CUPERTINO, Calif. - Apple has opened its Self Service Repair online store, which offers manuals and parts for customers seeking to fix their iPhones themselves, amid a strengthening "right to repair" movement.
The company on Wednesday announced the opening of the online shop and said it will sell more than 200 individual parts and tools, including iPhone screws, cameras, displays, batteries and SIM card trays. Previously, Apple customers had to reply on the company’s repair service or an authorized independent repair provider to fix devices.
The self-service repair shop is specifically for customers with the iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone SE (3rd generation), allowing those "who are experienced with the complexities of repairing electronic devices" to do their own repairs at home.
Apple said the shop is currently only available in the United States but will expand to additional countries later this year, starting in Europe.
To start the process, Apple stressed that customers should first review the repair manual for the product they want to repair by visiting support.apple.com/self-service-repair. After, they can order the necessary parts and tools on the Apple Self Service Repair Store.
"Every genuine Apple part is designed and engineered for each product, and goes through extensive testing to ensure the highest quality, safety, and reliability," Apple said in a statement. "The parts are the same ones — at the same price — as those available to Apple’s network of authorized repair providers."
Customers can rent tool kits for one week for $49 with free shipping if they don’t want to buy them outright. In some cases, they will also receive credit when returning a replaced part for recycling, the company said.
The company noted how "the vast majority of customers" do not have experience repairing electronic devices and said visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians "is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair."
‘Right to repair’ movement
Why add the Self Service Repair shop? Apple said the move is part of its efforts to further expand access to repairs amid a growing "right to repair" movement, targeting everything from smartphones to videogame consoles and even tractors.
Unavailable parts, instruction manuals and diagnostic software and tools, product design restrictions, and locks on software embedded in devices have made many consumer products harder to fix and maintain, regulators and industry critics say.
On the other hand, many manufacturers have maintained that repair restrictions are needed to safeguard intellectual property, protect consumers from injuries that could result from fixing a product or using one that was improperly repaired, and guard against cybersecurity risks. Manufacturers say they could face liability or harm to their reputation if independent repair shops make faulty equipment repairs.
FILE - A person fixes a mobile phone at a shop in San Francisco, California, on Aug. 23, 2013. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Biden administration, and state legislatures have been eyeing regulatory changes that would make it easier for Americans to repair their broken devices. In July, the FTC unanimously adopted a policy statement supporting the "right to repair" that pledges beefed-up enforcement efforts and could open the way to new regulations.
"These types of (repair) restrictions can significantly raise costs for consumers, stifle innovation, close off business opportunity for independent repair shops, create unnecessary electronic waste, delay timely repairs and undermine resiliency," FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement in July 2021. "The FTC has a range of tools it can use to root out unlawful repair restrictions, and today’s policy statement would commit us to move forward on this issue with new vigor."
A repair directive was also included in an executive order President Joe Biden also issued last summer, targeting what he labeled anti-competitive practices in tech, healthcare, banking and other key parts of the economy.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.