Broken screens and aging batteries on iPhones previously required a trip to the Apple Store — or a local repair shop — to fix. But starting in early 2022, iPhone owners in the US who want to try fixing their ailing device can do so with help from Apple itself.
Apple has surprised right-to-repair advocates by announcing a new self-service repair program, which will allow owners of its products to request the official tools, components and manuals needed to repair damaged Apple products themselves.
“Creating greater access to genuine Apple parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Initially, Apple will sell parts and tools to repair iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series smartphones, including commonly needed components like batteries and cameras, from an online storefront. After that, the company plans to offer similar repair resources to people who want to repair their M1-powered Mac computers.
After consumers complete their repairs, they can send their old, used components back to Apple for recycling.
While replacing iPhone screens and swapping batteries may be easier than most people think, the process still isn’t always straightforward. For one thing, getting into the iPhone itself can be tricky – Apple uses adhesives to seal its phones, and repair technicians frequently rely on heating pads or heat guns to soften that glue before they can successfully crack the iPhone. open the device.
For this reason, Apple still warns that “the vast majority” of people should always leave these repairs in the hands of professionals. Even so, the company’s shifting stance on product repairs has proponents feeling cautiously optimistic.
“One of the most visible opponents of access to repair is the reversal of course, and Apple’s decision shows that what repair advocates demanded was still possible,” said Nathan Proctor, director principal of the nonprofit American public interest research group’s Right to Repair campaign. “After years of industry lobbyists telling lawmakers that sharing access to parts, service tools and manuals would pose safety, security and intellectual property risks, Apple’s sudden change indicates that these concerns were exaggerated.”