Apple is rolling out its independent repair programme across Europe.
The service allows smaller shops to get hold of official parts and instructions to repair iPhones, without having to pay the costly fees that have traditionally come with being part of Apple’s programmes.
It had already rolled out in the US. But it will now extend further, into 32 European countries as well as Canada.
When it was introduced, last year, it was widely seen as a response to the “right to repair” movement, which argues that companies such as Apple have made it too difficult for customers to repair their own phones.
Smaller, independent shops argued that it was unfair that they were priced out of carrying out officially sanctioned repairs because they were unable to pay the expensive costs required to join the programme.
Apple did allow companies to join a network of authorised service providers, but that largely focused on bigger companies such as Best Buy.
The new programme allows those independent shops to join its new programme for free, if they sign up and go through a training programme. In return, they will receive access to official parts, tools, and training manuals that will allow them to complete repairs using those genuine parts.
Apple said that 140 businesses, together represented some 700 locations, had signed up for the programme in the US.
“We are thrilled to expand our independent repair program to more locations across the US and to businesses across Europe and Canada,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a statement. “When a customer needs a repair, we want them to have a range of options that not only suits their needs but also guarantees safety and quality so their iPhone can be used for as long as possible.”
Anyone participating in the programme must tell customers whether they are using official parts, and any pieces removed from an iPhone must be sent to Apple, where they will be dealt with through its recycling programme. To join, companies can sign up through Apple, nominating an Apple-certified technician to go through the training.
In return, those independent repair providers get access to the same parts provided to Apple’s larger authorised service centres, though they can still use their own parts too.