Apple to support customers to repair their own phones and Mac computers

Apple is set to launch a new 'self-service' repair offering for iPhone and Mac users in 2022, whereby people will be provided with spare parts, tools and instructions to repair their own tech.

Apple to support customers to repair their own phones and Mac computers

Customers in the US will be the first to benefit from the new repair option

The service will be made available for iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models in the US from the start of 2022, with an initial focus on the most common phone repairs including cracked screens, damaged cameras and battery issues.

By the end of the first quarter, the self-service repair offer will be live in the US for the latest generation of MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros and Mac Minis.

Apple is planning to expand the programme to other nations in 2022 and, in time, to offer authentic parts, tools and manuals for other product lines and other generations of iPhones and Macs.

The service will operate online, with customers invited to download a repair manual and then to place an online order for parts and tools. Once the repair is completed, the customers are encouraged to send back the tools and the used part or parts with a credit voucher incentive. Some 200 parts and tools are being made available in the first instance.

Apple is emphasizing the fact that the service is aimed at “ individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices”, and that most people will still likely visit a professional repair provider. The firm has doubled the number of service locations with verified tools, parts and training since 2018, amid growing sales and accusations of planned obsolescence from policymakers, green groups and citizens’ groups. It now has more than 5,000 employees trained to provide repairs, and a network of 2,800 independent repair providers.

“Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” said Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams.

As well as improving the repairability of products and expanding recycling and repair service offerings, Apple claims it designs “long-lasting products that hold value for years”, with “durability and longevity” in mind.

However, the company has faced several lawsuits in recent years over planned or programmed obselecence, including one in France in 2018, one in Portugal this March, and one in Chile this April.

Here in the UK, MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) last year concluded an inquiry into e-waste, resulting in a string of policy recommendations that would hold producers of electronics and electricals more responsible for the lifecycle of their products. These include The EAC is also advocating for a reduction in VAT on repair services.

Apple was raised as a particular cause for concern by the EAC, for allegedly making items hard to repair unless they are taken to a specialist. Amazon and other online-only retailers were also under fire for failing to have easy-to-access, in-person repair and recycling services for devices such as tablets, e-readers and speakers.  

Sarah George

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