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Apple's Self-Service Repair Program Goes Live in the US

Woman repairing an iPhone.
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has launched its Self Service Repair program in the United States, publishing service manuals online for Macs, iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches and more, and the company is selling more than 200 parts for the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone SE.

An online store (with a distinctly non-Apple aesthetic) has repair manuals for products as recent as 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, but parts are limited to some of the latest iPhones for now. Parts and tools for Macs with Apple Silicon are set to launch "later this year."

Parts range in price depending on the model, and you can get a credit for returning broken parts. For instance, an iPhone 12 battery bundle with a battery, screws and display adhesive costs $70.99, but you can get $24.15 back for returning used parts to Apple.

For those without the tools, Apple will rent would-be repairers a toolkit for $49 for a week, though Apple has previously warned that those who are uncomfortable doing their own repairs should still consult an Apple Store or local authorized repair shop.

"For the vast majority of customers who do not have experience repairing electronic devices, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair," Apple wrote in its blog post announcing the launch.

While Apple launching this program and publishing repair manuals is arguably a win for the Right to Repair movement, some critics suggest that it doesn't go far enough. Elizabeth Chamberlain, director of sustainability at iFixit, wrote a piece noting that Apple is still pairing parts to devices using a serial number or IMEI, and that aftermarket parts may throw up warnings.

"Requiring parts pairing essentially puts an expiration date on iPhones," Chamberlain wrote. "When a refurbisher gets a functioning phone with no parts support, there will be no way for them to fully restore a product that needs a display replacement—even if they have an original Apple display from another phone."

Other companies have taken to partnering with companies like iFixit to sell extra parts. Valve is doing so with its Steam Deck, for example, and Google also made a commitment. 

In October, Microsoft vowed to investigate making its devices easier to repair following pressure from activist investors. Apple has had similar shareholder resolutions to make devices easier to repair and more sustainable, as have other companies like tractor manufacturer Deere & Co.  

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE

  • InvalidError
    If Apple's new repair program is anything like its previous repair program, there will be so many strings attached that most companies and people will be better off going through non-official channels where possible.

    In the previous instalment, participating repair stores had to commit to selling a minimum volume of new Apple products to qualify, had to agree to surprise audits for unauthorized parts that got you kicked out of the program and face hefty penalties if you equipped and stocked yourself to do more repairs than what Apple allows, had to forward your customers' details to Apple to get parts shipped as-needed instead of being able to order in bulk to have the parts on-hands for quick turn-around, etc. Basically, shops that wanted to opt in had to forfeit their ability do do repairs beyond simple parts-swapping of Apple-sanctioned components along with their customers' privacy.
    Reply
  • pjmelect
    I will believe it when I see it, also a lot of vital parts will not be supplied.
    Reply
  • adam223
    This is nothing new imo.. the name is just for show. All this has been on YouTube for years now, and despite the fact that tutorials are out there, people still go for repair at Apple stores and local repair shops in masses.
    Reply