Apple is launching its DIY phone repair service in the US today, making spare parts available for the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and third-generation iPhone SE. When the company announced its “Self Service Repair” initiative last year, Apple said it planned to sell over 200 “individual parts and tools” to customers. They’re only available in the US for now, but Apple plans to expand the program to other countries as well as additional devices, like Macs equipped with M1 chips, later this year.
Parts are available through Apple’s Self Service Repair Store. Tool rental kits will also be available to rent for seven days at a cost of $49 for customers who don’t want to buy tools outright, the company said in its press release.
The program marks a significant shift for Apple, which has historically placed limits on the availability of genuine replacement parts. While alternative, aftermarket parts are sometimes available, Apple’s devices have occasionally shown ominous warning signs if they’ve been repaired with non-genuine components. However, with the Self Service Repair initiative, anyone in the US is free to buy a replacement part directly from Apple, safe in the knowledge that it should function exactly as intended.
Apple previously cautioned that its DIY repair program is aimed at “individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices” and that the “vast majority of customers” should still go to a professional repairer. But there’s nothing stopping confident customers from attempting repairs themselves, and Apple is offering repair manuals that are available to view before purchasing parts.
Apple says parts will be sold to customers at the same price as its existing authorized repair providers and that, in some cases, it’ll offer a credit if customers return a replaced part for recycling. For example, TechCrunch notes that an iPhone 12 or 13 battery costs $69 with a potential $24.15 credit for returning a replaced part. Displays for the same phones range in price from $225.96 to $309.96 with a potential $33.60 credit. Apple’s DIY pricing isn’t much cheaper than simply paying the company to conduct the repairs itself, however, although it gets better once you factor in the discount for sending in a replaced part.
Repair specialists iFixit have also raised issues with Apple’s requirement that customers provide the IMEI or serial number of their device when purchasing a replacement part for it. The requirement has raised questions about what happens if you try to install a replacement part bought using one phone’s serial number in a second, identical phone. “Integrating a serial number check into their checkout process is a dire omen and could allow Apple the power to block even more repairs in the future,” iFixit’s Elizabeth Chamberlain writes.
The launch of Apple’s Self Service Repair program comes amid a wave of DIY repair announcements from other smartphone manufacturers. In recent months, both Google and Samsung have announced partnerships with iFixit to sell spare parts for their devices while, on the computer side, Valve is also working with the organization to facilitate DIY repairs of the Steam Deck.
These initiatives follow years of pressure from repair activists and regulators for manufacturers to make their devices easier to repair, which it’s hoped will prevent them prematurely ending up in landfills. Apple specifically faced additional pressure from activist shareholders to reevaluate its stance on independent repairs last year.
Update April 27th, 11:33AM ET: Updated with pricing comparison with Apple’s in-house repairs, and with iFixit’s reservations about orders requiring a serial number.