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Apple will let its customers fix iPhones

The Self Service Repair service will be active already with the iPhone 12 from next year

Apple will let its customers fix iPhones The Self Service Repair service will be active already with the iPhone 12 from next year

When Steve Jobs conceived Apple's aesthetic, he placed a lot of emphasis on the design of a "closed" product, radically different from other devices on the market that could be opened and disassembled with a simple screwdriver or with bare hands. This philosophy has made Apple a leader in the field of tech culture but has also led to numerous problems when it came to repairing small malfunctions of the devices – an operation that required the intervention of authorized Apple technicians, long waiting lists and very specific instrumentation to handle the components. To solve the problem, the brand has therefore announced the Self Service Repair program, which will allow customers «to access the original parts and Apple tools» as well as manuals to carry out your own repairs yourself. The most interesting fact of the news, beyond the substantial validation that Apple gives for the first time to DIY repairs, is the entry of circularity in the tech world, with used parts that will be returned in exchange for vouchers to be recycled – a system that, at the moment, is starting to take hold also in fashion such as with Valentino's vintage initiative or H&M's used clothes recycling system.

The program will begin in 2022 in the U.S. and then be extended to other markets and, in the early stages, will allow customers to fix the displays, batteries and cameras of the iPhone 12 and 13 themselves. The choice to start from these three components alone is motivated by the fact that they are the parts of the device most prone to accidents and above all the easiest to repair. After consulting the repair manual, you will need to submit an order through the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store, which includes over two hundred original spare parts. Finally, you will have to return the part used for recycling receiving in exchange a credit to spend on the next purchase. The decision came after many lawmakers from American and European states over the past few years have proposed a series of laws to stop the "reparations monopoly" by giving birth to the Right-to-Repair Movement. These laws are always fought by Apple which, for example, in 2019, convinced the California government that letting users repair devices themselves would entail risks of fire and violations of device privacy. That changed in July when Joe Biden signed an antitrust executive order that gave the Federal Trade Commission the power to pass laws in favor of the right-to-repair movement.

Some activists of the right-to-repair movement have pointed out that, by keeping under strict control the delivery of products and the return of used parts, Apple is in fact controlling the marketplace of microcomponents, thus leaving it the power to control the obsolescence of its devices. The possibility of repairing the devices yourself, however, will have positive advantages in terms of sustainability: according to a study by Wertgarantie, in fact, if 27.5% of damaged tech products in Germany were repaired, the production of 100,000 tons of e-waste every year would be avoided. Apple's move, however, justified by the company's policy to keep its materials and devices under control, represented an important step forward in the relationship between the brand and its consumers, especially considering how much the enormous spread of Apple devices is not really commensurate with the presence on the territory of Apple Store or operators authorized to perform repairs by the company.