You’ve cracked the screen or your iPhone is on the fritz for something potentially more serious. But you don’t live near an Apple Store or Best Buy to get it fixed or replaced.
Apple may be perfectly cool if the repair is handled by the local shop down the street.
On Thursday, Apple announced a new program in which independent repair businesses, even one person-shops, can fix iPhones using genuine Apple parts, tools, training manuals, and diagnostics.
Such businesses can join the repair program at no cost. They’ll need to have an Apple-certified technician who can perform the repairs, a person who earned stripes by passing a 40-hour online training course.
You may pay less or more
The repair businesses that qualify can then purchase parts and tools from Apple at the same cost that current authorized Apple service providers pay. It is then up to the business to choose how much it will charge consumers, so a customer could end up paying less, more or the same as Apple charges for a common repair.
For example, Apple currently charges $29 to replace the screen on the iPhone XS Max under an AppleCare warranty, or $329 if you don’t have AppleCare.
If someone gets a repair from an independent shop that is a part of the new program and has a product that is still in warranty under AppleCare, that warranty will remain intact, but the customer will pay what the shop charges. The warranty for the specific repair will come from the independent shop.
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Apple hasn’t yet announced the mechanism in which a customer can determine whether the local repair shop has the certification.
For now, the new repair program is meant for iPhones only, not iPads, Macs or any of the other products Apple sells. And it only applies at the moment for repair shops in the U.S, though Apple has designs on expanding to other countries, where it has run pilots.
The program is meant to complement Apple’s current network of more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers or AASPs. This past June, Apple expanded the network into every Best Buy store in the U.S., tripling the number of AASP locations compared to three years ago.
“When a repair is needed, a customer should have confidence the repair is done right,” said Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams in a statement. “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.”
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