If you’ve ever handed over your iPhone to one of Apple’s Genius Bar “geniuses” (or another Apple-authorized technician) and secretly wondered whether you could just as easily replace the shattered screen yourself, you’ll soon be able to find out.
As 9to5Mac reports, Apple is launching Self Service Repair—a new program that, as the name suggests, will let users order parts and repair their Apple devices themselves. When the roll-out begins in the U.S. early next year, its scope will be limited to screen, battery, and camera repairs on iPhones 12 and 13. Over the course of 2022, more countries, parts, and devices (starting with Mac computers that have M1 chips) will be added.
Basically, once you’ve figured out what’s wrong with your device, you’ll order whatever you need to fix it from some 200 parts and tools available at the as-yet-unveiled Apple Self Service Repair Online Store. Though there’s no price range attached to anything yet, the general idea is that paying for parts will be cheaper than paying someone else to buy the parts and make the repair. You’ll also earn store credit if you give your broken parts to Apple to recycle.
The new program could help the environment in another way, too. In September of this year, eco-focused mutual fund Green Century submitted a shareholder proposal urging Apple to lessen its restrictions on product repair in order to decrease electronic waste.
“Electronic waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, and by 2040 internet-connected devices will account for 14 [percent] of all greenhouse gas emissions. Access to product repair is critical for extending the lifespan of electronic devices, thereby preventing wasted resources and reducing emissions,” the proposal explained. In other words, if it's easier for people to fix their Apple devices, they won’t be so quick to just get new ones.
Green Century isn’t the only entity to have spoken out in support of consumers’ right to repair. In July of this year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that encouraged the Federal Trade Commission “to issue rules against anticompetitive restrictions on using independent repair shops or doing DIY repairs of your own devices and equipment” in order to bolster the economy. Later that same month, the FTC released a statement [PDF] promising to crack down on “unlawful repair restrictions.”
Apple spokesperson Nick Leahy told The Verge that the Self Service Repair program “has been in development for well over a year,” so neither Green Century’s proposal (which it withdrew once Apple announced the program) nor the federal messages directly prompted its creation. That said, it’s possible that they indirectly helped speed it along.