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Apple's new Self Service Repair - how hard can it be ?

01 Dec 2021

Apple will soon make self service repair kits and genuine Apple parts available to Australian consumers who want to service their iPhones. Who's up for it?


Apple has announced a Self Service Repair program which will allow customers "who are comfortable with completing their own repairs" to purchase Apple repair kits with genuine parts and tools.

So how comfortable does a consumer need to be to attempt an iPhone repair? 

Here is what we know so far.


When will Self Service Repair be available in Australia?

Apple Self Service Repair will first be made available from early 2022 in the United States, but Australians will not receive access until an unspecified date later in 2022. 


What Self Service Repairs are included?

Initially the Self Service Repair program will cover the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, and will then be followed by Mac computers featuring M1 chips.

Repair kits will be restricted to "the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera." 

This won't help consumers with older phones who are more likely to need a repair, with replacement batteries not usually needed until 18 months-2 years after purchase.


What will Self Service Repair Kits cost?

As anyone who has cracked a screen will attest, the cost of repairing an iPhone has always been eye-wateringly expensive. And it is the price of the genuine Apple parts that have made up a large component of the bill.

With each iteration of the iPhone the cost of repair seems to rise.  iPhone 12 repairs rose by 30% compared with the iPhone 11. Apple is charging more than A$439 to fix an iPhone 12 screen outside of warranty and A$309 for the iPhone 11 screen replacement.

Apple has released no pricing information for the Self Service Repair program.  


How can I order a Self Service Repair Kit?

According to Apple's media release, customers will be able place an order for Apple genuine parts and tools through a new Apple Self Service Repair Online Store. The new store will offer more than 200 individual parts and tools.


What will Apple provide in its Self Service Repair kits?

Pretty obvious really - 'how to' guides, manuals, tools, and parts. Apple  will be supporting videos

Kevin Purdy, a writer for online repair guide site iFixit, says Apple could sell various adhesives, specialty tools, individual screws, fasteners, custom presses, electrostatic discharge mats, and more.


How difficult will it be to repair my iPhone screen/battery/camera?

If you have difficulty with an Ikea flatpack, it might be wise to steer clear of tackling your iPhone self-repair. The iPhone is an intricate piece of electronics and has always been infamously difficult to repair.

The components are tiny, fragile and integrated. There is glue, glass, fasteners, software pairing, sensors...etc. 

Apple says its Self Repair program "is intended for individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices."

They warn "For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair."


What if my Self Service Repair fails?

This is likely to be a significant risk factor for the average uninitiated consumer. The answer is probably to take your botched repair to an authorised repairer. Or Apple does offer this option...."following the 'repair', customers who return their used part for recycling will receive credit toward their purchase."


What about corporate owned phones and Self Service Repair?

Organisations are going to have to decide whether they want to let employees loose on their corporate-owned devices. In theory the repair of a screen or replacement of a battery in itself, should not raise security concerns. However other questions might arise around workplace health and safety. reimbursement of expenses, and what happens if the repair fails.

An organisation might also see value in completing their own repairs inhouse. Typically a non-warranty repair would be prohibitively expensive and would take a minimum of two weeks with an obvious impact on productivity. If basic repairs like screen and battery replacements can be completed inhouse this could be a process improvement for organisations. 

It is worth noting that any device that needs to be repaired or replaced by an authorised Apple repair centre will simply swap in a replacement device with a new imei number, and IT administrators will need to update the Corporate Asset Registry, enrol the device, and add any custom corporate apps and email. 


Why is Apple introducing Self Service Repair?

The Self Service Repair program, quietly announced by media release, is a seismic shift for Apple.

The manufacturer has fought independent repair for years by restricting access to parts, manuals, and diagnostic tools;  by designing products that are difficult to fix; and by lobbying against laws that would enshrine the right to repair.

The move appears to be Apple’s primary strategy for getting out in front of potential regulatory action from the US Federal Trade Commission, who, in July 2021, pledged to address unlawful right to repair restrictions.  That pledge came days after a White House Executive Order saw President Biden call on the FTC to crack down on “unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair of items..."

At the same time Apple shareholder, Century Capital Management°, in September 2021 filed a shareholder resolution asking Apple to reconsider the "risks posed by the restrictive nature of the company’s product repair policies."

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Photo Credit: Apple Inc. 

About MobileCorp

MobileCorp is a Sydney-based communications technology company. We support enterprise and business by providing managed endpoints and ICT services including mobile device security, mobile device management, expense management and managed connectivity solutions. We are also a Telstra Platinum Partner and Telstra accredited 5G specialist partner.

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