Apple Flips on Right to Repair, Will Sell Parts to Consumers

Program to start with iPhone 12 and 13 next year, then add Macs
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2021 7:10 PM CST
Apple Flips on Right to Repair, Will Sell Parts to Consumers
A stack of smartphones.   (Getty/Karen Poghosyan)

In a victory for the right-to-repair movement, as well as owners of Apple products, the company soon will permit DIY repairs. Apple announced Wednesday that it will provide instructions on home repairs, as well as start selling more than 200 parts and the necessary tools, the Verge reports. Until now, consumers have had to take their gadgets to an Apple store or third-party shop. Right-to-repair advocates noted caveats but still welcomed the change. Calling it a "big milestone," one said that "one of the most visible right-to-repair opponents is reversing course in a meaningful way."

The program, called "Self Service Repair," is scheduled to begin in early 2022 in the US with the iPhone 12 and 13. Owners will be able to replace the phone's display, battery, and camera—with Apple's parts at first and other companies' later. Macs with M1 chips then will be opened up for home repairs. Apple said that most consumers still should turn to a professional for repairs and that the program is intended "for individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices." But home repairs won't void the warranty, though TechCrunch says inflicting more damage while making repairs might.

Right-to-repair advocates have long been critical of Apple making repairs impossible—locking down its software so that parts are encoded to a single device, per the AP. Attempts to just replace a cracked screen with a third-party one have been known to knock phones out of commission. For now, the program solidifies the company's place in repairs, with product owners likely to buy parts from Apple to avoid triggering the company's protections instead of from third-party manufacturers that might offer cheaper alternatives. New pressure from the Federal Trade Commission on tech companies encouraged the change, per the New York Times. (More Apple stories.)

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