Apple has announced a new program that will supply genuine iPhone parts to independent repair shops, including those that aren’t authorized under Apple’s existing service program. The new program is free to join, and shops that want to participate can apply for certification online.
Giving independent repair shops access to the same parts, tools, and manuals as authorized service centers has been the main goal of the Right to Repair movement, which has tried—so far unsuccessfully—to pass laws in 20 states. Apple has been one of the movement’s strongest opponents, claiming that if states pass Right to Repair laws, they would become a “mecca” for hackers.
Kyle Wiens, editor-in-chief of the gadget repair site iFixit, wrote on Twitter this morning that Apple’s new repair program looks quite similar to the laws the company has opposed. While he praised Apple for expanding its repair program, he also noted that it doesn’t help consumers who want to perform their own repairs, and—unlike a law—it allows Apple to refuse certification for any reason.
Also worth noting: The new program only applies to iPhones, as Apple makes no mention of supplying parts for other products, such as iPads and Apple Watches. But it’s a baby step in the right direction, at least.