What Apple’s New Repair Program Means for You (and Your iPhone)

Apple gave an early holiday gift to the eco-conscious and the do-it-yourselfers on Wednesday, saying it would soon begin selling the parts, tools and instructions for people to do their own iPhone repairs.

It was a major victory for the "right to repair" movement, which has demanded that tech manufacturers provide the necessary components and instructions for customers to fix their own devices.

Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and others have fought proposed legislation that would make repair resources publicly available. The movement gained steam this summer when the FTC said it would ramp up law enforcement against tech companies that made it hard to fix gadgets.

The idea that people could maintain their own electronics has been impractical for a long time. Repairs could be expensive and intimidating, and it was difficult to get genuine parts. Buying a new phone or computer was the simplest option.

The tech industry could finally be warming to the idea of making maintenance a part of the experience of owning a device, as evidenced by Apple's self-repair program.

The right to repair legislation is a win for repair shops, consumers, and the planet, according to a director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

This means for you.

Apple said it will allow people to order parts and tools from an online store, starting early next year. Customers who send in their broken part will be given a credit towards the purchase of a new part.

The program will focus on the most common items that need fixing, such as screens, batteries and cameras, before expanding to other types of components.

The prices for consumers would be what authorized repair shops paid, but the company has not yet published a list of costs for parts. After a broken screen is traded in, a replacement screen costs about $234 in an authorized shop. The cost to repair an out-of-warranty iPhone 12 screen at an Apple store is about $280.

Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, said in a statement that customers have more choice if a repair is needed.

You can bring your costs down by having more options to mend an iPhone.

It used to be easy to get an iPhone fixed at an Apple store. Taking your car to a dealer for servicing isn't the cheapest option, and going to an Apple store isn't the most cost-effective.

If you wanted to take your phone to a third party for repair, you could get a better price. When I went to an Apple store to have a broken screen repaired, I was quoted $280, which was more than the cost from an independent store.

iFixit, a company that sells parts and publishes instructions for consumers to repair their electronics, said that Apple has made it more difficult for third-party shops to repair the iPhone.

Some repairs were only possible with Apple's software tools, which were not available to the public. Apple only gave the software tools to its staff and authorized repair shops that signed a contract with the company. Unauthorized shops were more likely to charge higher prices than authorized ones.

Apple has a new program. If you can fix your device yourself, you could save money. You could buy the parts from Apple and have someone else do the repair.

It is possible that this will encourage people to keep their products for longer, similar to the way regular maintenance on a car is done. Reducing technology waste and helping the environment are implications of that.

Apple was one of the most vocal opponents of the right to repair movement. The company kept parts and instructions out of the public eye because of security risks, like a customer's data being hijacked during an unauthorized repair.

This news is significant for non-Apple customers. If Apple is setting a new standard with repairs, other tech manufacturers will follow, especially if they want to avoid fines from the federal government.

Mr. Wiens said that they were proud of Apple for making this bold move.