Apple today announced a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small — with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorised Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries.
One of the first lessons I learnt about third-party repairs happened a decade ago when I dropped and smashed my iPhone 3GS’ LCD and the touchscreen digitiser to smithereens. The ensuing experience putting my faith in a third-party repair shop instead of the certified Genius Bar technicians at an Apple store is one that shaped my approach to repairs ever since. To cut a long story short, the iPhone came back worse with more damages than it went in with following the ‘repairs’; issues with the front-facing camera and speaker, unresponsive touchscreen and Home button to name but a few. The lack of robust training know-how and the use of low-quality parts were unquestionably apparent in this repair saga.
Following that experience, my default process has been Apple support, book a Genius Bar appointment, take the device to my nearest Apple Store – lucky to have two stores both within a 25-30 minutes drive – even though there a few Apple Authorised Service Providers (AASPs) within the same footprint. My full trust lies with Apple and the Apple Store experience, despite costs of repairs.
To better meet our customers’ needs, we’re making it easier for independent providers across the US to tap into the same resources as our Apple Authorised Service Provider network,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. When a repair is needed, a customer should have confidence the repair is done right. We believe the safest and most reliable repair is one handled by a trained technician using genuine parts that have been properly engineered and rigorously tested.
Despite the usual brouhaha with increasing accusations of making life difficult for anyone but Apple to carry out repairs on some, if not all of the devices in its portfolio, Apple continually upholds its safety-first approach regarding consumers right to repairs using third-party providers.
I have had reservations trusting most vendors beyond Apple for a very long time when it comes to repairs. Over the years, the quality of repairs with some independent repair shops – small and large – slowly began to gain my trust, based on evidence from friends and family members who have had their devices repaired by third-party. However, my faith in such establishments using high-quality Apple certified parts and specifically the safety of battery replacements remained the biggest reasons why I cannot fully entrust them. No responsible human should entrust the repair and installation of a new device battery from an untrained, uncertified independent repair service. It is too high a risk to take.
I have long wished to be able to walk into any shopping centre repair kiosk or shops on the High street, confidently hand over my iOS device for repairs knowing they are fully certified with the same training, using the same tools and genuine Apple parts as existing AASPs and the Apple store itself.
Apple expanding its authorised service network, with the provision of a free independent repair program certification to qualifying repair businesses, goes a long way in confirming their firm believe they have the safety of its users in mind, amongst other reasons.
I will still throw caution to the wind and continue to visit the Apple Store while the program expansion in the UK solidifies its reputation.