If you’re familiar with the right-to-repair movement, you’ll also be familiar with how Apple has long been the enemy with how they try their best to ensure you won’t be able to repair your own Apple device. That is, until late last year when they announced the Apple Self Service Repair program. While there was a lack of details during the launch, we now know more about it as Cupertino has finally made it available.
The Self Service Repair is now available through the Apple Self Service Repair Store. It offers over 200 different parts and tools which you can purchase for the specific problem your iPhone is giving you. The store covers parts for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups as well as the new iPhone SE 2022. You can get everything from display and battery to camera parts as well. These parts are all priced similarly to their Independent Repair Provider Program, and will be cheaper still if you return the faulty part. The iPhone 12 display costs USD269.95 (~RM1,177.66) for example, with USD33.60 off if you give Apple the faulty screen.
If you buy the parts you need but don’t necessarily want to fork out money to buy tools for a single repair job, Apple will also let you rent their tool kits for USD49 (~RM213.76) a week, with shipping being free too. To replace the iPhone 12 screen, this means that you’ll fork out USD285.35 in total, compared to the USD365 Apple charges in store. All the manuals for Self Service Repair jobs are available for free online for you to read and review, following which you can then decide on which parts and tools are necessary for the job. Apple also announced that they plan to introduce their Mac computers with Apple Silicon to the program later this year.
However, while all this seems like a great move from a company that historically hates it when you fix its products yourself, there’s actually a hidden catch. This program from Apple expands on their parts pairing scheme, which only allows for limited, serial number-authorised repairs. It prevents you from harvesting parts from a broken iPhone or using aftermarket parts for instance, instead forcing you to buy only official parts from Apple themselves. You’ll also only be able to fit the spare parts you buy from Apple into the specific iPhone that you registered it for during check out. As iFixit puts it:
“This strategy hamstrings third-party repair with feature loss and scare tactics and could dramatically limit options for recyclers and refurbishers, short-circuiting the circular economy,” – Elizabeth Chamberlain, Director of Sustainability, iFixit
Overall, the Self Service Repair program from Apple seems like a good plan and to a certain extent it really is, but Apple being Apple means that it comes with some restrictions that still end up hurting the end consumer in one way or another. That being said, the program is still only available for US customers for now, with other regions such as Europe in the pipeline later this year.