Repair

Tim Cook says it ‘feels good’ to offer parts and manuals for self-service repair options

Apple's marketing illustration for the Self Service Repair program

For what feels like the longest time, Apple has been pushing back against the idea of self-service repairs for its products. The arguments have varied, but the more consistent ones have been about user safety and wanting to make sure that the repairs get done properly. Basically, "keep it for the experts" and call it good. But, that viewpoint has changed, and now Apple's CEO is making some public comments on the matter.

Apple will publish self-service repair manuals on its support site

Apple's marketing illustration for the Self Service Repair program

On November 17, 2021, Apple announced its own self-service repair program. This is designed specifically around the right-to-repair movement, a response to so many demands out there in the wild that owners of iPhones and iPads and Macs (and other devices) be allowed to repair their own devices without voiding any warranties. It's a way of thinking Apple hasn't subscribed to for quite some time, but it finally came around.

Are you going to be repairing your own Apple devices?

Apple's marketing illustration for the Self Service Repair program

Apple has the unenviable task of always being under the spotlight. It's just one of the things that comes with being a company like Apple. (Though, some other large companies seem to avoid the same microscopes. But that's a different topic for a different day.) So, it isn't surprising in the slightest that the company gets some major pushback for the public statements it makes -- especially when it about faces on the matter at some point down the road.

iPhone 13 screen repair process called a ‘trap’ that may have huge implications for the repair industry

Apple would very much like to keep tabs on the repair process for all of its devices. For some, that's a bonus because it means that the company who makes the devices can also fix them. And there are also authorized service providers if one can't make it to a physical Apple Store. However, some see it as a way for Apple to keep an iron grip on something it doesn't want out of its control. Both are probably true.

FTC tasked with drafting new right to repair rules

Apple, like many large tech companies, is not particularly fond of the idea of third-party repair offerings. Part of that comes from the fact that the company itself offers repair services. Some of it is a requirement for genuine parts (that might not always be available for third-party repair shops). And in the end, it means a lot of lobbying by Apple and those other companies to try and stop right to repair efforts across the globe.

MacBook Pro schematic leak has been an unexpected help to Apple-authorized repairers

Independent Apple-authorized repair shops are taking advantage of the stolen MacBook Pro schematics to recover lost data for customers, according to a new report.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

A ransomware group recently stole MacBook schematics. The stolen PDFs contain wiring diagrams. This is helping repairers recover lost data for customers. Apple doesn't provide these schematics to repairers.

Stolen Quanta docs benefit Apple repair shops

As recently reported by The Record, ransomware group REvil ahead of Apple's April 21 “Spring Loaded” event released schematics for upcoming MacBook Pros, stolen from Apple supply partner Quanta Computer, demanding that Apple buy back the available data by May 1.

→ How to turn your old MacBook into a glowing light

Aside from corroborating earlier rumors which said that an upcoming MacBook Pro refresh would ditch the Touch Bar and revive an SD card slot along with MagSafe magnetic charging, the hacking group actually did Apple repair professionals an accidental favor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRvojCLKWik

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Specifically, the leaked schematics are helping Apple-sanctioned repairers with computer data recovery, Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the Repair Association told Vice:

Our business relies on stuff like this leaking. This is going to help me recover someone's data. Someone is going to get their data back today because of this.

And this:

Armed with a schematic, you cannot build a phone or a MacBook. The diagram is basically, this part connects to this part. You don't know what the parts are or what they do. You just know that there's a connection.

One thing is certain: the stolen docs contain no trade secrets, says YouTuber Justin Ashford.

Authorized repair shops vs. Apple

Ashford summed it up nicely:

Apple is acting like they haven't been using the same circuits for years. There are so many things that are identical from phone to phone that are just kind of moved around. This whole thing about arguing about trade secrets is horse shit.

Indeed, the stolen files are a bunch of PDFs that illustrate layouts of logic boards, wiring diagrams and stuff like that.

Ashford continued:

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me legitimately what having a wiring diagram ahead of time does to hurt them, especially since they used to give it away. I'm going to use it and I'm going to help people with it.

Although Apple is working hard to eliminate its whole carbon footprint by 2030, the Right to Repair movement has blasted the company for keeping documents like product schematics away from its authorized independent repair businesses.

Image Credit: iFixit