On Thursday Apple announced that it’s expanding its third-party repair program to allow independent repair businesses who aren’t Apple Authorized Service Providers to have access to parts, tools, and more:
There is no cost to join Apple’s independent repair program. To qualify for the new program, businesses need to have an Apple-certified technician who can perform the repairs. The process for certification is simple and free of charge. To learn more and apply, visit support.apple.com/irp-program. Qualifying repair businesses will receive Apple-genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics at the same cost as AASPs.
This is a really great move, because it expands the options for getting your Apple product repaired. If you live next to an Apple Store maybe this isn’t an issue, but there are a lot of people who don’t. (And Apple’s wild success this past decade has made even official Apple repairs hard to come by at times.)
Self-repair advocates iFixit seem enthusiastic about the news, with some caveats. iFixit’s Kyle Wiens applauded the move, while also pointing out that more formal right-to-repair legislation is probably on the way and this is Apple’s attempt to get in front of that.
Still, it’s important that Apple—whose products used to be serviced by a large number of independent authorized repair centers populated with well-trained technicians, until the rise of the Apple Store led it to take its ball and go home—is realizing that it just can’t do this alone.
It’s all for the best. Apple retail stores have proven to be spectacularly successful hubs for selling new products, but nobody talks about taking broken stuff to the Apple Store with any enthusiasm. Perhaps Apple should focus even more on what it does best—selling shiny new stuff—and let the rest of the professional repair world help support its customers.