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Apple decides you should be able to repair your own device, after all

The war against right to repair may have just been dealt a killing blow, with Apple announcing that it will start selling tools, parts and manuals for its devices directly to consumers.

Image: Apple

No, that dot in the sky outside your window isn’t a flying pig: Apple has truly thrown in the towel in its fight against the right to repair with a press release announcing its new Self Service Repair program.

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Beginning with the iPhone 12 and 13 series of devices, Apple said it plans to make Self Service Repair available early next year in the U.S., and plans to expand to additional countries throughout the year. The types of parts available will also start small, with common components like displays, batteries and cameras available for replacement at first, and less common components made available later. Apple said it plans to expand the program to M1 Macs soon after iPhone 12 and 13 devices.

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“In the past three years, Apple has nearly doubled the number of service locations with access to Apple genuine parts, tools and training, and now we’re providing an option for those who wish to complete their own repairs,” Said Apple COO Jeff Williams.

Apple cites device durability and life span several times in its Self Service Repair announcement, which makes the likelihood that the new program is a result of repairability laws announced in the EU in early 2021. The laws only cover some types of products, like home appliances and televisions, and mandates that they be repairable for 10 years. It doesn’t explicitly cover computers, but right to repair continues to make inroads that make long-term computer repairability a likelihood, and many businesses, like Apple and Microsoft, may be attempting to get ahead of the regulatory game.

Gartner distinguished research VP David Smith describes the news as a “shot in the arm” for the right to repair movement, which 
has been in the news frequently

throughout 2021. “Apple’s decision to enable consumers and users to self-repair is a significant change.  It is a good thing and a welcome change, even though most consumers are not going to attempt these repairs themselves,” Smith said.

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Apple describes the process for doing an at-home repair as beginning with reviewing the repair manual for the device in question to determine whether you can even actually do it yourself. If you decide you can, the next step is to order parts from the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store, which isn’t up yet. Apple said that there will be “more than 200 individual parts and tools” available in the store once it’s open. 

Apple also said that it will provide a discount for customers that return broken components for recycling. 

Making repairs to an iPhone can get complicated, so be sure you’ve done some electronics repair before diving into your iPhone’s guts. “For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair,” Apple said. 

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