Apple will now let you buy parts to repair your iPhone
US-based customers can now buy parts and tools.
Apple says its Self Service Repair program is now live, enabling US-based users to buy parts and tools to repair their own devices. Apple is supporting the iPhone 12, 13, and SE 3 (and now MacBooks) at launch.
The list of parts available currently is small, with the battery, bottom speaker, camera, display, SIM tray, and taptic engine being supported.
The best part is that official repair manuals are available for these repairs. Apple says over the next year, the program will expand to M1 MacBooks, and users in Europe will be included.
There’s a catch, because of course there is
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That all sounds great, so why the gotcha? Well, iFixit has some big worries about how Apple is running the self service repair program. For a start, you “cannot purchase key parts without a serial number or IMEI.” That means no aftermarket parts.
Then Apple also makes you pair that part with the phone you linked during the purchase stages, via its over-the-air configurator software. That limits repairs to devices that Apple is still selling parts for.
You won’t be able to repair any older devices that don’t have parts support from Apple. Even if you had another device to use for donor parts, there’s no way to link the parts to the new device.
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That’s not great, making it so Apple decides when older devices stop functioning. At least Apple has committed to seven years of iPhone part availability, and ten for MacBook batteries.
Apple is also letting you buy, or even rent, the tools you need for self-service repair. For $49, you can rent all the tools you need, all 79 lbs of them which come split between two flight cases. That gives you seven days to do your repair and drop them back at UPS before you’re charged again.
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This feels like the first step towards universal support for right to repair, even with the catch. Let’s hope that Apple allows third-party parts or donor devices in the future.
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