Apple will soon let consumers fix their own Apple products, the company said Wednesday. If a user feels comfortable repairing their own devices, Apple will send them the parts, tools and manuals necessary to do so. The Self Service Repair program will be available for iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 in the U.S. early next year. It will later expand to M1 Macs and other countries throughout 2022.
Apple's self-service program will initially focus on repairs related to the iPhone display, battery and camera — the components that most frequently give users trouble. To access the program, users will first have to read Apple's Repair Manual. Then, they can place an order for the required tools through Apple's Self Service Repair Online Store. The store will host more than 200 parts and tools needed for the most common repairs to the iPhone 12 and 13. The company stressed that the program is meant for "individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices," not necessarily for all casual owners.
The move is surprising, as Apple has been one of the right-to-repair movement's biggest opponents. The company was notoriously stringent about sharing information with independent repair technicians. It has worked with various lobbying groups to kill right-to-repair bills across the country, often claiming that granting third parties access to Apple's repair tools could compromise consumer safety. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission in July voted to fight right-to-repair restrictions after its research found "scant evidence" to support device makers' restrictions on consumers and repair shops accessing certain parts or information.
Apple offered genuine parts only to companies that paid to become "authorized service providers" until 2019, when it changed its tune somewhat by expanding access to Apple parts with the Independent Repair Provider program. In Wednesday's press release, Apple touted the expansion of this program to 2,800 independent providers in more than 200 companies.