Apple is expanding its independent repair program to include Macs, giving MacBook owners the option to use third-party repair shops for out-of-warranty laptop fixes.
The program gives parts, resources and training guides to independent repair shops so customers have more options when their Apple products need mending. When it launched last year, the independent repair program only covered iPhones. Now it supports all Mac computers, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
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“When a device needs repairs, we want people to have access to a safe and reliable solution — this latest expansion joins the thousands of repair locations we’ve added over the past year,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to bringing that convenient and trustworthy repair experience to our Mac users.”
MacBook owners previously had to ship their defective products to Apple or drop them off at an Apple store for repairs. You could also use one of 5,000 authorized warranty service providers, or companies (like Best Buy) with granted approval from Apple to repair its products. This could be a stressful process, especially nowadays with the coronavirus pandemic causing severe delays.
As TechCrunch points out, Apple's independent repair shop program expanded to 140 businesses in 700 new locations since launching for the iPhone last year. It is now making its way to Europe and Canada. Signing up for the program is free and Apple will even provide the training without a fee.
Apple's decision to allow more shops to repair MacBooks and iPhones comes after years of criticism for its restrictive right-to-repair policies. The company even had to answer to the US House Judiciary Committee last year when asked about its hardware repair program.
While Apple is now allowing small businesses to repair its products, it is still very much in control. Companies that apply to become a part of the independent repair program are vetted by Apple to see if they meet several requirements and they must only use Apple parts, so the prices are ultimately set by Apple. Still, you will now have more options going forward should something happen to your old MacBook, like, say, the keyboard stops working properly.