back to article Apple blinks on iPhone repairs, touts parts program for independent tech mechanics... sort of

On Thursday, Apple introduced a program that will allow independent computer repair shops access to the same resources available to Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP), a significant policy shift that could help level a market the company has been deterring unauthorized battery replacements and lobbying against right to …

  1. N2 Silver badge

    But

    I trust they hold the screwdriver correctly...

    1. robidy

      Re: But

      Like you trust Apple not to have a 2 year in the wild, 0 day Safari drive by...only fixed because Google found it....breaking news you couldn't make up.

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: But

      Be nice if they sought all the screws to be removed instead of using brute force and breaking things. I inherited this machine from my daughter. It had been repaired by an Authorised Apple repair shop. I went to put a new battery in and found a tab had been broken off, screw still in it.

      That explains the distorted chassis. I had to remove the orphan tab to install the new battery. Fortunately it is old tech, 2010 so is still very accessible. I put in a new HDD and extra RAM up to the Max while I was at it. The RAM chips won't clip in because of the distorted chassis. They still work though.

  2. JohnFen Silver badge

    We'll see

    Apple's obnoxious stance on this issue has been well-entrenched for so many years that it's hard to believe that it's changing in any meaningful way. This is more likely a PR move, or a move to make it easier for them to continue to oppose right-to-repair legislation.

    But we'll see. I hope that they surprise me!

    1. spodula

      Re: We'll see

      There about to be hammered by multiple right to repair bills. They are doing this to try to get the legislatures to soften them.

      Not certain it will work, because the the people who are really pushing for this are the Farmers against companies like John Deere. Legislators Ignoring all those loud nerds is pretty much a given at the moment, but you going against the farmers looses you elections in many US states.

      I suspect they will still manage to blame Facebook and Google somehow.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: We'll see

        Correct, and the whole thing would be "discretionary", muddy, unclear and abusive.

        So yeah, worse than useless.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We'll see

        Right to Repair bills are one side of this. On the other side is the huge revenue stream from repair/replace that is going to take a hit. Apple is doing everything possible to keep revenue streams up.

        We use mostly Apple and Samsung products at my company and they both suck when it comes to repairs.

  3. Lee D Silver badge

    I'm sorry, tell me again why I would use a company that thinks that this is somehow doing us a favour, or that ever had contrary policies?

    Throwing me a bone this late in the game, after decades of deciding you'd rather screw me over and call it business, is so pathetically contrived a concept that it's literally not worth the energy in the black pixels on the screen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm not an Apple fan, have a long and unpleasant history with them regarding repairs, courts etc. but this is a decent enough offering on the face of it and seems no more onerous than the requirements to be a HP, Dell or Lenovo authorised repairer, sure it's late to the game but they seem to be engaging.

      The main issue I foresee is the initial and ongoing cost and there is likely to be some sort of clause that demands repairers use *only* genuine Apple parts on pain of losing their certification.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Last time I used an authorised Apple guy (under duress!) was for an iMac hard drive that was faulty (the all-in-one devices with absolutely no way into them).

        Apparently the "official" way is to entirely smash the front screen glass, replace the drive, and then re-glue in a new glass. Guess how much it costs from an official repairer to change a single SATA hard drive when it involves destroying a glass panel and then replacing it like-for-like with all the proper glue and heat-treatment to do so?

        At that point, and after several other ridiculously expensive repairs for quite simple replacements to hundreds of iPads, dozens of iMacs / Mac Minis, etc I started and eventually managed to convince my employer that Apple hardware had no place in our systems.

        For the price of a single iMac, plus the insurance for it (we had two stolen by someone literally just lifting them up and taking them away in front of everyone), plus the cost of such external repairs for the most basic of failures/damages, we could kit out an entire suite of machines in a room and have spare parts enough to last for decades.

        Sure, they look slightly less snazzy, but people actually use them, they can be repaired in-house, and if we buy fancy all-in-ones people basically don't even notice the difference.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Happy

          I love AIOs, they have all the crap performance of laptops with the portability of a freestanding monitor.

          Nothing like having the worst of both worlds.

          1. bed

            Eh!

            I recently repaired a friend's Dell Inspiron 2320 all in one where the HD had died. It was easy to get into. It was a 3.5" HDD (so not a laptop low speed thing) and a spare RAM DIMM slot - so I upped the RAM to 8GB, then screwed it back together. The rest of the seven hour day was spent doing Windows updates and refilling the one drive.

          2. jason 7 Silver badge

            My heart always sinks when i get called in to fix a customers computer and it's an AIO.

            Horrid things.

        2. Timo

          They may be figuring this out

          Apple may be figuring out that they've put themselves in a strange position. They've built their devices out of glass and made them unrepairable. The devices are also so expensive that people are keeping them longer, which would be driving up demand for repairs. (I wonder what the average time to screen breakage is for a $1k phone.)

          And due to the escalating price people may be much more likely to replace those things with another vendor, as you have illustrated. So if Apple wants to keep consumers inside their walled garden they need to do something.

  4. Mark Exclamation

    "....repair shops will have to have an Apple-certified technician on staff." Either that certification will cost a $squillion, or Apple won't pass anyone. So, no change here.

    1. robidy

      It's dependent on right to repair legislation getting global traction...will happen in the EU less likely in the UK.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Hopefully. An unauthorized repair shop will change a screen in a couple of hours, here, and hope Apple won't brick it at the next update. If you want Apple to do it, you send it back to them and wait around 2 weeks.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Soo....

    Is it an Apple shill who's down-voting all comments in this thread or some butt hurt idiot?

    Either way, people will assume its Apples fault and make people dislike them more

    Stop doing it... ya idiyat

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Soo....

      The saddest thing is that they think we won't notice.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Soo....

        Obviously somebody did notice.

        IBut it’s sad aThat anyone over 12 years old gets butt hurt over downvotes. I have over 3000 and I’m proud of every one of them.

        1. Dagg

          Re: Soo....

          To be honest sometimes a downvote means you hit the mark.....

  6. vmistery

    When your device costs a large amount of money it doesn’t seem to be unreasonable to expect it to be durable and repairable at a reasonable cost. Apple could have got off Scot free if they hadn’t charged a ridiculous amount to repair it themselves or allowed cheaper 3rd party repairs, but as typical with American companies greed comes first. Sad that they are still the best for device security (although that lead has shrunk thanks to the efforts of Google and better brands like Nokia). Watch out Apple.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can see the point of the security related barriers, though

    Apple has spent a large amount of R&D on making the device safe. The moment they allow third parties to make uncontrolled changes to the components that are part of the chain of trust, that security is pretty much screwed. I can also understand Apple not being willing to offer an opt-out so that you can get less secure parts installed, because you can be 100% certain that Apple will be blamed when that predictably goes wrong. Lowering quality if never a good move.

    I know Apple bashing is in vogue and some of that may even be deserved, but it pays to look a little bit further. The lightning connector was a good example - at the time, Apple had to come up with its own solution because micros USB at the time could not handle the 2A charge current that Apple wanted to use, and chipping that cable happens to be the exact approach that USB C now takes to prevent people using cables for power that are not suitable for it.

    That's just one example - plenty more. Security falls in this too.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: I can see the point of the security related barriers, though

      Strange.

      Literally every other similar company that operates in the EU doesn't have that same problem and offer spare parts. If it's a non-original repair/part that caused damage, generally they can tell immediately.

      This is Apple-compliance-with-the-law, rather than anything spectacular. They are always years behind. Ask them about GDPR compliance - you will *never* get a straight answer, mostly because they are totally unable to provide one because they use a random mix of foreign Azure, Google and AWS instances to supply iCloud.

      So, literally every time you've ever seen an iPad signed into an iTunes account in a school, it's probably breaking the law as they have no GDPR (or even DPA for that matter) compliance. All the statements you'll find from Apple do *NOT* actually say they are compliant.

      Apple skirt the law all the time and get away with it because they have expensive lawyers. In some things I've dealt with them about, it's blatent and disgusting abuse of company and sale-of-goods laws. Ever sent a letter recorded delivery to their European head office (in Ireland) demanding legally-required details of their official company details and their complaints procedure? I have. Literally they do not comply with even those kinds of things.

      What it is is that they are losing consumer-faith, slowly but it is happening, and they realise they will be on the end of a some bad lawsuits if they're not careful (e.g. GDPR).

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: I can see the point of the security related barriers, though

      Well as another comment pointed out, a big driver behind the right to repair bills is John Deere who have really been taking the urine and using DMCA to prevent third parties even servicing tractors. A bit like BMW cars of a while ago where (for a while) it was impossible to reset the service llight without dealer only tools - except that AIUI JD have gone even further.

      There's two aspects. One is routine servicing - it really is not complicated job to replace oil and filters, yet JD are actively stopping you doing it yourself or having it done by a local independent. The other is breakdowns - when you're in the middle of a harvest, the weather is closing in, and the nearest JD dealership is several hours away and can't fit you in until next week, that can get very expensive (just having people sat around doing nothing can be very expensive).

      You talk about "digital" safety. With vehicles we're talking about safety of life. The EU came down clearly on the side of independence when they removed the block exemption from car manufacturers - and clearly decided that the risks from "anyone" being able to service cars were more than outweighed by the costs of the restricted system the manufacturers previously had in place.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "it would save a lot of people's sanity and family photos,"

    Family photos are saved by backing them up, not by having the sole platform they exist on be repairable by a 3rd party shop. You have to be insane if you keep the only copy of your precious pics on something that can be dropped in a toilet or down a drain, forgot in a pub or lost in a forest.

    1. My-Handle

      Re: "it would save a lot of people's sanity and family photos,"

      While what you say is true (and is also the stance I generally take), it is also true that it frequently happens. Even tech-savvy people often don't have a rigorous back-up regime. Most members of my family wouldn't even know what a good backup practice looked like.

      Once the worst has happened, your kit has failed and your data has become inaccessible, repairing the device has become the only option. Offering a repair / recovery service for a reasonable price is only going to gain a company a good reputation, whereas the advice "you should have backed up" is not. However true it might be.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: "it would save a lot of people's sanity and family photos,"

        Also true that you may drop the device on the way home. That's why... though it's own risk, I put things on the sd card... if I drop it I have a good chance to get the sd card and photos out. For iOS devices you'll need backups as you are taking photos.

  9. Peter D

    Apple will provide all the resources it provides to Apple Authorized Service Providers

    A new insides for more than the cost of the thing.

  10. Alister Silver badge

    Apple is not the only source

    Oranges are not the only fruit?

    Anyway You are wrong, for pork, Apple is the only sauce.

  11. Tikimon Silver badge
    Angel

    States' Rights - long ignored, but making a serious comeback

    You'll never hear it from the media - who favor a powerful federal government - but the United States Constitution states that all powers not specifically granted to the Federal government are the province of the states. The founders knew how easily a powerful central government can be co-opted and misused. The Federal government likes to pretend that it's in charge and the states have less power, but it's not legally so.

    We're seeing a resurgence in states' rights, and it's a beautiful thing. So the Washington D.C. politicians are in the pockets of lobbyists and rich companies? Okay then, we'll pass our own laws to fix what the D.C. crowd are being bribed to not do. Notice the Feds have not challenged the widespread decriminalization of marijuana? They know the genie's out of the bottle already and they would lose. Now the states are working on Right To Repair laws. Even mighty and bulletproof (so they believed) Apple is forced to respond, desperately trying to claim "Oh that's not needed now, we gave in." and hoping the states will stop.

    For too long, the nation could be controlled by courting the influence of a handful of D.C. politicians and appointees. That paradigm is finally breaking down. Expect to see furious wailing and frantic flailing as the tech industry, telecoms companies, and others see their bought and paid for D.C. influence bypassed by determined states, and even cities. Me, I'm lovin' it and it gives me a tiny bit of hope for the future.

  12. Oh Homer
    Mushroom

    "the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics"

    Very, very unlikely.

    See the Louis Rossmann (a repair tech) YouTube Channel, where he explains, via his AASP sources and personal experience, that AASPs are explicitly directed by Apple to not repair anything, ever, but to blindly ship everything (that qualifies) back to Apple (and to simply charge full price for a new unit for everything that doesn't).

    Not that any Apple "Genius" or AASP would even have the first clue how to repair anything, even if Apple did actually allow them to. "Training"? LOL! We've heard of it.

    The AASP "diagnostic" tool is software only, and absolutely requires the device to be able to both boot and run the OS, in order to run the diagnostic software. If it can't boot, or for whatever reason can display an output, it's an automatic "buy a new one". Something tells me that Apple will never supply that tool to non-AASP independents, even if it were any use, which it isn't.

    The most significant change Apple needs to make, other than a change of attitude, is the supply of schematics to independents, and to get rid of that abomination called the T2 "security" chip, and again I'm not holding my breath.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics"

      You beat me to it... but I think Apple are being 100% honest here.

      There supply zero to AASPs and now also zero to the independents!!!

      Joke icon but no joke.

      1. Peconet57

        Re; "I think Apple are being 100% honest here."

        Apple is never honest. How can they be? They never pay any taxes, and IF they do, they pay very little. Apple being Apple is pulling a blind one here by telling everyone and their dog that they are helping the "right to repair" bill when in fact they are trying to change it to their OWN way of thinking on how it should it by. Apples will always have a core and that core is never really good to be eaten.

  13. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Is the Apple money tap running low ?

    Just a stab in the dark, but the "approved training" will be like the old MSCE (or current for all I know) trick of expiring one every few months and needing to have a set of 3 or 4 to be "qualified" ?

    Looks like they're looking to start a new cash pipeline.

    Or is that too cynical ?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Is the Apple money tap running low ?

      Or is that too cynical ?

      If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough. And I strongly recommend a healthy dose of paranoia while you are at it.

  14. myhandler

    And what wil the trainingg cost be for the "Apple certified techicnian"?

    Timpson's Shoes had a guy who fixed the battery on my daughter's iPhone 5 - a tricky operation by all accounts.

    Time off for training? not worth it for many small places.

    This does nothing. Sell the damn parts at a reasonable price too.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Replacing the battery on an iPhone 5 is a very easy 5 minute job.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Not my thing

        I got the impression that the iPhone 5 is the Lenova X230 or Laserjet 4 of the iPhones, in that it's better than all the earlier versions, and all the later versions have things that make them worse.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Not my thing

          They are easy until 7 which introduced waterproofing, but it's still easy.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Except having it fixed at the independent computer repair shop will probably invalidate any warranty?

    1. gannett

      Not for car servicing - BER

      Thanks to the EU, since 2003, cars can be serviced by independents and not void warranty as long as manufacturer parts are used. Why this was not done for all consumer products - who knows ?

      The Block Exemption Regulation is an exemption in a business line or industry, which debars organizations in the industry from some business activities in order to create competition. The regulation is highly known in the automobile industry due to the effect caused by the Block Exemption Regulation (BER) from the European Commission.[1][2] BER has changed the automobile industry in the last decade.[3] Prior to 2003 automobile owners in the EU region risk nullifying their vehicle warranty when the vehicles were serviced or repaired in workshops not belonging to the vehicle manufacturer or its dealers. This barrier was broken in October 2003, when the European Commission (EC) passed a law allowing vehicle owners the freedom of having their servicing and repairs done at their chosen workshop.[4]

      FROM https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_Exemption_Regulation

      1. Carma

        Re: Not for car servicing - BER

        Not really comparing apples with Apples...

        The BER relates to servicing a vehicle to maintain the warranty offered by the vehicle manufacturer (and the service parts have only to be 'equivalent standard', not vehicle manufacturer service parts - unless the vehicle is leased under a manufacturer scheme, in which case there are free to stipulate dealer servicing as part of the lease conditions), any in-warranty repairs have to be carried out by authorised dealers using manufacturer replacement parts, no manufacturer has ever authorised dealers to use third party replacement parts or third party repairers for warranty repairs. As far as i'm aware, Apple products do not require servicing to maintain the warranty and I would not expect them (or any other manufacturer of anything) to tolerate third party repairers using third party parts for in-warranty repairs. What happens after the end of the warranty period however, is up to the iThing owner, just as with cars, there should be a choice, and just like the BER, manufacturers should have an enforced duty to provide service & repair documentation at a reasonable cost to whoever wants it - note there is no training requirement for out-of-warranty servicing & repairs.

        Maybe time for an iBER?

    2. John Bailey

      "Except having it fixed at the independent computer repair shop will probably invalidate any warranty?"

      And paying for a repair when a warranty FREE REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT is available happens how often exactly?

      I know it is hard.. But if you put a hand on each cheek, and push with every remaining muscle.. you might just extract your head for long enough to understand that a warranty is not an expected lifespan of a product. So an independent will be called in AFTER the warranty has expired.

  16. Donn Bly

    Meaningless PR Move

    This is a meaningless public relations move on Apple's part. You still have to have a "Certified Apple Technician" on staff to even apply -- which means that I, the actual owner of the device, am still prohibited from buying OEM parts and repairing my own equipment with them.

    In addition, since Apple is the one who controls who is certified, there is nothing that keeps them from changing the requirements to hold certification and thereby exclude people who hold existing certifications -- just as Microsoft already routinely does.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Had my beloved iPod Classic 160G repaired

    It's like waiting for someone to have complex brain surgery.

    The relief afterwards is palpable.

  18. gannett
    Happy

    Just saying ..

    You know why all those Apple shops and buildings are made out of glass (even the staircases in the shops) ?

    ..... Fanboi legend has it that's them being all eco and recycling broken iDevice screens.

  19. A random security guy

    Fixing phones

    My observations

    Some fixes are easy, some aren’t. For example,

    Battery replacement: Easy

    Changing lightning connector assembly: very difficult

    Finding new original parts: extremely difficult

    I had to settle for a used/refurbished lightning assembly.

    Glad Apple is being forced to supply these parts.

    It makes sense for Apple to require an Apple certified technician as these repairs are hard.

    I have repaired countless phones for me and my friends and have always had problems finding parts.

    I wonder if I’ll be able to buy these parts. Next step: upgrade the flash.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Fixing phones

      Many non Apple replacement parts are better than Apple ones.

  20. JaitcH
    Happy

    Who Needs Apple When We Have ShenZhen?

    For several years the after market repair business has simply ignored Apple as they buy new and reconditioned parts from the amazing city of ShenZhen1. Now the Chinese reworked industry have set up their own 'distribution' network in many countries so that problems with delivery, currency exchange are eliminated.

    The skills of youthful ShenZhen technicians is astounding. Located in sub-1000 square feet 'holes in the wall' stores many boast multi-thousand Pound/Dollar/Whatever SMS rework stations, magnifying cameras, etc.

    Apple made it hard to get their schematics, so the ever-ingenious technicians simply drew their own which can be purchased for a few dollars on SD drives. Apple claimed that the use of the word on such diagrams is illegal. Unfortunately, for Apple, not all the money in the world used to bribe U.S. politicians doesn't go far in China.

    And, Trump, this isn't IP theft, this is cultural.

  21. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Factory Repair Manuals

    Something that consumers in North America have been able to do for a long time is to purchase copies of original factory repair manuals for automotive vehicles - even European ones (for models marketed in NA) - and that has been one way European non-manufacturer affiliated repair shops and enthusiasts were able to get hold of the documents at affordable prices. I think there was some law regarding this where the manufactures must make the information available.

    http://www.bentleypublishers.com/

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019