Apple self-service repair rollout: iFixit enthusiastic, mixed for repair program

Announced in late 2021, Apple’s self-repair program, which allows iPhone users to perform certain repairs on their devices using official products and tools, is officially rolling out in the United States. iFixit, the registrar of repair rights, is free and a hybrid service.

Starting this week, iPhone owners in the U.S. can perform “ official” repairs on their damaged devices on their own. Apple launched the Apple Self Repair Program, which was announced last November. Currently, it’s only available across the Atlantic.

On a dedicated online site, this service allows anyone to order official iPhone 12, iPhone 13 or iPhone SE (3rd generation) parts as well as self-repair kits. Then it should also work on MacBook and other countries can enjoy it too. Obviously, this requires a certain amount of knowledge and skill to perform some operations that can get complicated. But it at least has the advantage of being there for the most experienced (daring?) people.

A good idea, but there is a “problem”…

Apple Self Service Repair then allows you to replace the screen, speaker, Taptic Engine, battery or camera with official parts and tools normally reserved for authorized repairers. According to Apple, manuals are also provided to do everything according to the rules of art.

On paper, in the best repair world, everything seems to be going well. Therefore, it is only logical that the repair specialist iFixit has dealt with this topic. In a lengthy blog post, Elizabeth Chamberlain, head of sustainability at iFixit, offers her perspective. While she welcomed the initiative, she was skeptical of many points, emphasizing “ one problem”.

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“Anything that gets more people doing repairs is good news,” she wrote, adding that she was “excited” about Apple’s seven-year parts supply, retail tools and plans to provide detailed repair manuals for free. However, she added: “We are disappointed and are returning to our usual skepticism. »

why is that ? In particular, Apple needs the serial number or IMEI of its device in order to be able to obtain tools and parts for the iPhone. Because, according to the site, Apple only allows “very limited” repairs. If you’re using an unofficial part on your iPhone, you may get an error message. “This strategy discourages third-party repairs through loss-of-function and intimidation tactics, and can severely limit options for recyclers and remanufacturers, short-circuiting the circular economy,” Chamberlain said.

What about renovators?


iFixit specifically criticized Apple for wanting to keep its own replacement parts, its own tools, and its own manuals in a vacuum, while demanding guarantees of ownership — or at least provenance — of your iPhone. .Because at the end of the repair, it is necessary to use Apple software to verify all the content of the released smartphone, iFixit “  sets an expiration date on the iPhone” and provides the brand with “  even the opportunity to prevent further repairs”. future. And added: “  Building technology that makes it easy to provide custom repairs, making Apple the gateway to approving or denying parts from any source for future repairs.” »

But in their view, it is precisely the renovators who are likely to be punished. “  If a refurbisher receives a working phone without parts support, they can’t fully restore a product that requires a screen replacement, even if it has an original Apple screen. “Another phone,” she concluded. It’s also fair game, and in a very Mostly logical, knowing the company, Tim Cook and his family wanted to end their repairs while keeping everything on their laps.

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iFixit sees this as a violation of the right to repair, and the company goes to great lengths to push repair shops and then service them…even those not authorized by Apple, which certainly leads the company to avoid deviating from his procedures.

In obvious irony, however, iFixit says it’s “pleased” that Apple makes its repair manuals and tools available to anyone, even for rent, and that the company will take back damaged parts in exchange for user compensation. But that’s not enough for iFixit.

The implication is that we can also understand that iFixit doesn’t necessarily see Apple’s move very positively. The site offers far more device repair tips than Apple offers for its own product line. But he also sells iPhone parts and tools to fix them, and goes out of his way to point out that everything on iFixit is cheaper than on Apple’s branded website. However, this is another official game. Even at the higher price point, and talking to the experts, Apple’s persuasion is still a tough mountain to climb. And that doesn’t necessarily make Xiuwei the Great God unhappy…