Apple’s ‘Self Service Repair’ — How Come Now?

Bhavesh Rawat

Apple’s notorious when it comes to controlling its user’s will and manipulating their decisions with its strict and anti-consumer rules and policy. Apple had been always against the whole ‘Right-to-Repair’ idea that’s been wide-spreading over consumer electronics goods for the last 5 years.

Remember the 5-point screws on each side of the charging port, those were solely designed by Apple to restrict the non-authorised store from getting into iPhones. You can’t unscrew the screws without a right screwdriver, and to get that screwdriver, you’d have to be an Authorised Apple Store. And, that’s how Apple used to screw its users.

After that, when eventually people got their hands on the screwdriver, Apple made it impossible to replace the screen of the iPhone 13 without breaking the FaceID feature, even if it’s an original Apple screen. It was only a matter of time until people found out that you must replace the microcontroller chip connected to the original screen. But guess what, that chip is embedded in the motherboard socket, and again makes it nearly impossible for the non-authorised stores to extract it without the manuals and right resources which is restricted by Apple.

This is also done by Google in their new Google Pixel 6 Series, if you replace the screen with another Pixel 6 Pro screen the fingerprint becomes unaccessible. But unlike Apple, they have a pretty easy approach to fix that.
You can just visit this website and install the fingerprint calibration software on your Pixel and everything happens like magic, kind of.

Right-to-Repair demands that manufacturers make authentic spare parts of a product available to buyers of that product, giving them the power to get their product repaired from independent repair shops instead of depending solely on the manufacturer for authentic parts.
- Financial Express

Coming to ‘How Come Now?’ part
Apple, who was trying every trick up its sleeve to delay the ‘Right-to-Repair’ effect on itself, announced ‘Self Service Repair’ on 17 November 2021.

“Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed”
- Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO.

Now this means that Apple will be providing genuine parts and tools to individuals who are capable of repairing their devices using the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store.

Numerous reasons that I think made Apple take this step.

  • Getting called out by Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    Apple came into Federal Trade Commission’s radar for hurting independent businesses by restricting the access of their genuine products and repair manuals to only Apple Authorised Stores. And, if anyone tried to upload the resources online, Apple would send copyright and make them take down the content.
    Source: 9to5Mac
  • President Biden bringing a law to bring to counter Apple’s practices
    In July, Biden made it clear that they will be releasing a law soon to stop these malpractices and force these big dogs to make their resources available to every consumer.
    Apple took this as an alarm and released the Self Service Repair to avoid any future complications to the company.
    Source: 9to5Mac
  • Steve Wozniak backing ‘Right-to-Repair’
    I think Steve Wozniak understands the importance of ‘Right-to-Repair’ because he has experienced it in his early days. He even says that Apple products wouldn’t have been possible without the “open-technology”
    “We wouldn’t have had an Apple had I not grown up in a very open technology world”
    “It’s time to recognise the right to repair more fully.”
    - Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-Founder
    Source: BBC
  • Apple prolly found a way to make it "worth" it
    Now, this is solely my assumption, but let’s be real. Apple’s a business, and a business’s top priority is to bring revenue.
    Whenever we get happy with a business’s decision thinking it will profit the end-user so much. We tend to forget that the business has thought this through and will eventually profit itself without us being aware, if that’s necessary, which isn’t a bad thing, at all. Businesses are there to do just that; release a product/upgrade, if it doesn’t make the user happy, make them suck it up, *coughs* Apple *coughs*, and if it does, bonus.
    Apple has also thought this through, they will be selling the genuine product at a much higher cost and might bring down the effective cost of the same service in their authorized store.
    Let’s say, first, the total amount of screen replacement was $150 ($80 screen + $70 labor charge), and the non-authorized charges for the same service for $120 ($80 screen + $40 labor charge). And, now if Apple sells the genuine screen for $100, and you take it to the shop, the amount will be $140. You’ll be happy as you saved $10. On the other hand, Apple made an extra $20 on that screen.
    *These prices are just for understanding purposes and not to be taken seriously.

On the good side
But after this move from Apple, let’s look at the good side. Apple, being a trendsetter *coughs* Adapter *coughs* will steer other manufacturers to work on their ‘Right-to-Repair’ policies. After a few years, this will result in a very independent tech era where you’ll be able to find any genuine part, repair manual online, and visit any local store of your choice and get your device repaired. No crowded areas, long lines in stores, and the experience of repairing your device on your own, of course, with the help of a manual.

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A tech enthusiast with a great interest in gadgets and gears.


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