Apple has unveiled a “self-service repair” scheme so that “comfortable consumers” may repair their own devices.
It will cover replacing the batteries, displays, and cameras of modern iPhones when it launches in the United States in early 2022.
However, Apple’s new repair store will include over 200 components and tools.
It follows months of mounting pressure on Apple from the grassroots right-to-repair campaign, which wants individuals and independent repair shops to be able to repair equipment.
“Self Service Fix is designed for individual technicians who have the skills and experience to repair electrical equipment,” Apple explained.
However, “for the great majority of clients,” going to a registered professional repair shop is a superior alternative.
“Increasing access to Apple authentic components provides our customers even more options if a repair is required,” said Apple chief operations officer Jeff Williams.
“By developing products for durability, endurance, and greater repairability, consumers benefit from a long-lasting product that retains its value for years,” the business explained.
Apple has frequently been cited as one of the most vehement opponents of the right to repair, citing safety concerns.
“We never imagined we’d see the day,” said iFixit, an independent repair-instructions website that recently chastised Apple for making it far more difficult to replace iPhone displays.
“Apple has long maintained that allowing consumers to repair their own things would be harmful,” iFixit stated in a media release.
“Now, with increasing governmental interest in repair markets – and shortly after significantly negative headlines… Apple has discovered surprising interest in allowing individuals to repair the goods they own.”
“It may be a tiny step overall – but for Apple to do it, this is a big gain for the right-to-repair campaign,” noted Canadian computer gear critics Hardware Canucks.
The Self Service Repair initiative, according to Apple, would allow individual users to “join more than 5,000 Apple authorized service providers and 2,800 independent repair providers who have access to these components, equipment, and manuals.”
It has been growing its authorized repair network, and availability to official components had “almost quadrupled” in the previous three years, according to the company.
However, Apple’s authorized repair programs have long been chastised for having numerous conditions and limitations, such as where new parts originate from, making it unlikely that a random component from a broken phone could be readily plucked and “transplanted” for repair.
And the corporation keeps a tight grip on the cost of those components.
In recent years, the right-to-repair movement has gained traction, with many US states proposing “fair repair” legislation.
And, early this year, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – who, with Steve Jobs, created the original Apple computers in a garage in the 1970s – came out in support of the cause.
“We wouldn’t have had an Apple if I hadn’t grown up in a really open technological world,” he explained in July.