Published in Mobiles

Apple surrenders on right to repair

by on30 August 2019

Realises there is too much work fixing borked Apple gear

Apple will begin selling parts, tools and repair guides to independent shops to fix broken iPhones, a major change after years of lobbying against laws in some US states that would have compelled it to do just that.

Apple claims the programme will ease heavy demand on Apple and its authorised partners to fix millions of cracked screens and fried charging ports, and everything else that goes wrong with the overpriced toys. 

Under the scheme, independent repair shops will be offered official parts for out-of-warranty repairs at the same price offered to authorised service providers, such as Best Buy which perform warranty work.

Apple’s iPhone sales have declined in the past two fiscal quarters, but sales of accessories such as its AirPods wireless headphones and the Apple Watch, along with paid services like Apple Music, have helped make up for some of the revenue falls. Independent shops have long complained that the high purchase volumes required by Apple to become an authorised service provider priced them out of the repair market.

The tech giant had previously lobbied against “right-to-repair” bills to supply independent businesses in several US states, including New York and California, citing concerns about maintaining a high service standard. It earlier this year allowed all US Best Buy stores to handle warranty work.

The change only applies to iPhones, leaving out Mac laptops, whose troubled keyboards have required extensive repairs and prompted Apple to launch a special service program. And shops cannot resell parts to customers who want to do their work.

Kyle Wiens, chief executive of repair guide company iFixit and a longtime advocate for right-to-repair laws, said: “those are all reasons that right-to-repair legislation is still really necessary.”

This is Apple realising that the market for borked Apple gear is too large for  it to handle itself and providing independent technicians with genuine parts is a great step, Wiens said. It also shows that if right-to-repair legislation passed tomorrow, Apple could instantly comply.

Apple said it tested the new repair program for a year with 20 businesses across North America, Europe and Asia. It did not give a timetable for the international launches.

The programme will allow independent stores to set their prices for repairs and offer cheaper aftermarket parts. They will be required to return any collected broken Apple parts to the company for refurbishment or recycling.

The programme will be free for shops to join, but they will be required to have an Apple-certified technician who has taken a free 40-hour training course and test provided by the company.

Last modified on 30 August 2019
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