Should I use Apple’s self-service repair to fix my iPhone?

s: I have cracked the screen on my iPhone 12 and been living with the damage for a while. Apple now has a self-service repair program, so I’m wondering, should I try to repair the iPhone screen myself?

Dave Taylor

a: Since we carry it everywhere, it is not surprising that many people have damaged phone screens. Heck, if you narrow it down to just teens, well, I’m sure at least 25% of all teens have cracked phone screens!

The problem is that after decades of miniaturizing and assembling automated circuit boards, modern devices are hard to open and hard to repair. I’ve taken apart phones, tablets, and laptops, and the most common reaction when opening a device is amazement: It’s unbelievable how small everything is. There are small ribbon cables, neatly fitting hinges, small screw holes that need to be perfectly lined up, and more.

The truth is that opening and repairing the device is not suitable for most people. Even Apple says, “For the vast majority of customers who don’t have experience repairing electronic devices, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians using genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get repaired.”

right to repair

In fact, there is a lot of pressure on electronics manufacturers to meet the so-called Right to Repair Guidelines, which would allow us consumers to open up and repair the device. What the right to repair does not promise is that it would be easy to repair any of our machines. If you imagine that you can just unlock your Apple Watch and replace the battery, you might be very, very optimistic.

Google and Samsung are also making their products more suitable for repair to meet both new and upcoming Right to Repair regulations. Both are at the state and federal levels in the US, and the European Union has new regulations that define a consumer’s right to repair as well.

Should you try it? Can.

If you’re good at detail work, enjoy taking things apart, and want to try a self-service repair program, Apple has how-to videos online. It also offers professional hardware repair tool kits for rent, including every tool you need.

As of now, the Apple program is only for the iPhone SE (3rd generation), iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lines and only covers screen, battery and camera repairs. Apple plans to expand the program to some Macintosh models as well.

There is no right to easily repair

It’s a dilemma. The right to repair is nice, but without companies designing their electronic devices to be consumer-repairable, it wouldn’t do much good: You can unlock your device, but can you fix it? On the other hand, do we really want these companies to design for repair rather than design for features, capabilities, durability, and size?

Dave Taylor has been involved in the internet world since the early days of the internet. He runs the popular tech help site You can also find his gadget reviews on YouTube and chat with him on Twitter as Tweet embedvery.

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