Apple will sell parts and tools so customers can repair their own devices

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Apple Self Service Program for customer repairs
It's a major change to the company's repair policy.
Photo: Apple

Apple today revealed its new Self Service Program, which will provide customers with the parts and tools they need to repair their own devices. It marks a major shift in the company’s approach to hardware fixes.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups are the first to be supported, but will be soon followed by Mac computers powered by M1 chips, Apple said. The Self Service Program launches next year in the U.S., and will expand in 2022.

Self Service Repair program supports DIY fixes

Apple has long faced criticism from “right to repair” advocates for being strictly against DIY fixes. It has even taken steps to make things more difficult for third-party repair shops in the past. But rather than waiting for laws that force it to change that, Cupertino today surprised us all by welcoming user repairs.

“Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “In the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and training, and now we’re providing an option for those who wish to complete their own repairs.”

The new Self Service Program welcomes “customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs” to obtain the parts and tools they need directly from Apple. Initially, the program will focus on the “most commonly serviced modules,” such as iPhone displays, batteries, and cameras.

Starting with iPhone

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups will be the first supported by the Self Service Program, but Apple says that Mac computers powered by M1 chips will follow soon after. The program will make its debut in the United States next year before rolling out to other countries in 2022.

The Self Service Program gives customers the chance to join more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers who have access to genuine Apple parts, tools, and manuals, Cupertino said. They will be accessible through the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store.

The new store will initially offer more than 200 individual parts and tools, which customers can order after consulting a repair manual to confirm they are comfortable with carrying out the job. They can then return their old parts to Apple for recycling to receive a credit toward their next purchase.

“Self Service Repair is intended for individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices,” Apple said. “For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair.”

What about your warranty?

The repair experts at iFixit call the Self Service Program a “landmark DIY repair announcement,” but it warns that there may be negative implications in the future:

Offering official parts to anybody who wants one, pricey or otherwise, could also justify Apple’s further locking down of parts through serialization. If there’s now an “official” way to avoid warning messages and a loss of features when you need to replace a battery, camera, or display, there’s less incentive for Apple to help those using third-party parts, or even those salvaged from other iPhones.

By controlling the parts marketplace, Apple can also decide when devices go obsolete.

Apple makes no mention of the warranty implications of DIY repairs in its press release. But according to TechCrunchcarrying out your own repairs with genuine Apple parts won’t void your warranty, “though you might if you manage to further damage the product in the process of repairing it.”

Apple will surely provide us with more details on things like this before the Self Service Program makes its official debut next year.