep their products longer, much like servicing a car regularly. This has an impact on reducing technology waste and protecting the environment.
What if I don’t have an Apple product?
Apple has historically been one of the vocal opponents of the “right to repair” movement. The company cited security risks – such as the hijacking of customer data during an unauthorized repair – as the main reason for keeping parts and instructions out of public reach.
This message is therefore important for non-Apple customers. If Apple, one of the world’s most valuable public companies, sets a new standard in repairs, you can expect other tech makers to follow suit – especially if they want to avoid federal government fines.
“This announcement represents a significant step forward in securing our right to repair, and we are proud of Apple for this bold move,” said Mr. Wiens.