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Apple’s New Policy on iPhone Repairs

TLDR: Apple will allow the use of genuine parts for iPhone repairs without software restrictions, reducing repair costs and responding to new legislative changes.

Change in Repair Policy

Apple has announced that from this autumn, it will ease the restrictions on using used parts for repairing newer iPhones. This is a shift from its prior practice of encouraging the use of new, Apple-approved parts through software restrictions.

Impact of Legislative Changes

This policy revision follows new legislation passed in Oregon, which prohibits Apple’s practice known as “parts pairing.” This practice involves linking replacement parts to specific software, making repairs with unofficial parts difficult. Other states, including Colorado, are considering similar legislation.

Technical Details and Consumer Choices

Previously, if iPhone users replaced a part like a screen with a used but genuine Apple screen from a source like eBay, the phone would not function optimally. This was because the replacement part’s serial number would not match the one registered in Apple’s database. Now, Apple will allow these genuine parts to function correctly without the need for serial number verification.

Cost Implications for Consumers

This change is expected to reduce the cost of repairs for consumers. For instance, replacing a shattered screen at an Apple Store can cost about $300, while an independent shop might charge around $200 using a third-party screen. Apple will continue to notify users when non-Apple parts are installed, citing security concerns. This is supported by studies showing safety risks with third-party parts.

Response from Advocates

Advocates for the right to repair, like Nathan Proctor from U.S. PIRG, have welcomed this move, though they note it is a small step in the right direction. Proctor highlighted the lack of sense in restricting genuine Apple parts for repairs.

Future Legal Requirements

Starting in January, Oregon’s law will require companies like Apple to permit the use of any parts for repairs. Failure to comply could result in a daily penalty of $1,000 starting in 2027. Although Apple has agreed to support repair legislation, it has voiced concerns about the level of consumer protection provided by the new law.


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