Apple to enable repairs with used parts

In an effort to boost product longevity, Apple is expanding its iPhone repairs process, making it easier for customers to repair their devices with genuine used parts.

Currently, when repairing an iPhone, the user must match the device’s serial number to the serial number of the replacement part. A process called ‘parts pairing’ then confirms whether the new part is genuine.

Apple iPhone being repairedNew parts sold by Apple would be verified as genuine, whereas used or aftermarket parts would not be verified. Some, such as Touch or Face ID sensors, would not work at all.

Under the new iPhone repairs process, used genuine Apple parts will be ‘calibrated’ when installed in the device, giving them ‘full functionality and security’ for the first time. Users will no longer have to match serial numbers when buying parts from the Self Service Repair Store.

Apple highlighted that, as well as enhancing the user experience, extending the lifetime of its products will reduce the environmental impact of repairs.

“At Apple, we’re always looking for new ways to deliver the best possible experience for our customers while reducing the impact we have on the planet, and a key part of that means designing products that last”, said John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering.

“For the last two years, teams across Apple have been innovating on product design and manufacturing to support repairs with used Apple parts that won’t compromise users’ safety, security, or privacy.”

“With this latest expansion to our repair program, we’re excited to be adding even more choice and convenience for our customers, while helping to extend the life of our products and their parts.”

The tech giant has announced that the changes will be introduced from autumn this year, starting with ‘select iPhone models’. In addition, future iPhone releases will have support for used biometric sensors.

Safety and security

As part of their expanded iPhone repairs process, Apple is also enhancing systems to maintain iPhone users’ privacy, security and safety, and prevent stolen or lost parts being used in repairs.

The Activation Lock feature - which prevents an iPhone being used, erased or reactivated unless the correct Apple ID and password are entered - is being extended to individual parts. Apple explained: “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.”

Additionally, Apple is updating the ‘Parts and Service History’ section in the iPhone’s Settings, which tells users about any previous repairs. From this autumn, information will be provided about whether parts are new or used genuine Apple parts.

Commenting on the benefits of this new feature, the company said: “As device longevity increases, Apple believes it’s important that a device’s second or third owners have access to its full part and repair histories.”

Other repair initiatives

Customers can take products in need of fixing to an Apple store or an Apple Authorised Service Provider or use the mail-in repair service.

For common iPhone repairs, users with relevant experience repairing electronics can even try fixing their own Apple products. Apple’s Self Service Repair initiative makes the manuals, parts and tools used at Apple Stores and Apple Authorised Service Providers available to customers.

Launched in 2022, Self Service Repair now supports 40 Apple products, across 33 regions, in 24 languages.

Many other smartphone companies offer in-store repairs, authorised repair locations, mail-in repairs and provide online support. Samsung offers ‘doorstop’ and ‘pick up’ repairs, whereby a mobile van repairs a customer’s product on-site or collects it and returns it once repaired.

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