Apple is screwing you by making third-party repairs hard and expensive

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If Apple and other tech companies are successful, it will only be more difficult to get our phones and other devices fixed by third party companies.

Smartphones and many other technological devices are increasingly designed in such a way that it is difficult to repair or replace individual components.

This can involve soldering the processor and flash memory to the motherboard, gluing components together unnecessarily, or using non-standard pentalobe screws which make replacements problematic.

Numerous submissions to an Australian “right to repair” inquiry called on technology makers to provide a fair and competitive market for repairs and to make products that are easily repairable.

The right of repair refers to the ability of consumers to have their products repaired at a competitive price. This includes the ability to choose a repairer, rather than having to default to using the device manufacturer’s services.

But it seems Apple doesn’t want its customers to repair their iPhones or Macbooks on their own. The company lobbied against the right to repair in the United States and has been accused of deliberately slowing iPhones with older batteries.

One can expect opposition to the right to repair from tech companies. Encouraging consumers to use their service centers increases their income and extends their market dominance.

In its defense, Apple said third-party repairers could use substandard parts and make devices vulnerable to hackers.

It also defended its battery warning indication as a “safety” feature, in which it began to alert users if their phone’s replacement battery was not from a certified Apple repairer.

In the United States, Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program grants certain suppliers access to the parts and resources needed to repair their devices. Independent repair shops in 32 countries can now apply, but the program has yet to expand outside of the United States.

[Read: How do you build a pet-friendly gadget? We asked experts and animal owners]

Impact on users

With the iPhone 12 – the latest iPhone offering – Apple has made it even more difficult for third-party repairers to repair the device, increasing users’ reliance on its own services.

Apple has increased its repair costs for the iPhone 12 by over 40%, compared to the iPhone 11. It charges over A $ 359 to repair an out-of-warranty iPhone 12 screen and A $ 109 to replace the battery.

Historically, third-party repairers have been a cheaper option. But using a third-party repairer for an iPhone 12 could make some phone features, such as the camera, almost inoperable.

According to reports, repairing the iPhone 12 camera requires Apple’s proprietary system setup application, which is only available to authorized company technicians.

It’s not just Apple either. Samsung’s flagship phones are also quite difficult for third-party repairers to repair.

Environmental impact

When some parts for repairs are not available, manufacturers instead produce new phones, consuming more power and resources. In fact, building a smartphone consumes as much energy as using it for ten years.

Stack of crushed and discarded smartphones