Apple will begin supplying parts, tools, and repair guides to independent repair shops, which were previously unable to buy parts due to Apple’s required purchase volumes, which were too high for many businesses to become an authorized service provider. This is a reversal of Apple’s previous fight against consumers’ right to repair for their devices.
Apple announced its new program on Thursday, which will allow independent repair businesses to buy parts and other tools, according to a report by Reuters, which noted that the new repair program should help curb heavy demands for Apple and its authorized service providers to fix millions of cracked iPhone screens.
Many independent repair shops had previously found it too expensive to become one of Apple’s “authorized service providers,” which left the warranty work for bigger companies — such as Best Buy — to perform. Now, Apple will be offering its official parts for out-of-warranty repairs at the same price offered to authorized service providers.
The high cost of becoming Apple’s official service provider had resulted in states such as California and New York to consider “right-to-repair” laws. For years, Apple fought against the proposed legislation, which sought to mandate that the company supply parts to independent repair shops.
Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin says that Apple will likely benefit from its new repair program in the long run, though, as selling parts to independent repair shops would encourage iPhone owners to hand down their used smartphones to friends and family.
“That helps [Apple] get the product more affordably into the hands of more customers and increases the base,” said Bajarin. “Every data point seems to say, if you get someone into the Apple ecosystem, they generally don’t leave.”
The report added that Apple’s new program only applies to iPhones, which means that it excludes Mac laptops — which oftentimes need extensive repairs — prompting the company to launch a special service program.
“This is Apple realizing that the market for repair is larger than Apple could ever handle themselves, and providing independent technicians with genuine parts is a great step,” said Kyle Wiens, the chief executive of the repair guide company, iFixit.
Apple’s new program will be free to join, as long as each independent repair shop has an Apple-certified technician who has completed a free 40-hour training course and exam provided by the company, according to Reuters, which added that the shops will also be allowed to set their own repair prices, as well as offer cheaper aftermarket parts.