Year after year, Apple shows itself to be more and more attentive to its fans and concerned about the environment, by manufacturing its new iPhone, iPad and Mac from 100% recycled materials (gold, tin, rare earths), of aluminum enclosures, the elimination of plastic. As proof, it is continuing this change of course with its new Self Service Repair program, which allows DIYers to do their own repairs and pollute less.
What is this service and how does it work? Does it really meet user needs?
What is Self Service Repair?
After having long been reluctant to the right to repair, Apple has finally given in and offers its Self Service Repair program. Announced at the end of 2021, it landed in April 2022 in the United States, later to follow 22 additional countries, including France.
This service wants to offer, initially to owners of iPhone 12, 13 and SE (2022), the possibility of repairing their iPhone themselves, Apple assures that it will be extended to MacBook M1.
For the moment, it is possible to refurbish the iPhone screen, the battery, the camera, the motor for haptic feedback, the low speaker or even the SIM support. Other more technical recoveries will come during the year.
To help, a free repair manual is available, which allows you to correctly identify the parts (over 200) to be replaced and the necessary tools, which are offered for sale and rental. All orders are made from the dedicated Apple Self Service Repair online storefront.
Following the repair, you can return the replaced parts and obtain a purchase credit in exchange.
For example, replacing the camera sensor in your iPhone 12 will cost you $111.75, upon receipt of the damaged sensor you will receive $52.50, they will be returned to you as a credit upon receipt and approval of your part.
Note: We recommend this program to users with “expert” hands and dexterity. This joins Apple, which often insists that it is always better to go to an Apple Store and call on the Genius Bar or an authorized repairer. Indeed, any damage caused will not be covered by Apple. So think twice before getting your hands dirty!
Is Self Service Repair worth it?
Apple’s self-service repair service is in line with the anti-waste law and the circular economy model and the recycling of materials and parts. But it enters, also and above all, into a new American legislation which guarantees the right to repair (Right to Repair), voted by the Federal Trade Commission; it concerns electronic devices and automobiles (cars, tractors, etc.).
Beyond recycling and consumer responsibility, this Apple program also saves money since the repair avoids spending more on a new iPhone. In principle, everything is there to seduce anyone, but in practice, is it just as obvious?
Self Service Repair isn’t perfect yet, but with time and early reviews, we’re sure Apple will improve.
The grains of sand in the gear
Its main flaw, in our eyes, is the requirement to provide the serial number or IMEI of the phone as well as a six-digit code found in the repair manual to order the spare part. Once installed, you must call an Apple representative to associate the part with the phone. It will thus be identified as authentic and functional.
This process has two drawbacks. The first is that it limits repair operations with third-party parts, warning the repairer that they may compromise certain features of the phone. This dissuasive message could block any repairer in his tracks.
The second is that the repair shops of remanufacturing companies, for example, will not be able to stock genuine parts to make quick, genuine repairs for their customers.
Result ? Apple continues its system of exclusivity by forcing the consumer and the reconditioner to remain within its fold, therefore nothing can be done outside the Apple environment, from spare parts to manuals and through its tools.
And, the competition is crushed. Which is a shame when you know that Google, Samsung and Motorola have no such obligations.
Also, with this pairing system, the firm has the power to close a repair line if it wishes. Indeed, as soon as the iPhone 12 and 13 ranges are exceeded, the manufacturer may decide to stop all access to parts. Your authentic part could be reported as not being authentic, even though it works.
With this reinforced control, Apple is returning full foot to planned obsolescence…
Apple and its prices
Another stumbling block in the program, the unfortunate tendency of the Californian firm to charge high prices. The latter are very likely to discourage potential customers and push them towards the purchase of a new product, in which case Apple wins (once again), or towards refurbished products offered by a professional, such as BackMarket, Rebuy, Amazon, Baker.
As seen above, renting a kit costs $49, or €46, it contains a lot of accessories, but its loan only lasts 7 days…hence the importance of being skilful in his hands. If this is your case, perhaps a basic kit with Novodio and iFixit disassembly and repair tools at €9.90 and €19.90 respectively will suffice. At iFixit, more complete kits are sold at €59.95 for the iPhone 12/12 Pro, which is cheaper than Apple. And, once in your possession, you can use them for as long as you need.
Two other reasons why Self Service Repair can slow down: an iPhone 12 screen repaired by Apple costs €310 compared to $269.95 (€255.63) for an in-house repair.
For 54 € of difference and the risk of failure, it is in our eyes preferable to send your iPhone 12 directly to Apple.
Finally, unlike Self Service Repair, this service is not reserved only for the last 3 generations of telephones and is open to the iPad, Watch Series, AirPods, etc.
Also, don’t forget that if you have Apple Care+, the screen change is charged at 29 €…
Self Service Repair: A failed attempt?
Hunt the natural, it comes back at a gallop!
The Self Service Repair program has been long awaited by Apple fans. Seeing the prices of iPhones increase and their device not being resistant to daily falls, they were keen to repair their iOS themselves rather than renewing it or repairing it at expensive prices.
But, it was without counting on the fact that the firm padlocks its service and, as usual, offers not very affordable prices…
The fact remains that this is a very significant about-face on the part of Apple, and that this new birth leaves a lot of room for improvement. And who knows, maybe she’ll loosen the screws as she goes…