Apple rolls out self-repair service in the US, but overall costs are as much or more than...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,491   +1,040
Staff member
WTF?! Last November, the company announced it would sell select parts to private individuals starting early this year. On Wednesday, Apple rolled out its "Self Service Repair" program in the United States, but look before you leap. It's likely going to cost you more than taking it in for service.

The program is somewhat limited for now. Currently, Apple only sells batteries, bottom speakers, cameras, displays, and SIM trays to US customers. Additionally, parts are limited to just five models of iPhone — iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and iPhone 13. However, Apple says it plans to expand the service to other countries and will have parts available for M1 Macs later this year.

Repairs often require specific tools to get the job done. Customers can buy them outright, but with items such as a display press and heated display removal fixture costing over $200, most patrons will want to rent a tool kit for $49 unless they are planning to start a repair business.

Each tool kit rental is specifically put together based on the model of the phone, and contain all the equipment needed for any supported repair. The tools are pretty heavy, with kits weighing about 79 pounds.

Apple targets the parts and tools toward qualified technicians but is not limiting individuals who feel like they are up to the task of a DIY iPhone repair from buying and renting the supplies.

Apple offers repair manuals and other resources free of charge for those not familiar with the iPhone's inner workings. The company highly recommends that customers read through the appropriate repair manual before biting off more than they can chew. Obviously, Apple will not be responsible for botched repairs, broken tools or parts damaged by the customer.

All that said, there is one caveat. Apple says it is selling the parts to individual customers for the same price as it sells them to authorized service centers, but looking at the costs for parts and tools shows that there are not really any cost savings versus having Apple perform the task. In fact, DIY repairs cost the same or more than letting Apple do it.

For example, an Apple battery replacement costs out-of-warranty customers $69. To do it themselves requires a battery and screw kit. This package costs $69 for iPhone 12 and 13 and $49 for iPhone SE, not including tools (a battery press runs $115). More expensive repairs save a little money, but only if you already have the tools.

Apple charges $279 to replace an iPhone 13 screen. To do it yourself, you need the iPhone 13 Display Bundle, which goes for $270, although Apple will refund $33.60 if you return the broken screen for recycling, making for a net cost of $236.40. However (and this is the kicker), unless you have the repair equipment, you'll have to rent the tool kit for $49, bringing the cost back up to $285.40 — about $16 more than you would pay Apple to do the job.

So while it's nice that Apple is loosening its policies, which used to forbid home repairs completely, it has made it far too expensive to be practical. Hopefully, if enough pressure is applied, this Self Service Repair program will be more practical down the road. Until then, it's nothing more than just window dressing for the Right-to-Repair movement.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
I'm not interested in self-repair. The water proofing is part of the reason.
It's not easy to do.
I had a shop repair a dead display in my XS max and when it was finished, there was some unresponsiveness in the display near the bottom. Apple either does it right the first time or gives you a refurb.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,887   +3,695
TechSpot Elite
Looks like they're just hoping that the bare minimum is enough to leverage for anti-R2R lobbying. Having an Apple tax on the parts is laughable. And not having some of the more common parts that will need replacing (charge port) just shows their doing the bare minimum...
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,421
How does this compare to other manufacturers? Do they offer official replacement parts? Repairs? Can you get walk in appointments with an Oppo for example?

I’ve always had phones repaired at Apple with Apple care and it’s usually just a replacement given to me on the spot. It’s expensive but I’m happy to swallow the cost, for me Apples tech is so much better than anyone else’s right now that I’m happy to pay the prices.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,030   +769
How does this compare to other manufacturers? Do they offer official replacement parts? Repairs? Can you get walk in appointments with an Oppo for example?

I’ve always had phones repaired at Apple with Apple care and it’s usually just a replacement given to me on the spot. It’s expensive but I’m happy to swallow the cost, for me Apples tech is so much better than anyone else’s right now that I’m happy to pay the prices.

How many other manufacturers tie their screen etc to the hardware - yes I know about fingerprint readers etc - but for a smart company that is BS . Normally I remember in my city a number of Kiwi Chinese or Indians who do Apple . Screen replacements - seemed like every iPhone 4 or 5 needed a screen - that went fine ,

The problem is Apple users think Apple service is universal - there is a genius shop in every major city in the world . Apple are brutal - they just do the bare minimum in a country as necessary.
The advantage at least for the well off non-USA countries is we have much much better consumer laws - I could get a complete new iPhone here in NZ ( if I wanted to waste my money on something as boring as a phone ) - if it fail in general use 4 or 5 years of use - A $1000 dollar device marketed as premium with security updates for say 6 years - means it should work 6 years as expected .
Maybe this is why other companies don't promise such long updates - as removes a legal argument. Still I could replace a S22pro after 5 years as well ( if I wanted to waste money on something as boring as a phone ) - I can't even be bother to switch over to my cheaply bought Pixel phone I bought over a year ago - when I wrongly thought my battery was a goner for my Nexus ( dodgy connection )- Still have a perfectly fine Moto G4 - replace battery for $30 .

Thing is for cost of these repairs US $250 buys a great phone for 90% of people - ignoring content makers , hardcore gamers or it's the device for everything ( consumption on great screen etc ) .
Yes it has a great re-sell value - but most of us don't on sell - we gift
 

bviktor

Posts: 842   +1,260
After doing some replacements on some old iPhone 7s, I honestly can't think of a reason I would ever wanna tear apart an iPhone again. Or any other brand. It's nothing but trouble and you lose warranty. Service centers and technicians exist for a reason.
 

mctommy

Posts: 417   +143
After doing some replacements on some old iPhone 7s, I honestly can't think of a reason I would ever wanna tear apart an iPhone again. Or any other brand. It's nothing but trouble and you lose warranty. Service centers and technicians exist for a reason.

This. I used to manage third party logistics and repair suppliers for one of the major US telecom.
Ever since the start of more waterproofing phones and curve edges (Samsung), repairs have been more and more difficult with the need of highly specialized tools. It's just not worth it anymore and not worth jeopardizing your phone's IP rating to save a few bucks.
 

Athlonite

Posts: 314   +109
The whole thing is just one big BS job by (Cr)apple to try and snowball the RTR bill but this program is not what you think it is it lacks parts for older phones there's no power button or volume buttons also no charge port nothing for any mac owners also no schematics for either the iPhone or any Mac.. this is just pure BS

you should watch the Louis Rossmann video on it on YT


he explains just how bad it is
 

smartroad

Posts: 35   +23
I've never understood why companies seem to focus on RTR for individuals. Most are not going to be interested in doing it themselves. RTR is about the philosophy of allowing devices to be repaired, making parts available and letting the owner decide who fixes it. It is about making sure that still useful devices aren't just thrown away because a repairable part failed.