back to article Magnanimous Apple will allow people to fix their iPhones using parts bought from its Self Service Repair program

Apple, having long stood in the way of customers who want to fix their own devices, now says it wants to help those who feel they have the right to repair their own products. On Wednesday the iBiz announced Self Service Repair, "which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple …

  1. Unbelievable!
    Megaphone

    Are the tables turning?

    After a two apple devices and an unmitigated HATE for i-tunes, apple's super ridiculous prices, on top of apples severe overpowering enforcement to negate user 'flexibility of choice and customisation' aka WE CONTROL THIS.. YOU DO IT OUR WAY!!, i'm beginning to recind on my abject avoidance of the stupid tax hard/soft -ware provider.

    My reasons are simple... M$ are moving into the niche created by apple, whilst apple moves out. Yet doubly worse because M$ gives up data, removes options of longevity and support, and equally just does what it want's in terms of FORCING consumers. A cloud-based-only anything is not what everyone wants, nor needs, yet forcing new hardware to accomplish it's desires, at users costs, is tantamount to apple. At least Apples business model was clear from the start. ish.

    ~IF~ apple moves more toward the gap M$ is leaving behind, i shall certainly consider it an option, expensive, but definitely an option/.

    1. DryBones

      Re: Are the tables turning?

      Before you get too celebratory, consider the following:

      1) Apple sells the repair kit. So they get all the profit.

      2) If the consumer stuffs up their kit while repairing, it's likely not a warranty item as it was consumer caused damage. But Apple will be happy to sell them a new one, or such.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: Are the tables turning?

        And let's not forget we're talking about kit from last year. So folks with older kit will be SOL.

        Upgrade or be damned, right?

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Are the tables turning?

          They have to start somewhere...

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Are the tables turning?

        I hate Apple but having followed Right To Repair

        1. People in the movement aren't bothered about this. They just wanted Apple to do it.

        2. Not a problem really. Although I believe the "Break this seal and you void your warranty" aren't actually legally binding.

  2. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Apple will allow people to fix their iPhones

    Wow, I believe the Christmas ice-skating rink opened in Hell today too.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Apple will allow people to fix their iPhones

      You came very close to owing me a new keyboard, haven't laughed much today except for that.

    2. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: Apple will allow people to fix their iPhones

      "Wow, I believe the Christmas ice-skating rink opened in Hell today too."

      You might ask Lucy but i believe the skating rink is always open in hell.

      Lets see if Ebag had his hands in Apples T&C.

      (For those not getting the reference, Webcomic "Adventures of God", published un Webtoons.)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A good step

    Whilst I expect the parts to be expensive, the shonky kits I’ve used from eBay et al usually result in a working phone but much poorer quality screen and when it comes to Li-Ion batteries I’ll always be more comfortable with a genuine part.

    I’ll wait to see pricing prior to celebrating too hard, though.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: A good step

      Indeed. I thought I was being sensible buying both the tools required (heat pad, spudger etc) and a battery required from iFixit to give my Galaxy S8 a new lease of life. The 'new' battery lasts no longer than the 30 month old battery it replaced. So that's 35 quid and a couple of hours wasted.

      iFixit do good work, but they are a business often presenting themselves as a consumer advocacy group. The Reg is curiously uncritical of them, and often takes their position as gospel.

      By the way, official Samsung battery replacement service is roughly the same price as the official Apple service. I.e, roughly ten percent of the original cost of the device.

      1. Shalghar Bronze badge

        Re: A good step

        This is exactly why i have invested in a collection of tools and buy the necessary parts for my aged whatevertronics from sources that specialise in them.

        I have also made poor experiences with those "tools and spare parts in one box" offers and prefer to be able to choose any part and any tool i might require from appropriately specialised - and different - sources.

        Those one in a box offers always seem to lack in quality, either of the tools, the parts or even both.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: A good step

          "Those one in a box offers always seem to lack in quality, either of the tools, the parts or even both."

          My experience is that the tools appear to have a life expectancy of the one repair they were bought for, if that. Cheap and nasty stuff.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch for the fine print on this one.

    Having been the manager of an Apple Authorised Service Centre some 30 years ago, this change is so against Apple's corporate DNA that I expect they will throw some road blocks in the way and generally make the whole process so painful that most people will give up and just continue to buy gray market parts.

    The Apple article states "To ensure a customer can safely perform a repair, it’s important they first review the Repair Manual" Expect to have to answer a multiple choice quiz to prove that you have read the Repair Manual before you can buy parts.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      New screen sir? Very reasonable at only £199, sir. Oh, and you're also required to purchase the repair guide manual, just £499.

      Oh, you've already got one from a previous repair? I'm sorry sir, that won't do. Things may have changed in the intervening time...

      [*] All prices made up on the spot. Prices may go down as well as up. Your house is at risk if you fail to keep up mortgage payments. Consult your doctor and your pharmacist regarding side effects.

      1. Chris G

        A spudger with rounded corners at a snip, only $299.99.

        Also don't forget to not hold your tools wrong.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        New screen sir? Very reasonable at only £199, sir. Oh, and you're also required to purchase the repair guide manual, just £499.

        You can get an Apple Iphone 11 screen repaired for £194 and they will do it for you while you wait.

        Don't break an Iphone 13 pro screen Max though, that's going to be £316.

        Other end of the scale, iPhone SE. £136.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          @werdsmith

          And for perspective, 2 of those those screen repair prices more than my phone cost to buy (not an iPhone obviously)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @A/C

      So your opinion is from 30 years ago?

      That makes your opinion as valid as the tossers that keep regurgitating "Macs don't get viruses" and still think it's funny.

      That tagline was also from about 30 years ago.

      Do you think that things might just possibly have changed since then?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        corporate culture changes way slower than memes!

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Fair?

    I bet they will be offering the same thing as some "repair friendly" companies - that is the whole assemblies at inflated prices rather that individual components that could go wrong.

    Charging chip dead? You will have to buy an entire motherboard for $xxx rather than just the chip for $5.

    I hope I am wrong.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Fair?

      On the other hand: the vast majority of people, I suspect, would far rather pay the couple of hundred quid for an assembly that 'just' plugs in and is likely to work, over spending a fiver for the part simply because they have neither the tools nor the ability to replace the chip.

      I've been soldering for nearly fifty years, in a professional environment, and I'm still leery of some of the recent smaller packages, particularly grid array types, without the proper equipment. Which is not necessarily cheap - a ten quid Antex isn't going to be the soldering iron to use for this sort of stuff.

      1. Lennart Sorensen

        Re: Fair?

        Well apparently to replace the keyboard on a macbook requires buying an assembly containing the entire top of the case (case, touchpad, keyboard, battery, etc). Apple won't sell you just a keyboard. SO that makes your keyboard repair $400 rather than $50 that most other laptops would be.

        I suspect most people would rather go to a repair shop that knows what they are doing (which means one that isn't authorized by apple of course) and pay $100 than pay apple $400 for an assembly to do it themselves. Of course Apple has no interest in allowing that. They only want to pretend they are allowing repairs.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Fair?

          "Well apparently to replace the keyboard on a macbook requires buying an assembly containing the entire top of the case (case, touchpad, keyboard, battery, etc). Apple won't sell you just a keyboard. SO that makes your keyboard repair $400 rather than $50 that most other laptops would be."

          Depending on the model, that's not unheard of. Some Lenovo models are like that too. Most of the business grade stuff, a keyboard swap is easy and takes under 5 minutes. But some are part of the cover and involve an almost total strip down to swap because it's a sealed unit meaning a drinks spill isn't likely to wreck the main board, SSD, battery, or anything else inside the main case. The Carbon X1 would be an example of that while the majority of L, P and X range, don't have that extra protection, but are cheap and easy to fix. Unless it's a spillage related keyboard fault in which case it may be a write-off, if not now, then in the near future.

      2. jvf

        Re: Fair?

        I've been soldering for 50 years also and I still suck at it.

      3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Fair?

        Maybe the individual won't be able to solder it, but you could still get the chip and go to the bloke down the road who will solder it for xx. Still way cheaper than whole assembly.

        Now maybe BGA chips can indeed pose a difficulty, replacing a tiny QFN chip is really a minute job and it's very simple.

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Fair?

      Even if the charging chip were available at a reasonable price, this particular fix is way beyond what your kitchen table tinkerer will be able to do.

      I'm pretty handy, being able to do diagnosis, sub-assembly replacement, and on older devices, soldering of through-board components. But I find surface mount components hard, not having hot air re-work stations, microscopes and board heaters. And looking at Louis Rossmann's videos, Apple products use every trick in the book to make their devices small, leading to difficult component level repairs.

      It's the independent repairers that I would want to do this type of fix, and I'm wondering what hurdles they will put in for these people. I can see a situation where you have to prove that you personally bought the device before Apple is prepared to sell replacements to try to exclude the independents from the market.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Far be it from me to actually defend Apple, but it must be said that there's not much room in a smartphone to begin with, so the components do have to be small.

        It may not be practical, but it is a choice imposed by the format, not by wanting to make things difficult.

        1. Lennart Sorensen

          Well using glue all over is a choice they made that they didn't have to do.

    3. Annihilator

      Re: Fair?

      The resource cost to re-ball a charging module onto a board would probably run into the $xxx range anyway - whether it works is another question too.

    4. Snowy Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Fair?

      Going from their past repair programs it does not look good. Louis Rossmann put out a video on the matter just yesterday.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jCtVDCiY_8

  6. cb7

    Definitely sounds like a step in the right direction.

    I hope it arrives in Blighty sooner rather than later.

    I just hope it's not like Dell/Lenovo/other manufacturers where the required parts are never in stock or if they are, the price puts the cost to repair the device awfully close to the cost to replace it.

    1. Lennart Sorensen

      Oh don't worry, Apple's prices are much higher than that.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parts available from the US

    Postage costs to overseas customers: Exorbitant

  8. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Apple didn't do it by pure magnanimity, but because the market is changing.

    It shows that customers ask more and more to be able to fix their devices rather than buying new stuff and throwing the old one in the bin. It's a very positive move.

    Next step: forbid companies to install any blocking device artificially blocking installation of components bought from other companies. Competition is good for customers, isn't it?

  9. Eff Flintstone

    "Definitely sounds like a step in the right direction."

    Sounding like a step in the right direction is the marketing objective.

    Not being one is the business model.

    Plus ça Change.

  10. Archivist

    I used non-apple parts to repair my family's iPhones* but the quality was often sub-standard.

    Now we just take them to the Apples Store and get them to do it. It's a bit more expensive but far less hassle.

    Would I bother again, even with genuine parts? No.

    * With 12 iPhones in the family there was nearly always one needing attention!

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "it's great to see that Apple finally agrees"

    Woah there, pardner, Apple does not agree yet.

    It's just mouthing the words. Wait for the acts before celebrating.

  12. rob miller

    Also a theft improvement

    The main value in a stolen iPhone now seems to be parting it out and selling the bits on eBay, so this might eventually reduce that problem.

  13. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    CEO of a stealth startup

    Last time it was "CEO of an undisclosed startup": https://www.theregister.com/2021/11/05/nasa_software_licenses/

    Good idea to change it. "CEO of a stealth startup" must look way better on a business card. Plus you get to not answer the inevitable questions, à la Jethro Bodine, double-naught-spy:

    Q: "Stealth startup, what's that?"

    A: "I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you."

  14. knarf

    Cheap Parts even Apple can tell the difference

    Reason I like iphones is the cheap parts from Amazon / Ebay,

    The iphone 7 I traded in to the Apple shop with a £20 screen from Amazon was good enough to rate it A+ rating. If Apple can't tell its inferior then who can.

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