from the took-you-long-enough dept
We had just got done noting that it didn’t seem like Apple had learned a whole lot from the last few years of “right to repair” backlash, making it harder to replace iPhone 13 screens. But not only did the company (partially) backtrack from that decision, they’ve made another shocking pivot: they’re actually making phone parts and documentation more accessible to Apple customers. The move, announced in a company press release, should make it significantly easier for Apple customers to repair their devices at home:
“Apple today announced Self Service Repair, which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts and tools…The initial phase of the program will focus on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera. The ability for additional repairs will be available later next year.
Apple says this new “self service repair” program will be released first for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, followed shortly thereafter by Mac computers featuring M1 chips starting early next year. From there it will slowly be expanded into additional countries. The program is generally aimed at users that have some idea of what they’re doing, and apparently won’t invalidate a device’s warranty (though if you break your device in the process that may be another matter).
Though there will surely be caveats, it’s still huge about-face for a company with a long history of attempting to monopolize repair, either by bullying independent repair shops, or lobbying against “right to repair” legislation by falsely claiming that broader repair options would harm public safety and turn some states into dangerous “meccas” for hackers.
Apple’s about-face here is clearly a response to the right to repair movement, a bipartisan grassroots coalition of annoyed consumers whose outrage has driven proposed legislation in more than a dozen states. The tighter Apple tried to lock down its repair options, the more negative press the company received, driving even more support for meaningful reform on this front. While the devil will be in the details, it appears that Apple executives may have finally realized the futile, cyclical nature of this uphill fight and finally decided to start doing the right thing… both for the environment and its customers.