We should all have rights and whether we exercise them or not is a different story. Apple has always restricted the right to repair their devices to a chosen few. But that’s about to change! Now, we can all be geniuses, thanks to Apple’s Self Service Repair program.
The announcement came as a surprise that elated and shocked Apple fans in equal proportions. And as with everything Apple, it has also opened the door to a lot of speculation. But you don’t have to be a deer in the headlight because I have all the answers* you need.
* – Well, almost all answers, and if you still have questions after reading the full article, feel free to use the comment section below.
What is Apple’s Self Service Repair program?
Self Service Repair is Apple’s most recent stance on the right-to-repair moment. The program gives users the freedom to repair their Apple devices on their own. Starting early next year, users can access Apple genuine parts, tools, and repair manuals, similar to those used at Genius Bar.
In the past, Apple has gone to extreme lengths to ensure users don’t go outside of Apple’s network of authorized service centers. So much so that the microcontroller chip in the iPhone 13 would disable Face ID if an unauthorized service provider replaces the screen.
Moreover, it restricts all its hardware manufacturers from selling/sharing the parts outside of the ecosystem. So, even the most skilled technicians have to come to Apple for the simplest repairs. However, that is about to change in 2022.
What can you repair?
Also, the program in the initial phase will be limited to the most common iPhone service modules, like display, battery, and camera. Additional repair modules will be introduced later in the year.
Who can access the program?
Initially, the service program will be limited to the US only. Although, Apple expressed plans to include other countries and regions throughout 2022.
As per Apple, any user who is ‘comfortable with completing their own repairs’ can access the program and join 5,000+ Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers.
How does the Self Service Repair program work?
While Apple didn’t reveal all details, rules, and regulations regarding the program, it gave a broad outline of the process.
Before anything else, the user should go through the Repair Manual available online (not live now). And if the users are confident in their skills, they can order the necessary parts and tools from the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store.
The new store will be stocked with over 200 individual parts and tools for most common repairs. Furthermore, once the repair is done, the user can return the used part for recycling and receive a credit towards their purchase.
Who is this targeted at?
While open for all Apple users, Self Service Repair is not designed for all. Not everyone has the skill, knowledge, and experience to pull apart an electronic device and fix it back together. It is intended for individual technicians who are deft at repairing such devices.
Overall, if someone doesn’t have the means to enroll as a professional repair provider but has the talent to perform repairs, the Self Service Repair is Apple’s Christmas gift for them, but with a warning.
Apple even recommends in the announcement that ‘the safest and most reliable way’ to avail a repair is from certified technicians who have access to genuine Apple parts.
What about repercussions?
Apple has also been close-lipped about intricate details. What will be the prices of these parts? Would it void the device warranty? Will Apple care carry free repairs and discounts? And most importantly, what if you can’t repair the device or make it worse?
I believe we will have answers to all these once the program is released in early 2022. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the developments. You can download our app or follow our social media accounts to stay updated.
Is it a fair deal or just a coverup?
Though the announcement came as a surprise, it wasn’t out of the blue. The right-to-repair movement has been gaining momentum for some time now; even the US president pushed the Federal Trade Commission to reform right-to-repair regulations in July.
Along with other tech giants, Apple has opposed the idea in the past, citing security reasons. In 2019, Apple convinced California lawmakers that users might accidentally damage the lithium-ion batteries during unsupervised repairs and set off a fire.
Moreover, Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program carries an over-the-top strict rulebook that most technicians shy away from it. Until now, it felt like Apple wanted to control every aspect of its device repairs.
So, what has changed now?
Between the Epic vs. Apple and App Store drama, Apple has been portrayed in the wrong light. And maybe this is Apple’s attempt to save face or avoid further troubles with the lawmakers.
Yes, it could also mean that Apple has finally listened and understood the user’s need. As of now, we don’t know the liberties that Apple will extend with the program and what’s allowed and not allowed.
So it is difficult to say whether this is a PR move or something else. We might know once the program is live and all the fine prints are dived through. So, let’s wait and watch.
The good, the bad, and everything in between
Thanks to this new move, Apple users now have three choices.
- Repair the device themselves.
- Visit nearby small shops.
- Visit an authorized repair shop.
However, the right to repair is not just about these choices; it also means ease of access, saving money, cutting down the monopoly, and reducing the e-waste by a large margin. But as always, there’s a catch.
For one, there are plenty of curious souls who would like to take things into their hands and might end up doing more harm than good. Also, as Apple devices are becoming smarter, faster, and compact, their component integrations are getting more complicated.
In simple words, only a skilled and experienced user can handle a successful repair. Although, that won’t stop notorious parties from misleading you. So, going to a neighborhood technician might not be as lucrative as it was earlier.
Another major issue is with fake parts. How would you or Apple ensure that you are not being cheated? There are many ifs and buts in this situation right now, and all we can do is wait and see how the ball rolls.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Would you attempt a self-repair or continue relying on experts. Share your views, queries, concerns, and more with us in the comment section below.