Apple opens up independent repair shop program to include Macs [u]

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Apple is expanding a repair program it launched in 2019 that provides independent repair businesses with access to the same tools, manuals, diagnostics, and parts as Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, with the company now supplying parts for Mac repairs.

Under the existing scheme, repair outfits with an Apple-certified technician can register to get all of the assistance and tools required to perform repairs on consumer goods, using the same techniques, processes, and parts that Apple Authorized Service Providers and Apple Stores employ. While the program previously centered on iPhone repairs, Apple is now updating it to incorporate its Mac lineup.

"When a device needs repairs, we want people to have access to a safe and reliable solution - this latest expansion joins the thousands of repair locations we've added over the past year," said Apple COO Jeff Williams to Reuters. "We're looking forward to bringing that convenient and trustworthy repair experience to our Mac users."

After initially launching the Independent Repair Provider Program in the United States, it is now available in 32 countries in Europe and Canada, and so far has 140 businesses serving 700 locations.

For consumers, the program provides easier access to repairs that use both genuine parts and work to a standard they would expect from an Apple Store or AASP. On Apple's side, the program expands the areas consumers can acquire support through, especially when there isn't an Apple Store or AASP nearby, as well as gaining revenue from the sale of components to the third-party businesses.

The program has some barriers to entry, such as denying home-based businesses and with Apple able to request business documentation at any time. An Apple-certified technician is also required to acquire parts, with certification exams and training provided free by Apple itself.

Apple has come under fire for the terms it imposes on participants in the program, including the need to agree to unannounced audits and inspections by Apple, presumably to identify the use of non-genuine parts by some outfits, with penalties of fines for those caught out. Signs and documentation must also explain that the store isn't an AASP, and that consent is required from customers showing they understand the difference before a repair can go underway.

Update: In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple shared a few more details about the program. For example, the program applies to all Mac models but is limited to out-of-warranty Macs. Qualifying shops can get access to parts, tool and training on Aug. 17.

Eligible components in the program include displays, logic boards and top cases. Notably, it appears that Apple has also switched the pricing for some repair parts — including upping the cost of 13-inch MacBook Pro displays. Shops participating in the program also must have Apple-certified technicians performing repairs, and are not eligible to offer whole unit replacements or ship devices to an Apple repair center.