In a totally unexpected move, Apple has announced a program called Self Service Repair. It’ll enable you – yes, individuals – to buy official Apple parts, tools and access manuals to repair your own gadgets.
The move has to be seen as a victory for the Right to Repair movement and probably shows the direction in which other manufacturers will have to move too. Of course, we don’t know how much the parts will be, and you’d have to assume replacing something like a screen will be an expensive and difficult process. Presumably, it will be cheaper than taking it into the Apple Store.
The program will cover iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 to start with and will be followed in due course by 2020 and 2021 Macs with M1 chips. It’ll initially be available in early 2022 in the US and then other countries subsequently.
Consumers will initially be able to fix only the “most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera” says Apple, with more repair options to follow.
Apple says there are currently more than 5,000 Apple Authorised Service Providers (AASPs) and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers (a network which Apple is spinning up) who also have access to these same parts, tools, and manuals. Apple already has the infrastructure for these technicians to order parts and tools, so presumably extending that to consumers is a more achievable move than it would be for many rivals.
Apple says that customers will be asked to check out the manual first to ensure they are confident doing a repair before placing an order for the Apple genuine parts and tools using the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store. Following the repair, customers can return used parts for recycling and receive credit. Apple states that “a professional repair provider with certified technicians” is still the best way to fix your device.