Apple has been a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to iPhones and independent repair shops. Earlier this month, we discovered that people are running into problems with third-party iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max repairs due to a particular chip on the battery. And repair specialists like iFixit have repeatedly called Cupertino’s design decisions “user-hostile.” But on Thursday, Apple announced a new independent repair program for out-of-warranty iPhones.
“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 Authorized Service Provider network,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer in a press release. “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.”
Independent repair shops can apply to Apple to join the program for free, although there are certain requirements like requiring Apple certifications for technicians. (Apple says the certification process is also free.) Once accepted to the program, repair shops will have access to genuine Apple parts and tools, training, diagnostics, and other resources. Additionally, these third-party repair shops will have access to those parts and resources at the same price as authorized Apple repair shops. Apple says that over the past year it piloted the program successfully with 20 businesses in North America, Asia, and Europe.