Apple will open its repair programs up more, very soon

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2023

The White House and Apple have both said that iPhone, Mac, and iPad repair part availability and documentation will widen, but as of yet, there are few details beyond what Apple already does.

Apple repair program
Apple repair program



The news comes courtesy of the US National Economic Council Director, Lael Brainard, in prepared remarks for a White House event on Tuesday night. Citing previous legislation in California and other states, Brainard said "whether you are in California, Maine or Michigan, Apple will make the parts, tools, and documentation needed to repair your Apple products available to you at reasonable prices, as outlined in the California law."

And, Apple Vice President Brian Naumann made a statement about what Apple will do, minus any specifics.

"We intend to honor California's new repair provisions across the United States," Naumann said. "Apple also believes that consumers and businesses would benefit from a national law that balances repairability with product integrity, usability and physical safety."

It's not yet clear what this all means. Apple's existing program already does this for a significant slice of the existing product line, and it's not clear how far the expansion will go.

Beyond Apple service centers, there are two aspects to the program, one geared toward independent repair shops and the other for self-repair.

Apple first announced the Self Service Repair program in November 2021, surprising regular consumers, repair advocates, and the broader tech industry alike. The program actually launched on April 27, 2022.

Through the repair portal, users can order parts for a number of iPhone models to carry out standard repairs like battery swaps, speaker replacements, and display fixes. The portal also offers tool kits that are available to purchase or rent for a specific period of time.

Along with the tools and parts, Apple also made available a plethora of different repair manuals and technical documentation for use at home.

Apple expanded parts and manual access to third-party repair shops in 2019. There were and are notable limitations on that expansion, however.

Home-based businesses are not approved, Apple maintains control of all trademarks, and applications can be rejected for any reason. Apple also requires that business documentation be provided upon application and reserves the right to inspect those documents at any time.

Both programs are limited to full assembly swaps, like replacing an entire motherboard versus component-level repair. At present, it isn't clear what Apple will charge for the new parts, or the larger and more expensive equipment that Apple says is needed for repairs.

Update October 24, 6:40 PM ET: Updated with a quote from Apple, and clarified that details still remain sparse on what the actual execution will be.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 2
    If they have to comply with California it makes sense that they will be meeting the same standard across the US and elsewhere.
  • Reply 2 of 2
    As someone who has fixed their devices over the past 9 years, I'm more interested in them dialing back the ever-increasing list of software locks that arise when hardware is replaced. 

    Starting with the iPhone 5s, when the home button is replaced on any device, TouchID functionality is forever lost. When FaceID came out, any front facing camera, proximity sensor, or ear speaker make FaceID go away forever. From the iPhone Xr & newer, replacing the battery gives an "unknown part" message that makes it sound like there is a problem, and battery health is lost. On the iPhone 11 and newer, any screen that is replaced gives this message and True Tone is lost. On iPad Pros with the M1 chip & newer, if you replace the screen, the pencil won't draw straight anymore, and will have squiggles (which is ridiculous because apple doesn't even offer repairs on iPad screens, they just replace the unit). On iPhone 14, if you replace the flashlight, any picture taken with the flash on won't save. 

    ALL of this is because Apple, at its core, doesn't want anyone getting 3rd party repairs. All of these issues arise even with OEM original parts. They aren't a "calibration" issue, but are because each device and each part has its own serial number, and if those serial numbers don't match up, the device knows and then is made to act in this way. The worst part is, Apple doesn't offer this special software to be allowed to rewrite the serial numbers to repair shops unless the shops become an "Apple Authorized Repair Shop", meaning that the shop is only allowed to work on Apple devices and nothing else, which is a huge revenue hit. Since Apple has allowed Self-Service repairs, if your repair is allowed by Apple in their system, you can contact Apple Support remotely and then they can change the serials for you over the air. It's diabolical, truly, and I wish more people and lawmakers were aware and talking about it. Apple offering manuals and repair parts to people is just an act so that they don't get forced into doing something "worse" than they want. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
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