Apple on Wednesday said it will for the first time start selling spare parts and tools to the general public to perform their own repairs on some iPhones and Mac computers.
The self-service repair programme comes after years of pressure from consumer groups that have resulted in Apple providing greater access to repair manuals and genuine parts.
The Federal Trade Commission, the administration of US President Joe Biden and state legislatures have been considering regulatory changes that would make it easier for Americans to repair their broken devices.
In 2019, Apple started a programme in which independent repair shops can buy parts, tools and manuals. Apple said there are now 2,800 independent shops in its programme in addition to its 5,000 directly authorised repair providers.
Under the self-service programme, Apple customers will be able to buy those parts directly to perform their own repairs after reading a manual. Apple said the online store will start with about 200 parts and tools aimed at fixing the most common issues with displays, batteries and cameras on iPhone 12 and 13 models.
The programme will eventually extend to Mac computers that use Apple's M1 chip and later to less common repairs. Customers will be offered the same pricing on parts and tools as independent repair shops and will be able to return their used parts to Apple after completing a repair to receive a discount.
Regulators have expressed concerns about restrictions that steer consumers into manufacturers’ and sellers’ repair networks, adding costs to consumers and shutting out independent repair shops from business opportunities. They have also said those repair restrictions often fall heavily on minority and low-income consumers.
An FTC report to the US Congress in May noted that many black-owned small businesses perform equipment repairs and repair shops often are owned by entrepreneurs from poor communities.
Apple has long been a target for right-to-repair advocates because of its practice of locking down its software so that parts are encoded to a specific device. Some attempted repairs — such as replacing a broken original screen with one made by a third party — have left phones unusable.
Apple said the programme will begin early next year in the US and expand to more countries later in the year.
Agencies contributed to this report