Apple Finally Lets You Repair Your Own iPhone

Apple made a surprise announcement on Wednesday that it will begin selling parts and tools to customers who want to repair their phones at home.

The new program, Self Service Repair, will launch with parts for the iPhone 12 and 13 lineups, with Mac computers featuring M1 chips following shortly thereafter, according to a post on Apple's website. The program is expected to be rolled out in the U.S. early next year.

Although Apple notes that the program is only for individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices, it is a marked departure from the company's long-standing opposition to the right-to-repair.

Over the years, Apple has imposed a lot of restrictions on its independent repair partners that would see them fined and subject to audits if they used non-Apple products.

There have been signs that Apple has changed its tune on at- home repairs in recent weeks.

The company backed off of a screen repair trap that bricked Face ID on the iPhone 13 unless a tiny chip was properly transferred, a far-from-standard repair step that had required the ability to microsolder.

Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, said in a statement that customers have more choice if a repair is needed. In the past three years, Apple has doubled the number of service locations with access to genuine parts, tools, and training, and now we are providing an option for those who wish to complete their own repairs.

Apple already has programs in place to sell its proprietary parts to third-party repair vendors, and the decision to extend that access to more than 200 individual parts and tools makes it all the more likely that customers will buy full-priced parts from Apple. iFixit notes that Apple's announcement isn't the open-source repair revolution we've sought, because the program is modeled after the company's restrictive I

Two IRP members we spoke with said that Apple's repair software doesn't allow IRP members to replace a broken part with one taken from another Apple device, because it requires scanning both the serial of an Apple-purchased replacement and the phone itself. That is a major limitation for people who are used to harvesting parts.

Customers who return used parts for recycling will receive credit toward their purchase, according to Apple.