Apple is removing some restrictions on iPhone repairs

Apple said Thursday that it is easing limits on repairing used parts such as screens, batteries and cameras in new iPhones, reversing its previous practice of using software to encourage people to work with newer and more expensive Apple-approved parts.

The change comes just weeks after Oregon passed a law banning Apple's practice of attaching parts to software, known as “parts bundling.” Similar bills are being considered in Colorado and more than a dozen other states. Apple opposed the Oregon law before it passed, saying it would expose consumers to safety risks if it required Apple to allow low-cost parts made by third-party suppliers.

In the past, if an iPhone owner broke a part — a screen, for example — and installed a genuine, Apple screen purchased from a source like eBay, the replacement display wouldn't work properly because the serial number didn't match. In the Apple database. The only way to install a fully functional replacement part was if it was purchased from Apple and had the tools to attach the part to the phone.

Apple's new policy will remove restrictions on the iPhone 15 released last year. Apple said the change will apply to genuine Apple parts starting this fall, meaning those made by iPhone suppliers. If a genuine replacement part is installed, the phone will automatically work with it without requiring a technician to provide Apple with the serial number. The replacement part will then work seamlessly with the iPhone.

The reversal comes five months after the New York Times published an analysis of Apple's increasing restrictions on iPhone repairs, raising costs for consumers.

within it Press release In announcing the change, Apple said it would streamline its parts-assembly process to make it easier to repair used Apple screens, batteries and other components in some iPhones — not components made by third-party suppliers. Those parts are usually less expensive and can save the customer money on repairs. Replacing a broken screen at an Apple Store costs roughly $300, about $100 more than an independent shop would do using a third-party screen.

An Apple spokesperson said people can install third-party accessories, but iPhones will continue to use software to warn them when that's done, because the company believes it's important for customer safety and security. He pointed out Study Fund Apple showed that most of the third-party smartphone batteries failed safety tests and some caused fires.

Nathan Proctor, who lobbied states for the REPAIR Act on behalf of US PIRG, a nonprofit funded largely by small donors, said the move is a small step in the right direction. Apple's restrictions on installing genuine Apple parts for repairs never made technical sense, he said.

“It was always a ridiculous and ridiculous practice,” Mr. Proctor said.

Starting in January, Oregon's law will allow Apple and other customers to use any part in repairs — even those not approved by the original smartphone maker. Apple will be fined $1,000 per day for failure to comply with the law starting in 2027.

When the Oregon bill passed, Apple said it supported the repair law, but said the bill “doesn't provide the consumer protections Oregonians deserve.”

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