Apple has announced a Self Service Repair initiative today that will allow users to fix some of their own devices. It's a landmark victory for the right to repair. The service, set to debut next year, will first begin by allowing users to repair smartphones from its iPhone 12 and 13 lineup, with Mac computers featuring M1 chips soon to follow. This service signals a massive shift from Apple, a company resistant to having its products repaired outside of one of its stores or authorized repair shops.
The Self Service Repair will chiefly focus on repairing batteries, displays, and camera issues at first. Apple will introduce more complex repairs to the service later on in 2022. The store offers over 200 individual parts and tools, most of which are used to repair Apple smartphones.
You'll have to refer to Apple’s Repair Manual before contacting the company for an order of "genuine parts and tools" from its Self Service Repair Online Store. Then you ship the used parts to Apple, which will then give you a credit toward your purchase. The service will also be available for Apple products no longer under warranty.
Apple details that its new service is meant for "individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices," and advises most of its customers to continue using professional repair services.
According to Apple, the Independent Repair Provider program has over 2,800 Independent Repair Providers and more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers.
This news comes as the Right to Repair movement continues to pressure companies that make hardware, appliances and other goods to make it easier to repair and continue using them for longer. In theory, it also means less e-waste, as easy repairs mean people will keep their electronics longer.
In October, Microsoft agreed to study and facilitate independent repair of its devices, including Surface and Xbox, which was considered a big win. Apple getting on board with concrete answer is an even bigger win. Some laptop manufacturers, like Dell, HP and Lenovo, already offer manuals on their websites, though parts and tools are harder to come by. The startup Framework's Laptop is built around this kind of replacement, though we're still waiting to see new generation parts released.
Both individual U.S. states and the federal government have been considering different implementations of Right to Repair legislation, which may still come. But for now, Apple allowing for user repairs is a big deal for those who are comfortable doing it themselves.