Apple’s strong hesitance to allow iPhone users to repair their own devices is finally a thing of the past. The Right to Repair movement has pushed for years to get the Cupertino-based tech giant to publish repair manuals online and make replacement parts for cell phones available to its customers.
Starting now, iPhone 13, iPhone 12, and iPhone SE owners can access repair manuals for their devices online. This will help many users avoid having to shell out to buy a brand-new phone when their old one suffers minor damage. It’s also a major step to future sustainability, as fewer phones being purchased will result in less electronic waste.
The new program, called Self Service Repair, will allow tech-savvy customers to make their own repairs to their damaged handsets. Experts have noted that repairing smartphones is tricky — they sport numerous hidden screws and complex assembly processes. Opening a touch-screen smartphone without damaging the internal components is a time-consuming and laborious process.
However, the Right to Repair movement is unconcerned with the difficulty of effecting such repairs. The movement simply wanted Apple to recognize users’ rights to tinker with their own property, and for Apple to make repair manuals widely available online.
Apple offered an official statement on the new program, saying it felt now was the right time to make this change. “We believe we have a responsibility to customers and the environment to offer convenient access to safe, reliable, and secure repairs to help customers get the most out of their devices,” the tech company said in its press release.
Some users online have noted that Apple might not be altruistic in offering these repair manuals. The Right to Repair movement has gained considerable traction in recent years, and some lawmakers are now considering making these provisions required by law. Apple might simply be getting out ahead of a shifting regulatory landscape.
The Self Service Repair program is currently only operational in the US, but Apple says it has plans to expand it to Europe by the end of the year. Moreover, the program currently only covers three of the company’s handsets: the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone SE. Apple has stated it has no plans to make the program available for phones manufactured before 2020.
This means owners of phones older than the iPhone 11 will still need to rely on licensed Apple repair technicians. However, many tech enthusiasts still see this as a step in the right direction for Apple, given its prior hesitance to allow users to repair their own devices.