Apple to supply spare parts, tools and manuals to consumers?!

This just in: Apple has announced that it intends to begin making spare parts, tools and repair manuals available to consumers from next year for some of it’s more recent products.

To be honest, this seems like quite a stunning U-turn from a company notorious for its anti-repair practices. Here are some of the key details they announced today:

  • Devices: The new scheme will cover more recent products, starting with iPhone 12 & 13 models followed by M1-powered computers. No word on support for older devices.
  • Parts: Initially, they will offer what they claim are the most commonly serviced parts, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera. They promise additional components later in 2022, but it will be telling to see how limited/extensive this turns out to be (and how much they cost!)
  • Process: Here’s what they say about how consumers will be able to access parts and manuals: “To ensure a customer can safely perform a repair, it’s important they first review the Repair Manual. Then a customer will place an order for the Apple genuine parts and tools using the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store. Following the repair, customers who return their used part for recycling will receive credit toward their purchase.”

This all sounds promising, but we’ve been burnt before; Apple’s programme for independent repair shops also promised big things, but has ultimately been disappointing.

In today’s announcement they reference this programme a lot, which perhaps doesn’t bode well. There’s also this possible red flag:

Self Service Repair is intended for individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices. For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair.

Find the full announcement here:

I’m hoping for the best here, but reserving judgement until I see the nitty gritty details on this one. What do you make of it?


EDIT: I’ll maintain a list of notable/interesting coverage here:

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The initial phase of the program will focus on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display , battery , and camera . The ability for additional repairs will be available later next year.

I wonder if this has been prompted by serialisation restrictions.

Subaru has already disabled telematics in certain cars to avoid falling foul of state-level R2R automotive legislation.

The New York decision is due in January, so perhaps this is a pre-emptive shuffle to be seen to be proactive rather than reactive when/if restrictions come into play.

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I had a similar thought Lee. Given the prospect of new legislation in the US and EU, this does feel like an effort to get ahead of the regulators and shape the story.

Noting that iFixit has a good write up of the announcement in which they note some additional caveats. In particular, they mention concerns that Apple could double down on serialisation and put further pressure on independent repair businesses. Worth a read:

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There’s lots of ways they can claim to be supporting self service repair whilst still being obtuse e.g. unrealistic pricing, long lead times / parts out of stock, unclear repair manuals with lots of warnings that serve to discourage rather than assist (and to steer people towards their AASPs). They could presumably also restrict this to more recent devices on a rolling basis, e.g. they stop providing parts for devices once they are deemed ‘vintage’, which is 5 years after they end sale.

But I’d be very happy if they actually do this properly - let’s see…

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Supply end users with parts and tools old Steve will be spinning in his grave :grimacing: the repair industry has been promised this sort of thing before only to have to comply with so many regulations and demands that it would make repairing apple product unfeasible I can only imagine the restrictions placed on the public. I do hope that this is apple realising that repairing the product you legally own is your right and to do so should be supported by manufacturers apple normally use security and safety as buzz words to deny the supply of parts and tools but mabe this is the dawn of a new age where apple have released that supplying genuine parts to the aftermarket and end users and giving us the documentation to support with correctly installing them minimises risk and will massively reduce use of gray Market parts we are all forced to use at the present time I do hope that this is the first steps towards that future.

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According to the Verge, it was motivated by something else:

The announcement follows months of growing pressure from repair activists and regulators — and its timing seems deliberate, considering a shareholder resolutionenvironmental advocates filed with the company in September asking Apple to re-evaluate its stance on independent repair. Wednesday is a key deadline in the fight over the resolution, with advocates poised to bring the issue to the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve.
[…]
Activist shareholders believe that it was. “The timing is definitely no coincidence,” says Annalisa Tarizzo, an advocate with Green Century, the mutual fund company that filed the right-to-repair resolution with Apple in September. As a result of today’s announcement, Green Century is withdrawing its resolution, which asked Apple to “reverse its anti repair practices” and evaluate the benefits of making parts and tools more available to consumers.

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I highly doubt the shareholder resolution would have made any difference on its own, it was a small mutual fund. It’s like Nathan Proctor says at the end of that piece, it was a combination of factors.

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Thanks - hadn’t seen that.

I believe there was an executive order to the FTC, to improve both self-service repair and independent repair shops. My guess is, Apple picked the first, knowing that most consumers have neither the skill nor the inclination to mess with phone screens and ribbon cables.

Independent shops need to be able to resell parts and to order them in bulk. I hope they’ll be allowed to do so.

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My own perspective on the matter is similar I think Apple have chosen the lesser damaging to its profit margins most end users don’t want to open a device ether through lack of knowledge or tooling and I’m thinking this is a desperate attempt to avoid more legislation by showing the powers that be that action has been taken as for 3rd party repair I can only hope that parts and tools will become available in the future and the ability to order parts on mass will become the norm but I just can’t see it at the moment as it would undermine Apples core business beliefs of " end to end control"

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Well hell has well and truly frozen over. The FT editorial has endorsed strong regulation

“These small concessions must not be allowed to derail government efforts to set higher standards. The UK and EU should enact stronger right-to-repair laws and the US needs requirements of its own”

https://12ft.io/proxy?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcontent%2F235bf272-0a3c-4603-8f5c-46d5c76a0d3c

[Now with a paywall hopping link]

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Tim Cook (transcript from MacRumors):

We realized that there were some people that wanted to this and that are trained to do this. They’re the Popular Mechanics crowd if you will, which I love and have been focused on my entire life. It feels good to put the manuals out there, and get the parts out there, that enables people to do this. Still, if you’re not comfortable doing that, we encourage you to come in the Apple Store and get it done for you. That’s still the best way, perhaps, for most people. But if you’re a technician, then have at it, because you’re able to do it yourself.

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You have to give apple top marks for understatement “we realised that there was some people that wanted to do this” like it was something new that we haven’t been telling them this for the last decade well I suppose it’s a step in the right direction and we should all hope apple has seen the error of their ways

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