Apple Launches Do-It-Yourself Repairs

Apple announced on Wednesday that it would start publicly releasing repair manuals for some of its products, as well as selling parts and tools online. The goal, according to the company, is to provide iPhone owners with an alternative method of repairing their devices.

Apple's new Self Service Repair program is launching for US customers with the iPhone 13 line of smartphones, as well as the iPhone 12 and new iPhone SE. Apple said the program was created to give adventurous and capable people access to the same parts, tools, and instructions that its own certified technicians and partner repair shops have, with the goal of making it easier for people to repair devices rather than buying new ones.

"We believe we have a responsibility to customers and the environment to offer convenient access to safe, reliable, and secure repairs to help customers get the most out of their devices,"

Apple's do-it-yourself program comes at a time when the company and the rest of the tech industry are being pressed to allow people to repair their devices at home for less money, a concept known as Right to Repair.

In recent years, the larger Right to Repair movement has gained traction. It's become a hot topic on social media, with videos of tech influencers teaching people how to fix various devices circulating. Companies are increasingly being forced to change their approach by lawmakers and voters in states across the US, particularly by publishing repair manuals and giving customers access to diagnostic tools for the products they buy. 

Massachusetts voters passed a law in 2020 requiring automakers to allow third parties access to vehicle data that had previously been locked away. President Joe Biden signaled his support for Right to Repair less than a year later, in 2021, when he signed an executive order directing the Federal Trade Commission to consider rules that would make it more difficult for companies to restrict how people can repair their devices.

Meanwhile, some of the tech industry's biggest names have spent the last year promoting their own repair services. Google, Samsung, HTC, and Microsoft have announced partnerships with iFixit, a popular online repair site, to sell parts and tools for some of their devices.

Fixing your device

Apple has emphasized that most people would be better served by an experienced technician since announcing its at-home repair program. Those who believe they can do it themselves will find a copy of the repair manual on Apple's self-service repair site, which the company recommends you read before ordering any parts or tools.

To ensure that people have read the correct manual, Apple will include a code in the reading that they must enter before their parts order is confirmed. This, according to Apple, is one way to ensure that people have not only read the manual, but the correct one for the device they're ordering parts for.

People will be able to buy "Genuine Apple Parts," which the company says are being sold to customers at the same prices it charges service technicians, which may be more expensive than a repair by a cracked phone repair kiosk in a mall. Apple said its parts are "designed to meet the same high safety and quality standards as parts used in new products."

The display, screws, and replacement adhesives for an iPhone 12 display and screw replacement bundle, for example, cost up to $269.95.

Apple will also sell the same high-volume repair tools that heat displays to soften adhesives and separate phones or press new displays together, which are designed for high-volume repair shops. However, because some of the tools are expensive, Apple has announced that it will rent them out as well. A tool rental kit for the iPhone 12 would cost $49 plus shipping.

Customers who return the broken parts to Apple will receive a credit on the final cost, according to the company. In its ongoing efforts to create a closed-loop manufacturing process, Apple will either refurbish or recycle that part.

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