Until now, anyone who wanted to have an iPhone repaired after the warranty period was dependent on expensive certified dealers or questionable procedures with cheap parts. That will now change: Apple has announced that it will open up access to genuine replacement parts to independent repair shops in Europe and Canada.
In the USA, independent workshops have already had the opportunity to obtain original spare parts directly from Apple since September. Batteries, displays and other spare parts are supplied from corporate inventories at fixed prices. Now the program is also starting in Europe and Canada. The previous practice of relying either on cheap spare parts or semi-legally procured originals will probably soon come to an end.
Longer-lasting smartphones expected
For customers, this step is certainly a reason for joy. Now that repairs with high-quality spare parts are no longer tied to a few certified workshops, they could become cheaper and more easily available. This, in turn, could have an impact on the length of time smartphones are used: if they are easier and cheaper to repair, it is likely that they will be used for longer. Such a development should please Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze: She recently called for smartphones and tablets to become more durable in order to mitigate the ecological consequences of increasing digitisation. Constant replacement of these devices represents a massive environmental burden, as they have to be disposed of and resources used up in the manufacture of new devices.
Training by Apple necessary
To obtain genuine parts through Apple, independent repairers must have at least one person who has completed a course at Apple. These courses are intended to be free of charge, so entry is low-threshold. However, the size of the repair shop does not affect certification. In addition, repair shops will continue to be allowed to use third-party parts in addition to the original parts. However, it must be disclosed to customers which type of spare part is actually used.
Apple intends to take care of the recycling of dismantled defective parts when genuine replacement parts are installed. Repair shops should send the dismantled parts directly to Apple – which could make their work easier. Independent repairers will also have access to analysis tools, special tools and repair instructions. This could also contribute to more professional repairs and thus to an increased service life of the repaired smartphones.