Only a 'Small Fraction' of iPhone Users Will Use Self Service Repair Program, Study Suggests

Very few iPhone users will repair their own ‌iPhone‌ to postpone their next smartphone purchase, despite the Self Service Repair program, according to research by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

apple independent repair program
Earlier this week, Apple announced the Self Service Repair program, giving customers who are comfortable with the idea of completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and manuals, starting with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups. While the scheme has been met with praise from Right to Repair advocates, it seems that few ‌iPhone‌ users will take advantage of it in practice.

CIRP's research suggests that almost all iPhones in use have a display in "useable" condition and most iPhones have a battery in "useable" condition. 12 percent of ‌iPhone‌ displays are cracked but useable, and just six percent are unusable and in need of replacement. 26 percent of ‌iPhone‌ batteries are said to provide battery life lasting half a day without charging, and 14 percent need to be charged every couple of hours. Battery replacements are therefore likely to be among the most common repairs, but comparatively few active devices are in need of replacing either of these parts that are subject to a high level of wear and tear.

cirp self service repair charts
The small number of active devices in need of replacement parts, combined with the fact that many users will not be comfortable completing their own repairs, indicates that very few ‌iPhone‌ users will actually take advantage of the Self Service Repair program. CIRP Partner and Co-Founder Mike Levin said:

It seems battery life affects consumers more than screen condition. 14 percent of iPhone buyers reported needing to charge a battery in their old iPhone every few hours. Only six percent of iPhone buyers said they had a cracked screen that made the old phone unusable, while another 12 percent had a cracked screen that was still useable. Of course, buyers have many reasons for upgrading from an old iPhone, including processor performance or storage capacity. So, at best a small fraction of buyers are likely to postpone a new iPhone purchase by repairing an old phone through the Self Service Repair program.

Since most new ‌iPhone‌ buyers already have "more than adequately usable phones," "few owners would use the Self Service Repair program to postpone their next ‌iPhone‌ purchase," according to CIRP's Josh Lowitz.

The Self Service Repair program will be available to users starting early next year in the United States and expand to additional countries throughout 2022.

CIRP's findings are based on a survey of 2,000 Apple customers in the U.S. that purchased an Apple Watch, ‌iPhone‌, iPad, or Mac between October 2020 and September 2021.

Top Rated Comments

Tagbert Avatar
2 weeks ago
Not a surprise. Most of us could do repair work on our cars but don't.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nicky G Avatar
2 weeks ago
John Gruber made a point of how niche a group this would appeal to yesterday, but he updated his blog today to reflect another point of view that some folks shared with him: This will be great for small-scale, non-AASP repair shops, who have the skills, but have not had access to manuals and authorized parts, and have not been able to do in-warranty repairs before now. From that perspective, even though it might not be a numerically large group who do these repairs, they may actually serve a much wider number of people now that this is open to them. It's a good point, I think.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dmr727 Avatar
2 weeks ago
That's why this was such a good move by Apple - it generates a huge amount of positive press without actually affecting them much at all.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lazyrighteye Avatar
2 weeks ago
This is not surprising. We've become such a disposable (and lazy) society. Ice maker in the fridge no longer working? Get a new one. Still, I firmly sit in the camp that would gladly tackle - and have - some of these more frequent repairs. I'm all for easing the repair process and remain interested to learn more about pricing and other program details.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
2 weeks ago
I wish they make the next iPad Pro/Air easy to open to change the battery easily.

Having to exchange it for a refurbished one has several downsides: First, your battery has to be severely degraded for them to offer you the battery service. Second: after you pay for the battery service, you receive a “refurbished” device, which could have a lower color accuracy or lower screen quality. It happened to me with an old MacBook Pro (non retina), I had to replace the screen and the new one didn’t have the same color accuracy.

Being able to safely open the iPad and replacing just the battery (something that eventually will be needed) is a win/win for all.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Heat_Fan89 Avatar
2 weeks ago
Seriously, if I have the money to drop $1K+ on a smartphone, you think I would cheap out on trying to repair it myself? No way, i'd rather spend the money and have either Apple or Best Buy who have the proper tools to do the job right the first time and not make it look like an amateur did the repairs. And think about it. If you try and sell a phone back to Apple or anyone else and they see it has been visibly repaired, you think you're going to get top dollar for it?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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