Broken Screen? Need a Battery Replacement? Apple Wants to Make More iPhone Repair Shops Near You
Apple is trying to make it easier to fix your iPhone.
The tech giant on Thursday announced a new Independent Repair Provider Program that allows repair shops to source their replacement parts directly from Apple. Apple will also supply them with the tools and repair manuals the company's Geniuses and authorized service providers use to fix hardware.
“When a repair is needed, a customer should have confidence the repair is done right," Apple COO Jeff Williams said in a statement. "We believe the safest and most reliable repair is one handled by a trained technician using genuine parts that have been properly engineered and rigorously tested."
Apple's move comes just a few weeks after the company came under fire from Right to Repair advocates who criticized a software feature that hobbles iPhones with batteries repaired outside of Apple's authorized repair shops.
Apple's announcement Thursday did not address the software feature, which likely means it is staying in place. That means if iPhone owners go to an unauthorized repair shop to get a new battery, Apple's software will determine it wasn't replaced by an authorized service technician and display a warning in the iPhone's battery settings that the software cannot "verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple battery."
Right to Repair advocates believe when customers buy a new product, they should be able to use any service provider they want to fix the device. They also fear price-gouging by forcing consumers to use a manufacturer's own providers.
Apple has said that its policy centers on improving the reliability of its hardware. Replacement parts purchased from third-parties and repaired by those who aren't certified may cause more problems than benefits, the company claims.
Until this new program, Apple device owners who want certified repairs have had to visit a Genius at Apple's retail stores or send in their devices for repair. They could also find an authorized service repair technician. In June, Apple signed a deal with Best Buy to allow the retailer's service technicians to fix Apple hardware with certified parts.
Apple's new independent service program could be an important step in expanding the number of places customers can get repairs. It also drives a new revenue stream for Apple, which will supply those companies with all the technology they need to make those repairs.
Apple's program is now open to any company that wants to service the company's hardware. Companies can sign up for free and will need at least one technician certified on Apple repairs. That, too, is a free service.
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