Apple is making it easier for independent repair shops to service out-of-warranty iPhones. It’s doing this by providing them with parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics previously available only to Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs).
The program has initially launched in the U.S. However, Apple says that there are plans to expand this to roll it out to additional countries in the future.
“To better meet our customers’ needs, we’re making it easier for independent providers across the U.S. to tap into the same resources as our Apple Authorized Service Provider network,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams.
It doesn’t costs anything to join the independent repair program. The only proviso is that qualifying businesses must have an Apple-certified technician who can perform the repairs. This certification process is free of charge. Anyone who is interested in applying for it can do so online. Qualifying repair businesses are eligible to receive the tools they need for their job at the same cost as AASPs.
The launch of the independent repair program comes after a recent partnership between Apple and Best Buy. Nearly 1,000 Best Buy stores across the U.S. can now iPhones, with trained experts on hand who are equipped with the necessary Apple parts.
A great move on Apple’s part
This is a great move on Apple’s part. In recent times, Apple has seemingly waged war on independent repair shops. Earlier this month, it activated a software lock on iPhone to try and crack down on battery replacements by third-party repairers.
Something similar is true with newer Macs. Certain repairs for Macs with Apple’s T2 chip also require access to Apple’s diagnostic software. This makes it impossible for some third-party repair shops to fix Macs. Not using this can result in your Mac being bricked.
Apple previously opposed “Right to Repair” legislation making it easier to repair Apple devices. In 2017, Apple delegates opposed a proposed Right to Repair bill in Nebraska. Apple said that giving everyone access to Apple components and service manuals would make Nebraska a “Mecca for bad actors.”
It’s not clear whether this is the beginning of a change of philosophy for Apple. It would be great if it was, however. Long before Apple was the giant that it is today, it was the third-party computers shops which helped spread the gospel of Apple. Sure, not every repair shop offers a uniformly high standard — which is why Apple’s right to have a certification process. But so long as people can prove their competence, it’s great to see Cupertino throw a bone to the third-party repair outfits out there.
What do you think of Apple’s independent repair program? Will this make your life any easier? Does this represent a change of strategy for Apple? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.