Apple has launched a project to help iPhone owners fix everything themselves. But it’s not what everyone was waiting for

We recently published an article on our blog that an increasing number of consumer electronics vendors are joining the “right to repair” movement. Of course, the reasons why companies do this are different, and they are not always guided by the desire to help (although in some cases this is true). Be that as it may, but to the “right to repair” movement

such giants as Motorola, Valve, Samsung and Google have joined

. They provide both spare parts for repairing their devices and tools (not for free, of course).

In general, in most cases everything is fine – if the user wants to repair his device using original spare parts, he orders the part and can fix everything without any problems. In the event that he has enough qualifications, of course. The other day, Apple Corporation also joined the “right to repair”, but in its case there are much more nuances than those of the participants who have already been named above. Details are under the cut.

When did Apple decide to join the program?

In short, not now. The fact that the corporation will soon provide tools and spare parts to independent service centers and ordinary users, it became known back in November last year. Then, after pressure from supporters of the “right to repair” and legislators, many manufacturers were forced to meet the “garage repair”.

Apple was one of the last to give in, trying all these years to “protect users”, claiming that only certified repairs allow the owner of the device to be confident in its quality. But, according to supporters of the “right to repair” idea, in fact, the service maintenance and repair industry, that is, the official service of corporations, is actually a gold mine for device manufacturers. How much this industry brings to corporations is unknown, but apparently a lot.

So, the usual replacement of a cracked iPhone glass in a corporate center costs $329, the battery costs about $69. Prices are also high for most of the company’s other maintenance and repair services. In 2016, journalists even managed to get documentary evidence that Apple is paying officials who oppose the “right to repair.” Many other companies are doing similar things, but Apple is the most striking example.

But be that as it may, Apple in November 2021 is still decided to give its customers the right to repair part of the devices after years of pressure from officials, shareholders and activists.

The corporation said then that it had been developing the Self Service Repair program for a whole year, which provides ordinary users and “garage” services with access to original Apple parts, tools and manuals.

In addition, in March 2021, Apple expanded its Independent Repair Provider program to more than 200 countries around the world. It allows independent service centers to access genuine Apple parts, tools, repair manuals and diagnostics, but their employees must be certified by Apple.

And six months have not passed …

In fact, it took several months, just about half a year, before Apple fulfilled the promise and

launched a repair service

devices by users. She made it available first to US residents, and a little later she promises to scale the program, expanding the geography of its presence.

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The corporation presented about two hundred different spare parts, plus manuals and software, which makes it possible to repair their own and other people’s devices. Among the parts available to users are screens, batteries, cameras and other parts. True, all this is only for the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone SE 3. What to do with previous models? Rhetorical question, repair exactly the same as it has been going on all this time.

The program states that all parts are designed by the company itself, so there can be no problems with them. They’ve been tested, tested and everything. Spare parts will be sold to users at a price similar to that of certified repair services. In addition, there will be collection points for old parts for the company’s devices – for them it will be possible to receive compensation of a couple of tens of US dollars.

And there are nuances, and a lot

The first is that the parts themselves cost a lot. In many cases, repairing the device becomes simply unprofitable due to the cost of spare parts.

Secondly, in order for the repair to be guaranteed correct, according to the company, it provides special repair tools. They are assembled in two suitcases that weigh about 16 and 19 kg – and these are only tools for repairing the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone SE 3. What kind of MacBook repair kits will there be, and it’s scary to imagine, it’s likely that they will bring all this as at least on a truck.

The situation is “simplifies” by the fact that if the user has an iPhone SE, then only one suitcase is needed, but for 12 and 13 device models, two cases will be needed at once. And, of course, all this is also not free, a week renting tools will cost $49. For a service center that passes several dozen phones a day, this can be an acceptable price. But for the average user? Obviously not, all this is somehow not very similar to a DIY repair.

The third nuance is that the main components, original spare parts from Apple, can be purchased under the “repair yourself” program only if you specify the IMEI or device serial number. After the part is received, it must be “attached” to the device using specialized software. On the one hand, everything is logical, because it is assumed that the user himself should repair the device. On the other hand, it is hard to imagine that someone would like to repair their device so much that this person will order a suitcase or two tools, very expensive spare parts, and then they will also synchronize it all.

In general, everything is similar to the program “for show”. The DIY repair program seems to work, but its conditions are such that most users simply will not see the point in working with it. The iFixit community even noticed that this program does not comply with the “right to repair” legislation in the US and some other countries. Perhaps a little later the situation will improve, but so far everything is in this way.

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