Apple Finally Rolling Out Self Service Repair But There’s a Catch

Promised by the company last year in November, Apple’s long-awaited self service repair program is finally rolling out to customers in the U.S., allowing fixers to buy iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone SE 3 parts and tools from Apple (via iFixit).

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The program, which offers replacement parts for the battery, bottom speaker, camera, display, SIM tray, and taptic engine, will expand to M1 MacBooks and from there to Europe and other regions over the next year. It is not yet known when Apple’s self-service repair program will officially be available in Canada.

It must, however, be noted that Apple is only allowing “very limited, serial number-authorized repairs” under its new self repair program, as pointed out by iFixit. According to the repair experts, users cannot purchase key parts without a serial number or IMEI.

If you use an aftermarket part, there’s an “unable to verify” warning waiting for you. This strategy hamstrings third-party repair with feature loss and scare tactics and could dramatically limit options for recyclers and refurbishers, short-circuiting the circular economy. 

To check out with a part, you’ve got to put in your phone’s serial number or IMEI. And when you’re done installing the part, you need to pair it with the phone you indicated in your purchase, via over-the-air configurator software Apple says they will make available through their parts store.

This means that if a refurbisher gets a functioning phone with no parts support, there will be no way for them to fully restore a product that needs a display replacement, even if they have an original Apple display from another phone.

You can get more details about Apple’s self service repair program at this link.