Apple lightens its stance on third-party iPhone repairs in Europe

9 Jul 2020325 Views

Image: © Irina/Stock.adobe.com

To qualify for Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program, which just launched in 32 European countries, businesses must meet guidelines and have an Apple-certified technician who can perform repairs.

On Wednesday (8 July), Apple announced that it was expanding its independent repair programme to 32 European countries, allowing businesses to purchase genuine Apple parts to repair iPhones without having to become an Apple Authorised Service Provider (AASP).

The Independent Repair Provider Program launched in the US last autumn, with 140 independent repair companies joining and more than 700 new US locations now available to customers. The programme is currently taking applications from smartphone repair businesses in Europe and Canada.

Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, said: “We are thrilled to expand our independent repair programme to more locations across the US and to businesses across Europe and Canada.

“When a customer needs a repair, we want them to have a range of options that not only suits their needs but also guarantees safety and quality so their iPhone can be used for as long as possible.”

Last year, Apple made a major expansion of the programme in the US by adding every Best Buy store in the country to its network, tripling the number of US AASP locations compared to three years ago.

Expanding the programme to Europe

Ireland is among the 32 European countries that the programme has been extended to, as well as the UK, France and Germany.

While announcing the expansion to Europe, Apple highlighted that there is no cost to join and that training is free for new businesses. Any business that applies to the programme needs to have an Apple-certified technician who can perform repairs in order to qualify.

Support Silicon Republic

Participating companies tmust keep Apple’s repair tools, training, service guides and diagnostics confidential, and must maintain a commercial walk-in service in an easily accessible location.

Apple said that it has been working to ensure health and safety across its repair options and partners during Covid-19 by offering additional options for mail-in repair for customers and supporting its existing network in meeting health and safety guidelines.

Right-to-repair initiatives

The announcement comes as more governments consider introducing right-to-repair legislation. The Register reported that there were 20 different right-to-repair bills under consideration in state legislatures in the US when Apple agreed to let third parties repair its devices.

At the time, Apple had a record of lobbying against right-to-repair bills, with the company even suing a Norwegian repair shop owner for using aftermarket iPhone parts.

The company also faced criticism after the initial introduction of the Independent Repair Provider Program in August 2019, as it only allowed for “most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs”, meaning that repair shops could mend broken screens and faulty batteries but not engage in more labour-intensive repairs such as fixing water damage or motherboards.

Canada introduced its first right-to-repair bill in 2019, with the goal of giving consumers the access and resources needed to fix and modify their own devices, appliances and vehicles. The bill aimed to reduce environmental harm and help consumers save money.

While Canada’s bill ultimately failed, the Ontario provincial parliament member behind the bill, Michael Coteau, remains confident that the bill will eventually be introduced at a federal level.

Meanwhile, the European Commission’s new Ecodesign Directive which includes right-to-repair language, is set to go into effect on 1 March 2021. This directive aims to extend product life cycles and includes measures to ensure that TVs, refrigerators and other appliances are repairable and recyclable.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com