Apple has always been seen as one of the biggest enemies of the “right to fix” movement. He has been widely criticized for his strong restrictions on who can repair his devices, which ends up costing consumers a lot, even with Apple Care and warranty programs in place. Apple is now handling part of these complaints with its Independent Repair Provider program for third-party repairers, which is now expanding to almost every country where Apple products are sold.
The only places authorized to repair Apple products, such as iPhones, are at the official Apple Stores, which are rare between the two, or at authorized third-party companies that are usually as expensive as the original options. In addition to price considerations, however, these Apple Authorized Service Providers or AASPs are unable to reach many customers who may reside in more distant areas.
The Independent Repair Provider program was only launched in 2019 as something of a compromise between large AASPs and smaller stores that often use unauthorized tools and fake parts. This would allow these smaller stores to gain some form of Apple accreditation without threatening the business of Apple’s partners.
Signing up for the program is free, says Apple, but neither does it talk openly about the fine print of the program. These independent repair shops have access to only limited types of components, only the most common ones, such as batteries and screens for iPhones. They can also be fined a large amount if Apple suddenly decides to inspect and find them guilty of using unofficial components in their repairs.
The Independent Repair Provider program was previously limited to the USA, Canada and Europe. Now, it will expand to more than 200 countries throughout the year. Enrollment in the program is free, but technicians still need to pass their own certification courses and exams, and they are not exactly free.