Apple will allow the repair of iPhones outside of service workshops

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iPhone users will be able to repair their own phones 1:05

Apple plans to give customers the ability to repair their own devices amid mounting pressure from regulators and consumers around the world for manufacturers to ease product repair restrictions.The company on Wednesday announced a new program that will allow it to purchase spare parts for Apple products starting early next year. The program, known as Self Service Repair, will allow users to fix broken or damaged devices using repair manuals that Apple will post on its website.

Apple plans to start with some components that typically require replacements, such as displays, batteries and camera modules. The company says it will have more than 200 parts and tools available at launch and plans to add more over the next year. The repair program will initially be available only to iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 users, but will later be extended to Mac computers using the new Apple-made M1 chip.

The company will disclose prices for its spare parts only after the formal launch of the program next year, but Apple said it will charge individual users the same prices it currently charges independent repair providers.

Apple’s move comes at a time when electronics manufacturers, as well as manufacturers of everything from tractors to hospital equipment, are facing increasing pressure to ease restrictions on independent device repair shops or user impulse known as the “right to reparation” movement. Companies have been criticized for using tactics that make it difficult for independent repair businesses to access devices, such as using non-removable memories or batteries, or sealing devices with a special glue. Critics argue that these tactics can cost consumers more, hurt independent garages and be harmful to the environment.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order in July directing the Federal Trade Commission to issue rules requiring companies to allow repairs made by users. Days later, the FTC voted unanimously to condemn existing repair restrictions by manufacturers, and agency president Lina Khan vowed to “eradicate” illegal redress restrictions that may violate U.S. antitrust and consumer protection laws.How to End Struggles over Technology Use with Teens Before the Holidays

Regulatory bodies in the UK and Europe have also passed or are studying laws to force device manufacturers to provide spare parts to their customers. One of the most prominent proponents of the “right to reparation” movement is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who declared earlier this year that he was “fully” supportive of the cause. “We wouldn’t have had an Apple if it hadn’t grown up in a very open tech world,” he said in a video on celebrity website Cameo.

iFixit, a popular consumer electronics repair website that has criticized Apple and other companies for not allowing self-repair, welcomed Wednesday’s announcement.

“We’re thrilled to see Apple admit to what we’ve always known: everyone is genius enough to fix an iPhone,” iFixit said on Twitter.

Companies like Apple have previously argued that their repair policies were in place to ensure products are repaired correctly. “We believe the safest and most reliable repair is one performed by a trained technician using genuine parts that have been properly designed and rigorously tested,” Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in a 2019 statement announcing Apple’s independent repair shop partner program.

On Wednesday, Williams touted Apple’s announcement as a way to give “customers even more options if they need a repair.” He also said the company “has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to genuine Apple parts, tools and training, and we are now providing an option for those who want to carry out their own repairs.”

Apple said there are more than 2,800 independent repair providers in 200 countries that have access to its repair parts and expertise.

For now, the Self Service Repair program will be available only in the U.S. at launch, but Apple said it plans to expand the program to other countries over the course of 2022.

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