Apple Expands Access to Used iPhone Components for Repair

Apple Expands Access to Used iPhone Components for Repair

Apple Expands Access to Used iPhone Components for Repair

Apple has recently announced that it will incorporate used components into its iPhone repair process.

Starting this fall, both customers and independent repair shops will have the option to utilize compatible used parts to fix iPhones.

Previously, only components like volume buttons, which didn't require configuration, could be harvested from used devices. However, with this latest announcement, all components essential for full functionality, including the battery, display, and camera, will be accessible for repairs. Notably, Face ID functionality will not be available immediately but is slated to be introduced later.

The expansion of repair options will initially be limited to the iPhone 15 lineup due to compatibility issues with older models. The longstanding restriction on using components from used devices stemmed from a process known as "parts pairing," which Apple has defended as crucial for maintaining user security and privacy.

John Ternus, Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, addressed the criticism surrounding parts pairing, emphasizing the company's commitment to ensuring genuine components for optimal device performance. Despite external skepticism, Ternus stressed that parts pairing is aimed at delivering the best quality to users, rather than blocking third-party parts.

However, right-to-repair advocates have raised concerns about Apple's approach, arguing that it hinders user-repairability. The process has faced scrutiny, with iFixit labeling it as the "biggest threat to repair." Instances where users encountered compatibility issues while attempting repairs using genuine components have fueled criticism of Apple's policies.

The move to incorporate used components into repairs aligns with ongoing discussions around right-to-repair legislation, such as Oregon's Senate Bill 1596, which specifically targeted Apple's parts pairing practice. While today's announcement represents a step forward, it remains uncertain whether it will fully align with the requirements of such legislation.

Biometric features like Touch ID and Face ID pose additional challenges for repairability, as Apple emphasizes the importance of maintaining stringent security measures. While the company remains open to third-party repairs for certain components, it maintains strict control over critical security functions to safeguard user data.

Apple's decision to expand repair options comes amid growing calls for increased device repairability and transparency. By allowing the use of used components and providing repair histories for devices, the company aims to empower users and promote a more sustainable approach to device maintenance.

Despite these efforts, Apple has clarified that it has no plans to sell refurbished parts for user repairs. Instead, the focus remains on enhancing repairability through improved access to genuine components and transparency regarding repair histories.

Overall, Apple's decision reflects a broader commitment to addressing concerns around device repairability while balancing considerations related to security and quality. As the company continues to navigate the evolving landscape of consumer electronics, its approach to repairability will likely remain a topic of ongoing discussion and scrutiny.

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Susanna Koelblin

Commercialization & Sourcing Leader Focused On Circularity

From blockchain to recycling, Susanna talks about emerging technologies and circularity topics in the fashion industry.

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