Apple opens up more iPhone repair options, which raises an interesting question

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Jason Koebler for 404 Media: Apple Announces Half Measure to Make iPhones More Repairable Immediately After Law Banned Its Repair Practices

What this means, practically, is that Apple will let you swap the screen of one iPhone with the screen of another iPhone, something that was impossible for a consumer or independent shop to do under the restrictions it has implemented on recent iPhone models. The current announcement will not allow for aftermarket parts to be used, which is a critical distinction. Aftermarket parts are widely used in other electronics, other companies’ smartphones, and they used to be widely used in iPhones prior to the parts pairing restrictions.

Whenever Apple is asked to open up their platforms even an inch, you’ll surely hear people argue that it would be a security nightmare if Apple opened the door even a bit. I find these to be very “the sky is falling” stories about the dangers of user choice, but what makes the part pairing issue interesting is that we have history here. I believe it wasn’t until the Face ID generation of iPhones that tons of iPhone components had the “part pairing” issue, so we have about a decade of iPhone history where third party parts were able to be used to repair broken iPhones. iPhone unit sales in 2023 aren’t much different than they were in 2015, so it’s not like the iPhone was a niche product back when they were more repairable, so do we have examples of widespread fraud committed due to users repairing their iPhones with parts not blessed by Apple? If there are, I’d love to see them because I haven’t been able to find anything myself.