Apple now allows some of its customers to repair their own iPhones themselves, after long banning anyone except approved technicians from handling its proprietary parts and software.
In a sea change, the US tech firm announced Wednesday that users will be able to access original Apple parts and tools for consumer repairs on the two newest iPhone models and eventually some Mac computers. The change is a reflection of President Joe Biden embracing the “right to repair” movement, which affects everything from smartphones to cars to tractors.
It is a response to the infusion of software into more everyday products, as well as to manufacturer practices that make products increasingly difficult and expensive to repair. Apple said it will launch an online store for self-service repairs early next year, which will have more than 200 individual parts and tools to perform the most common repairs on the iPhone 12 or iPhone 13.
Do-it-yourself repairs to displays, batteries, and displays will be the initial focus, despite previous resistance from Apple due to safety concerns, such as faulty battery replacements that can damage a device.
Maureen Mahoney, a senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports, said Apple’s action is good news for consumers and a sign that similar standards should be applied to other electronic products.
She said: “If you buy a product, you should be able to repair it. Otherwise, consumers have to trust the manufacturer’s authorized repairer or they have to buy a new one.”
The Biden administration has been investigating regulatory changes that would make it easier for Americans to repair their broken devices, along with the Federal Trade Commission and state legislatures.
Restrictions that force consumers to turn to manufacturer and vendor repair networks add unnecessary costs to consumers and exclude independent repair shops from business opportunities, regulators say.