Apple Expanding Independent Repair Provider Program to Macs

Apple today announced that it has expanded its Independent Repair Provider Program to include Mac computers, as reported by Reuters. The program, launched in the U.S. last year, was previously limited to out-of-warranty iPhone repairs.

ifixit 2018 mbp

Image: iFixit

Apple's website has more details about the program, but it has yet to be updated to reflect the inclusion of Mac repairs. For the iPhone, the program provides participating repair shops with access to the same Apple genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals, and diagnostics as Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers.

For the iPhone, repair shops need to have an Apple-certified technician who can perform the repairs to qualify for the program.

Last month, Apple announced that it was expanding the program to Canada and Europe.

Top Rated Comments

Blackstick Avatar
17 months ago
I was a Mac Genius for 7 years, some products are an absolute pain in the ass to repair (anyone who has done a DC-Power-SATA cable replacement on a Mid 2007 iMac knows exactly what I mean).

Back in those days, new technicians spent 4 awesome weeks in Cupertino learning the in's and out's of every product Apple makes. We saw Steve Jobs several times at Caffe Macs, then a small group of us had dinner at Outback Steakhouse with Woz - who ordered steaks to go... for his little dogs.

PDFs and videos will never compare to the awesome that were Genius training classes... which are no longer a thing.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shamino Avatar
17 months ago
If it's like the existing program, it's meaningless.

As many in the repair business have documented, the existing program prohibits you from any repair more complicated than swapping major components (display, battery, motherboard), doesn't allow shops to keep parts in stock (so customers need to wait a week for every repair job) and charges insane prices for the privilege. In other words, offering customers absolutely no advantage over mailing their device to Apple.

I think it is safe to assume that any Mac-repair program is going to be similarly useless. If anyone wants to claim otherwise, well, I'll believe it when I see it. And not a minute before.

The big advantage of a (competent) independent repair shop is that they can do the kind of repairs that Apple refuses to do. Like replacing a 5 cent capacitor or a $4 power management chip (charging an hour's labor) instead of swapping a $400 motherboard (losing all of the customer's data in the process). If Apple is serious about helping repair shops, then let's see a program where authorized shops can order chips and connectors that are only sold to Apple's factories and can't (legally) be purchased elsewhere.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
calzon65 Avatar
17 months ago
I wonder if this move is simply to appease the attacks Apple is now enduring from politicians accusing them of unfair competition.

Apple's culture when it comes to allowing others to repair their products has been pathetic. They need to open up in this area, especially with the IOS products.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shamino Avatar
17 months ago

Apple never even allowed the indies to do component-level repairs, ever... we're a self-servicing account, and if you read the 200 pages of legalese on GSX... they're not ok with people soldering a new capacitor onto a board ever. Doesn't mean it's not a cheap, effective way to fix a failed component, but that's never been Apple's way - they prefer to let their refurbisher in China do that.
You just made my point. Apple's repair program is completely useless to all of the well-established shops that are already providing board-level repair services to customers. If I can get my Mac fixed at an independent shop in a day or two for $100, why would I want to use an "authorized" shop that will charge me $500, take a week, and destroy all my data?

Apple is only doing this because they think they can con lawmakers into thinking that their program is somehow meaningful to consumers. It's not. It's just a PR stunt that changes nothing.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
l.a.rossmann Avatar
17 months ago

Wow this opinion is so uninformed about how the entire electronics industry works. I don't even know where to begin. While I'm old enough to remember people bringing TVs, and stereos, and other electronics in for repair... those days are for the most part long gone. It makes no financial sense.
I hear this a lot. A mentor of mine at Avatar Studios, Ricky Begin, mentioned how "all this surface mount stuff is too small and there's not going to be any way to fix it in an economically viable way.". He was way smarter than I was. I was 17, just starting out in the industry, clueless and arrogant. I learned so much on basic troubleshooting of electronics from him. I owe that whole lot at Avatar 13 years ago with my career now - Gretchen, Phil, Roy Hendrickson, Ricky, for giving me the groundwork on how to be a professional technician that set me up for success in the business I would create.

It was to my great surprise that in spite of how correct he was on everything he taught me, how wrong he was on this.

My payroll shows people making $25-$42/hr + bonuses in the middle of a worldwide recession-turning-depression offering these services, and I'm profitable while doing it - in the most expensive city in the US! I've even had students that were assistant managers at pizza shops go on to start their own businesses doing this, that are making as much or more than I am!

There's a tint of arrogance when someone thinks that because they cannot figure out how to make something work, that it doesn't work. They can't make it work, so no one can. That's not the way this works. I have yet to figure out how to make component level repairs to phone motherboards economically viable for reasons other than data recovery - but I certainly wouldn't tell someone who is successful in that field there that they are uninformed, simply because I couldn't make it work.

My inability to make something profitable does not mean it is not profitable overall. It means, it is not profitable to me.

You can't figure out how this would make financial sense while satisfying customers - but I have, with a google maps/yelp rating higher than any Apple store or certified repair provider in the area. So, I would push back against this idea that people are uninformed about how the electronics industry works because they disagree with you.

edit: and you aren't recognizing the entire time component of repair. A swap of a larger component can often be done right away. Many people aren't going to be willing to wait days or weeks for a repair versus same day repair consisting of a swap.
I agree, time matters - ordering a board that matches and waiting for it to come in often takes way longer than component level diagnostics and fixing it with what's available.

Since you brought that up, let's talk about stock - something you're NOT allowed to have with Apple's IRP. For something as basic as an iPhone battery, I have to take down the customer's information(INCLUDING THEIR ADDRESS), the IMEI/serial of their phone, and submit it to Apple to order the battery. I can't stock it to provide an instant repair to a walk in customer. I have to take down their information, then ORDER it SPECIFICALLY FOR THEM and wait for it to arrive to replace their battery - something we do in 90 seconds here while they wait.

These programs have nothing to do with expedience of repairs. The Apple IRP program explicitly prohibits standard best practices, like stocking parts so customers can be in & out without wasting their time.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shamino Avatar
17 months ago

Wow this opinion is so uninformed about how the entire electronics industry works....
So all those repair shops that actually do what you claim to be impossible are just lying and cheating?

Who is uninformed?

Nobody is saying that Apple needs to do this, but they don't have to spend millions of dollars on designs and policies for the express purpose of making it extra-difficult for anybody else do perform a repair.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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