Apple users will soon be able to repair their own iPhones and Macs

18 Nov 2021

Image: Apple

An online store will sell Apple parts to users who want to repair the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 as well as M1-powered Macs.

Apple users will soon be able to fix their own iPhones and Macs with the announcement of a self-service repair option yesterday (17 November).

The tech giant, which is known to keep tight control over parts for its devices, will begin to roll out the do-it-yourself repair option in early 2022, first in the US and then in other countries.

Users of the iPhone 12 and the recently released iPhone 13 smartphones will be the first to have access to the service, which Apple is calling Self Service Repair. This will be followed by users of Mac computers powered by the M1 chip.

Initially focusing on commonly faced issues such as repair of the iPhone display, battery and camera, the service will be extended to other parts and devices as the roll-out continues next year.

“Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” said COO Jeff Williams. “In the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to Apple genuine parts, tools and training.”

Apple currently has more than 5,000 authorised service providers and 2,800 independent repair providers who have access to these parts, tools and manuals. The new self-service repair programme is an extension of the independent repair programme launched in 2019.

Users who wish to perform their own repairs can order the required parts on a new online store, which will initially have more than 200 parts and tools for common iPhone repairs. Those who return the used part to Apple will receive store credit towards their purchase.

However, Apple cautioned that only users with technical experience, such as individual technicians with knowledge of electronic devices, should attempt to use the self-service repair option.

“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,” Apple said in a statement.

‘Right to repair’

California-based e-commerce company iFixit, which sells repair parts and publishes DIY guides for gadget users, said the news marks a big win for repair advocates who believe everyone should have the right to fix their own devices.

“Apple has found unexpected interest in letting people fix the things they own,” the company said. “Looks like they finally realised what we’ve known all along: everyone’s enough of a genius to fix an iPhone.”

However, iFixit said it would need to wait until January to test the self-service repair option and confirm whether certain challenges currently faced while repairing Apple devices remain.

“A major catch with the existing IRP [incident report platform] software is that it requires all parts come from Apple’s parts store. You can’t swap the screens between two iPhones and then calibrate them with their service software,” iFixit said.

“It’s an issue for recyclers, refurbishers and anyone else accustomed to harvesting parts to perform repairs. Still, this announcement marks significant progress toward securing our right to repair, and we’re proud of Apple for making this bold move.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic