If your iPhone screen breaks or the battery fails, your first instinct may be to make an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar. For a very long time, this is exactly what Apple wanted. However, times have changed: people want to repair their equipment and the resources needed to do so safely and accurately. Apple is finally supporting this desire to repair itself, and has actually opened an online store to help users do just that.
What is Apple’s self-repair program?
For those of us following Right to Repair, it’s a little unrealistic to see Apple Cave on this topic. For years, the company has been turning tech repairs into a real hassle. Apple has banned users and third-party repair shops from accessing critical schemes that help repair the device. They could avoid device components and design features that would be at risk if the operating system detects a third-party component. In short, the company went through all the repairs and forgot to choose another store, or, God forbid, to ask you to fix your equipment.
That starts to change with Apple’s “Self Service Repair Store,” which launched on Wednesday, April 27. While we didn’t know the site would go live when it did, its existence isn’t necessarily news. The company announced the program back in November, which came as a welcome surprise to those of us following the Right to Repair movement. When the program is fully operational, you’ll be able to order parts for your iPhone or Mac directly from Apple, access manuals for accurate repair information, and rent tools to make sure you have the equipment you need to complete the repair.
At this time, however, the program only covers iPhones, and a limited number at that. While it’s disappointing, it’s not shocking, as Apple announced at its November conference. In fact, we’ll be supporting additional iPhones at launch: Apple initially said only the iPhone 12 and 13 models would be part of the initial release, but now the third-generation iPhone SE is also supported.
How to order parts to repair your own iPhone
While I imagine the process will be the same whether you’re looking to fix an iPhone or a Mac, we’re now limited to an iPhone, so let’s take a look at how to do it.
To get started, visit Apple’s official self-service repair shop. When the page loads, you may think you clicked the wrong link because the site is completely different than Apple’s, but you are in the right place. The first thing to do, especially if you are new to the world of technical repairs, is to read our appliance repair guide. Even if you think you don’t need it, you do, because Apple needs a specific manual ID to complete the command. Click “Read the manual,” which will take you to Apple’s manual database, and search for your device here. The iPhone 12 mini manual, for example, is 81 pages long, and features everything you need to know about which tools and parts you’ll need, all of the components of the device, how to take it apart, etc.
Once you have a grasp on how your device is supposed to be repaired, you can move forward with the ordering process. If you head back to the Self Service Repair page, you can choose “Start your order.” Here, you can specify your product (iPhone), the product model (iPhone 12 mini, for example), and repair type. As of now, Apple supports the following repairs:
- Bottom speaker
- SIM tray
- Taptic engine
Once you choose your repair type, you’ll see all the different parts available to order. Apple will place its recommended selection at the top of the list, which is usually a bundle of all parts needed for the repair, however, if you only need a specific part or two, you can always choose those separately from the list below. Pricing varies, but is more or less in line with what you can expect to pay to have Apple repair your tech.
Sometimes, it’s a bit cheaper: Apple chargers $329 for an iPhone 12 Pro Max display replacement, while the display bundle costs $311.95. There’s also a rebate for sending in your old or broken part, which negates some of the cost, but you will likely need to rent Apple’s tools to perform the procedure ($49 per week, so don’t delay on fixing your stuff). You’ll need to price the whole situation out to see whether it makes sense to do the repair yourself or to take your device to a professional instead.
When you choose something to order, Apple will require your device’s serial number or IMEI to proceed. This is a requirement to purchase any part through Apple’s Self Service Repair program, and is a step criticized by iFixit for giving the company too much power to block future repairs. Still, it’s the requirement, so you’ll need to provide this information as of now to continue. Apple has instructions for locating either number here should you need it. You must also enter the manual repair ID for this device. This is a precaution to ensure you at least have the repair manual open before ordering. Again, Apple has instructions on where to find this ID should you need it.
After confirmation, make sure you have everything you need before placing your order. You do not want to be frustrated if you cannot get the right pitch so invest in a good capo. This shows the importance of reviewing the manual before reviewing to know exactly what to order.