The Apple independent repair provider program will expand to more than 200 countries. It is a voluntary response to the ever-strengthening ‘right to repair’ movement that has Apple firmly fixed in its sights.
In theory, the Apple independent repair provider program enables legitimate shop-front repair providers access to genuine Apple parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics to offer safe and reliable repairs for select Apple products.
All participating repair providers have access to training from Apple and the same genuine parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics as Apple Authorised Service Providers (AASPs) and Apple Stores. To verify that a company participates in the program, visit here.
Catches – Apple’s independent repair provider program
The big one is that the program only covers out-of-warranty iPhone or Mac repairs (no mention of other products). If it is in warranty, it is back to the Apple Store or an AASP. However, they are able to update parts, such as increasing the size of a hard disk in a MacBook.
At first look, certification seems pretty straightforward. To qualify, repair providers need to commit to having an Apple-certified technician on staff to perform the repairs. The application process to become an independent repair provider is free.
Apple generously waives the certification exam fees for approved Independent Repair Providers.
And one good catch – dodgy pop-up, mall repairers and most work from home operations are excluded. These cheap repairers are the scourge of the repair industry. They offer no genuine warranty. They totally ignore Australian Consumer Law rights with the ability to dodge common law requirements for repairs and refunds.
Apple says that we may start seeing independent repair providers appear in as little as 6 to 8 weeks, which will allow time for the technicians to be trained. It may cost more to use an independent repair provider but at least you can be sure of the quality of repairs and parts. You also get the benefit of a larger pool of technicians, adding more convenience and potentially faster turn-around times.
So it appears that Apple is positively responding to ‘right to repair’ pressure (See Guardian Productivity Commission article here).