It turns out that the biggest Apple announcement this year wasn’t the iPhone 13 – or even the new supercharged MacBook Pro line-up. It was that in the not too distant future, Apple is deigning to let you repair your own iPhone – if you dare.
That’s right – instead of having to take a phone with a cracked screen or a flat battery to an expensive “Apple Authorised Service Provider”, or the dodgy kiosk in the market, if you’ve got the technical skills, Apple will allow you to get your hands on the same parts, tools and instruction manuals as the professionals, for you to do it yourself.
So what does it all mean? And why has Apple done it? Read on to find out.
What’s happening with Self Benefit Repair? The “Self-Service Repair” program will at first kick off with back for the iPhones 12 and iPhone 13 arrangement, and will let us purchase the same devices and parts that Apple employments to settle a few of the foremost common issues iPhones experience, such as broken shows, batteries and cameras.
The new store will apparently feature over 200 of the most common tools and parts used to fix iPhones.
Apple also says that the plan is to further expand the programme “later next year” to cover other common repairs – and to expand to cover other Apple products, such as M1-powered MacBooks.
This isn’t to say that fixing your phone will be easy. You’ll still need to be technically skilled, and Apple still recommends using the traditional repair service for non-expert users.
And finally, the self-service programme will only initially be available in the US – Apple says that it plans to expand it further. 2022 is when we’ll start seeing it appear in other regions.
Why is self-service repair such a surprising announcement?
The announcement of the self-service repair programme is so surprising because it seems to run counter to all of Apple’s behavior up until this point.
For years, the company has received criticism from people who like to tinker with their gadgets that Apple devices are locked down and made difficult to repair. These criticisms are not without merit.
Successive generations of devices have become more difficult to repair because Apple has opted to build more of its devices as fully integrated lumps of silicon, metal and plastic, instead of optimising them to allow the removal of individual components.
Incidentally, the most recent MacBook Pros are slightly more repairable, but we still think they’re well behind the curve.
And it isn’t just a matter of design. Apple has also vigorously lobbied governments around the world against passing laws that might require them to make the devices easier to repair. According to one Bloomberg report from earlier this year, Apple has made its way around a couple of dozen American states, urging legislators not to pass repair-friendly laws.
Instead, the company has insisted that repairs be carried out by authorised dealers, who pay money to Apple for official parts and instructional guides for professionals carrying out the repairs. Apple’s argument was that unauthorised repairs can result in broken or dangerous devices, but these restrictions also mean that it is harder and more expensive to get an Apple device repaired.
One particularly notorious example of Apple’s control-freakery is the infamous “Error 53” error which afflicted iPhones with fingerprint sensors. If you cracked your screen and got it replaced by a non-authorised Apple service provider, your TouchID would stop working.