Those brave enough to attempt to fix their own iPhone or Mac with Apple’s tools can now do so in the UK and parts of Europe.
The tech company is expanding its self-repair programme to Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK, allowing the public to buy genuine parts and repair kits for certain iPhones and Macs launched from 2020 onwards.
Launched in the US last year, the service will offer detailed instruction manuals and parts for a variety of common repairs, including cracked screens. Though users are free to use any implements they have at their disposal, Apple offers the same tools used by Apple’s in-house technicians for purchase or on a seven-day loan costing £54.90.
While anyone can access the DIY service, performing surgery on a smartphone or computer is not for the faint of heart, often requiring careful heating, prying, and dealing with myriad tiny screws. The vast majority of users would probably be better off engaging the skills of a professional.
Apple said it had more than 5,000 authorised repair shops worldwide with access to genuine parts including its own and independents. Many others are available across the UK and Europe using third-party parts.
With the average consumer keeping their smartphone for 4.2 years, according to data from CCS Insight, access to cost-effective repair options and extending software support is crucial.
While the move will be applauded by those backing the right to repair, specialists iFixit recently criticised Apple for digitally locking down the use of recycled and unauthorised parts for repair. If you do not use a part bought specifically for a repair with the correct corresponding serial number an iPhone may reject it.
Outside of offering parts, Apple has recently been testing the waters of internal changes to its devices to make them easier to repair. The iPhone 14 looked identical on the outside to previous models but internal changes made repairs possible through either the back or front of the phone, not just through the screen at the front. In doing so it enables significantly easier replacement of the back glass of the phone, which together with screen and battery replacement is one of the most common repairs.
But Apple did not make these changes to the iPhone 14 Pro range, making this only a small step forward this year and some way from the modular, user-repairable ideal demonstrated by the Fairphone.