Apple promised it in November 2021, repairing an iPhone yourself is now possible. In the United States, the Self Service Repair Store is online. But is it really a good idea?
Apple continues to make efforts vis-à-vis the right to repair. Several months after announcing its intention to sell spare parts for its products, and a few weeks after expanding the list of its partners to include major players such as Fnac-Darty, the Californian brand is finally launching its Self Service Repair Store in USA. In this store with an unusual look (it is not designed by Apple, but by a partner), there are spare parts, tools, but also guides to understand how to replace a part. Its launch dates from April 27, 2022.
An exclusive launch in the United States
Initially, as initially agreed, Apple reserves its Self Service Repair Store for its American customers. 200 products are listed and are intended for iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and the latest iPhone SE. Later this year, other products will arrive, such as Macs equipped with an Apple Silicon chip (M1, but also probably M2 by then).
When will Europe be entitled to it? Apple promises that our continent will be served next, in the course of 2022. Apple will surely wait for the first feedback before launching in France and elsewhere.
Repairing an iPhone yourself, good idea?
On paper, the Apple Self Service Repair Store is great news. Manufacturers are often accused of doing everything to make their products difficult to repair, they are now starting to make efforts to facilitate their repair (Samsung and Google have announced similar intentions). The publication on Apple’s official website of complete guides to correctly disassemble a product and reassemble it brings necessary transparency to the electronics market, we can only congratulate the Californian brand for that (and the authorities who have been lobbying for several years).
However, one can ask questions about the limits of the Self Service Repair Store.
- First, Apple does not offer these parts on its own site, but on that of its partner, with a very different design from that usually used by the brand. The uninformed user might believe that it is a fake site, and finally give up. We imagine that this is no coincidence.
- Then, we can ask ourselves questions about the prices charged by Apple. Changing the screen on an iPhone 13 Pro Max costs $309.96, with $33.60 refunded if you return the old screen. Problem, the repair of a screen in the Apple Store out of warranty costs… 329 dollars. The gap is very small, while the repair is risky and might destroy the iPhone. It is for this reason that Apple indicates in several places that home repair is not for everyone. Another example is the battery at $69, which is the same as the price of in-store repair by a professional (even if you can get a refund of $24.15 with the old battery).
- To carry out these repairs, it is necessary to have tools adapted to the house. Apple offers a toolkit for $49, but they must be returned after 7 days. This is a rental. Otherwise, the tools can be purchased indefinitely, but some, such as those dedicated to the screen, cost more than $200 each.
A great change, but not for everyone
Despite everything, we can salute the diversity of the first components offered by Apple. There are those that cost the most (battery, loudspeaker, screen, camera module, vibrator, etc.), but also the smallest components at very low prices (the drawer for the SIM card at $7.20, screw at 20 cents…). Not having to go to the Apple Store if your drawer no longer fits properly is good news, especially since you will be able to mix colors if you want.
If this huge step taken by Apple is to be welcomed, it seems important to remember that most of the repairs offered by Apple are reserved for the most knowledgeable users. For others, both economically and for safety, it is better to have the repair done by a real professional.