To have an Apple product repaired, you often have to go straight to the (expensive) source – an Apple Store – or a large third-party company. If you live somewhere with limited choices, Apple’s recently announced expansion of its Independent Repair Provider program could change that. The company plans to expand its repair program to “nearly every country where Apple products are sold,” meaning someone near you will soon be able to use official Apple parts to fix your cracked phone.
At the moment, the program is only available in the US, Canada and Europe, but Apple’s announcement says that repair shops from countries like Australia, Japan and Korea can join this week, with carriers from even more countries, including China. the program later this year.
Providers must apply to participate, but once approved, they can only purchase a limited number of first-party materials, such as batteries, screens, and diagnostic tools. So while your local repairer can fix the most common issues with official parts, anything more exotic should go through Apple, one of its authorized service providers, or you risk voiding a warranty or no longer being supported.
If you work really hard to fix devices, there are other things to look out for too. Participation in the program comes with a contract that allegedly gives Apple the right to inspect repair shops as well as pay a fine if something goes wrong. Apple can charge $ 1,000 per transaction for any store it catches using knockoff parts in more than two percent of repairs, according to a Motherboard report
Apple generally only seems to support third-party repairs if it can find a way to monetize them, and this repair program doesn’t seem to be any different. This is the company that routinely tries to destroy repair bills and has come up with methods to render iPhones non-functional if they use third party batteries after all.
You can read the full list of participating countries and regions on Apple’s website.