Apple’s newly announced Self Service Repair program, set to launch in early 2022, will finally provide individual customers access to genuine Apple OEM parts and manuals for DIY iPhone (and eventually Mac) repairs.
Although this program has limitations, and there are many lingering questions about how it will be implemented, it is an opportunity for Apple to improve relationships with its customers by making Apple repair near me. If Apple prices the parts right, the program could also be a way for motivated customers to save money on repairs by going DIY while allowing independent repair shops to remain competitive.
Until now, access to factory OEM parts for iPhones and Macs has been restricted to several Apple-blessed places, including Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP), Apple Stores, and Apple Independent Repair Providers (IRP), a program that allows independent shops to gain access to genuine Apple parts, tools, and training guides for common out-of-warranty Mac and iPhone repairs.
Apple’s new self-service program — just like the IRP program — is focused only on screen, battery, and camera repairs when it comes to iPhones.
Apple plans to become the main resource for individuals looking for access to parts and manuals — promising “more than 200 individual parts and tools” for iPhone 12 and 13 models early next year.
While that number sounds high given that the self-service program will launch with parts for just two models of iPhones, Kevin Purdy, a writer for the online repair guide site iFixit, found it believable. Apple, he says, could sell various adhesives, specialty tools, individual screws, custom presses, electrostatic discharge mats, and much more.
These parts are already available to Apple service providers, and the prices are pretty high because the devices are so new. Apple itself charges customers $279 to repair the screen of an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 Pro. According to iFixit, members of Apple’s IRP program pay about $270 to stock up on these screens (nearly the same as what Apple charges for the repair). However, the out-of-pocket cost for IRP members is reduced to $235 if the old part is sent back, according to iFixit.
THIS REMOVES A BIG BARRIER FOR APPLE IN THE PATH TO LEGISLATION While Apple says that individuals using the Self Service Repair program will receive a credit back for the old part, it’s not clear how much money you can save by taking this path, and Apple didn’t respond to The Verge’s request for comment on the matter.
In my experience as a former employee of Apple, I recall that it was also Apple Store policy to not allow customers to take back old parts from the repairs we did for them (including bad hard drives from Macs). Based on how important bad part returns seem to Apple, whatever credit Apple will offer to customers using the self-service program could be significant enough to motivate old part returns.