Apple will start selling you the parts you need to fix your iPhone in early 2022
Shattered screens and aging batteries in iPhones used to require a trip to the Apple Store - or a local repair shop - to fix. But starting in early 2022, iPhone owners in the United States who want to try repairing their ailing device can do so with some help from Apple itself.
Apple surprised Right to Repair advocates by announcing a new Self Service Repair program, which will allow owners of its products to request the official tools, components and manuals needed to repair damaged Apple products on their own.
"Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, in a statement.
At first, Apple will sell parts and tools for repairing iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series smartphones, including commonly needed components like batteries and cameras, from an online storefront. After that, the company plans to offer similar repair resources to people who want to repair their M1-powered Mac computers.
Once consumers have completed their repairs, they can send their old, used components back to Apple to be recycled.
While replacing iPhone screens and swapping batteries can be easier than most people expect, the process still isn't always simple. For one, getting into the iPhone itself can be difficult - Apple uses adhesives to seal its phones shut and repair technicians frequently rely on heating pads or heat guns to soften that glue before successfully cracking the device open.
Because of that, Apple still cautions that "the vast majority" of people should still leave such repairs in the hands of professionals. Even so, the company's shifting stance on product repairs has advocates feeling cautiously optimistic.
"One of the most visible opponents to repair access is reversing course and Apple's move shows that what repair advocates have been asking for was always possible," said Nathan Proctor, senior director of the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group's Right to Repair campaign. "After years of industry lobbyists telling lawmakers that sharing access to parts, service tools and manuals would result in safety, security and intellectual property risks, Apple's sudden change indicates these concerns were overblown."