Apple has historically trended towards making its hardware more challenging to repair, which is in part a byproduct of making everything thinner and lighter. However, the use of special screws and the recently changed policy that prevented screen replacements from non-authorized repair shops all felt like it went a step further.
That makes the company's recent announcement (opens in new tab) from Apple all the more surprising. The company is rolling out a new Self Service Repair program allowing consumers to order the parts, tools and manuals to repair Apple devices, starting with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.
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The program will open up next year in the U.S. first with a focus on the most common repairs for iPhones including the display, battery and camera. New countries and repair options will open up later in the year, but Apple hasn't offered any additional specifics on either yet.
The first step for a consumer considering Self Service Repair is to take a look at the Repair Manual to see if it is something they would be comfortable undertaking. From there, they can place an order for the necessary parts and tools using the new Apple Self Service Repair Online Store. Used parts will be returnable for a credit towards the purchase.
Now while anyone can technically make use of the Self Service Repair, Apple's hardware is notoriously difficult to fix and not something that everyone will be willing or able to do themselves. Apple hasn't released pricing information yet, but for most people, it will probably still make more sense to visit an Apple Store or Apple-authorized repair provider. Apple is quick to point out that it has doubled the number of service locations in the last three years with over 2,800 Independent Repair Providers, meaning you don't need an Apple Store nearby.
What this should open up is a better option for non-authorized repair shops to order the actual official parts from Apple or alternatively for consumers to order the parts and bring them to non-authorized repair shops to have the work done.
Apple closes the announcement by saying, "By designing products for durability, longevity, and increased reparability, customers enjoy a long-lasting product that holds its value for years." This new program puts the tools and parts for increased reparability in the hands of consumers, but hopefully, we also see the hardware itself become easy to repair, which is a considerably greater challenge.