Apple Self-Repair Program; Hit or Miss for Technicians?

by Fana Anwar
Apple's Self-Repair Program

It is not often that the global IT powerhouse gets it wrong, so when it does, people take notice. Apple released its self-repair program to allow product users to buy authentic device parts directly from them. Without a repair shop as a middle man, the users could forgo the charges for the shop’s service. They can now repair their device themselves if they have the skills. In addition, the customer would even get Apple’s store credit! but only if they returned the part they were replacing so that it can be recycled. Apple’s self-repair program is supposed to produce high-quality parts specifically made to endure professional repair operations.

Sounds relatively accessible and straightforward, right? Well, it is not. The truth about the program is a little different, and here is why;

The topsy-turvy manual

Even experienced repair technicians find the extensive manual challenging to understand. It is a 100-page spread that does not seem to have been designed with user-friendliness in mind. Each Apple device repair requires a manual that must be read through. It walks the individual through the repair process and informs them of all the parts that need to be purchased. The manuals for these repairs are available for free on the Apple website. However, the accessibility does nothing for the complexity of the instructions. For a walk-through, it sure does make you jump quite a few hurdles to understand it.

The expensive ordeal

Like most things Apple, the tools come at a steep price. Buying them is an expense not many shop owners or individuals can afford. To address this issue, Apple offers a rental repair tool kit for a week for a fee of $49. The program may have been to make self-repair more accessible, but the price makes this initiative a bit ineffective. Such a cost for a set of tools for only a week seems unreasonable. Especially when you consider that in practice, you may have lesser time. You are expected to drop the kit back off at the courier by the 7th day. If you fail to do so, you will be charged an unspecified fee and tax.

Moreover, Apple states that your credit card will have a temporary authorization placed on it when renting. This is to cover the cost of replacing their tools in case of any issue. However, this amount is also unspecified as the price of the kits varies depending on the model. And some tools do not appear to have been listed separately at all. So, if the procedure wasn’t already confusing enough, there are more layers to it, just in case.

The smallest tool kit available to buy costs approximately $914. Note that this is the package with the least about of tools present as it is for the iPhone SE. For other phone models, there can be around an additional $360 added to the initial price. And the real punch comes in that the kit’s price remains constant regardless of the service you need the tools for.

So, if you need to repair the speaker of the phone, you would still need to buy or rent the whole kit, including the tools that are not required for that specific repair. So, if you are on a budget, this isn’t the option for you. The whole ordeal turns the straightforward premise into a pretty twisted and backward procedure.

The limited range

Another wrench in the plans is that the program only has parts available for the newer models of its phones. Mainly the ones released from 2021 and onwards. Apple does plan to introduce parts for Silicon chipped Mac computers to the lineup. This alienates the older models such as the iPhone 11 and below and the Macs without the Apple Silicon chip.

The Right to Repair movement

Considering how Apple was the staunchest advocate against the Right to Repair movement for the longest time before the government said otherwise. The motivations behind this initiative seem suspicious, to say the least. It is no secret that Apple was basically cornered into forming a program due to the European Union’s new policies. Some are worried that access to genuine parts and repair manuals is a step in the right direction, but the company’s policies may be just a roundabout way of pushing their agenda further. Apple requires that while buying the replacement parts, the device’s serial number must be provided; experts state that this could be a means to hinder future repairs further.

Just the hurdles one has to face to fix their iPhones this way is enough of a setback for self-repair, perhaps a calculated measure for the company. The IT powerhouse’s initial policy urged consumers to purchase a new device instead of fixing even minor issues. The general consensus is that the step is a ploy on Apple’s part to silence the people who criticized their no repair rights stance.

Always a Bright Side

However, it is not all wrong with the Apple approach. The iPhones are considered complex devices, so it is not surprising that you need an array of specialized instruments to repair them authentically. Fixing the phone with genuine parts from Apple will ensure that your device’s resale value does not drop drastically with just one repair job. And if that wasn’t enough for savings, you can even send Apple the defective parts you are replacing and receive store credit that you can accumulate to buy new ones.

However small, Apple’s self-repair program signifies Apple’s surrender to the right-to-repair movement. This gives us hope that the industry is in for a revolution towards a more accessible repair route.

Rallying for Repair

RepairDesk has always been a steadfast supporter of the Right to Repair movement. From building a repair shop software to trying to build a community of industry members to help peers grow their business, we believe in the freedom to repair. Regardless of the possible hidden intentions and unnecessary complexities, Apple’s self-repair program does seem to be a step in the right direction. So, as long as appropriate sanctions are imposed on the company to deter any untoward activity towards the repair sector, and affordability is given another consideration, this would be a definite win in our books!

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