Apple expands access to official repair parts for third-party shops

Apple just announced a new program to make it easier to repair out-of-warranty iPhones. In addition to Apple Authorized Service Providers, independent third-party repair shops will be able to access official repair parts and tools.

There are currently three options when you break your screen or other parts of your iPhone. You can go to an Apple store and give your iPhone to Apple employees. You can go to an authorized store (such as Best Buy stores in the U.S.), which means your iPhone will be repaired by Apple-certified technicians. Or you can go to a normal repair shop.

Authorized Service Providers already have access to official parts and tools. If your iPhone is under warranty, you can get a free repair and Apple pays back the authorized repair shop directly.

But until today, if you were a non-authorized repair shop, you couldn’t get official parts. It could result in mixed experiences with parts that don’t perform as well as official parts.

Starting today, any repair shop in the U.S. can get a free online certification in order to access the new repair program. After that, you can buy genuine parts and tools. You can also access the same repair manuals and diagnostics as authorized repair shops.

Apple says that it’ll expand the new program to more countries in the future. The company is already testing the program with 20 shops in North America, Europe and Asia.

This is great news for customers, as it should improve the overall quality of repairs. Apple is essentially lowering the entry barrier to qualify to official parts.

If you want to make sure that your device is repaired using genuine parts or if your device is still under warranty, you should still go to an authorized repair shop or an official Apple store. It’s going to be hard to tell if third-party repair shops are using genuine parts as nobody is forcing them to switch to the new program.