Apple Makes a Big Move on iPhone Repairs

'Parts pairing' won't apply to iPhone 15 fixes starting this fall, company says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2024 8:07 AM CDT
Apple Is Making It Easier to Fix iPhones With Used Parts
The change will make it easier for customers and independent shops to repair iPhones.   (Getty Images/AnnaStills)

Apple is making a big change that could make it cheaper, and easier, for people to get iPhones repaired. The company said in an update Thursday that in a new process beginning this fall with "select iPhone models," customers and independent repair shops will be able to replace components with "used genuine Apple parts" without any loss of function. More:

  • Parts pairing. Under the current repair process, known as parts pairing, parts are effectively locked to devices and users installing parts need to match the device's serial number to that of a new part provided by Apple, the Verge reports. When parts from other iPhones are used, users receive what the Verge calls "pesky notifications" about the part being unverified. Some features stop working when such parts are installed.

  • The new policy. Apple tells the Washington Post that under the relaxed repair policy, owners of the iPhone 15 and later models can repair devices with used parts like screens or batteries with no loss of function. "Calibration for genuine Apple parts, new or used, will happen on (the) device after the part is installed," the company said in its Thursday update.
  • The "right to repair" movement. The move is seen as another victory for "right to repair" advocates, who have strongly criticized parts pairing. Apple senior VP of hardware engineering John Ternus tells TechCrunch that his team has long been working on the issue, independently of legislation like a recently passed right-to-repair bill in Oregon. "We want to make things more repairable, so we're doing that work anyway," he says. "To some extent, with my team, we block out the news of the world, because we know what we're doing is right, and we focus on that." He says that parts pairing "is not evil," noting that third-party batteries, in particular, can be hazardous.
  • Stolen parts. Apple said it is also taking steps to deter people from selling parts from stolen iPhones. "If a device under repair detects that a supported part was obtained from another device with Activation Lock or Lost Mode enabled, calibration capabilities for that part will be restricted," the company said.
(More iPhone stories.)

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