Apple has never been friendly to user repairs, but the company has opened a new front in its efforts to convince customers to only pay Apple to fix their own devices. Last month, we discussed how the company has changed its battery health messaging in an attempt to scare users into only using Apple-authorized repair services. Now the company has introduced similar messaging around displays. Screen and battery replacements are two of the most common smartphone repairs and Apple is targeting both. Thus far, the company has only announced this ‘feature’ for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
This directly affects my day-to-day career, so while I can almost see Apple’s reasoning here, the fact is that these new warnings about battery and display replacements are inherently anti-consumer, and exist for the single purpose of making sure Apple can extract as much money from iPhone owners as possible.
While the majority of aftermarket batteries and displays are complete trash, I can tell you from personal experience, as someone who specializes in iPhone repair, that good parts do exist, and the only thing holding the greater repair market back is Apple’s insistence on adding DRM to their repair experience. That’s it.
In the United States alone, there are a vast number of people that simply can’t get to an Apple store. It’s simply not feasible. The only Apple store in the entire state of Maine, where I live, is in Portland, in the very southernmost part of the state, and it’s an incredibly small store by Apple standards. For much of Maine, Portland is a 2+ hour drive, one way. For some people, in the more northern part of the state, driving to Portland to have their iPhone fixed could become a 4 to 5 hour one way drive.
Apple refuses to expand in Maine. Point-blank. I’ve been told by upper management in the Maine Apple store that Apple doesn’t even want to have a retail location in Maine at all, and that they only do so to handle overflow traffic from New Hampshire and Vermont.
Yet Apple also feels it’s fine to unfairly hinder small businesses that exist across this country that exist just to fill in the gaps in service that Apple is openly leaving.
Maine may be one of the first states in the country to pass Right to Repair laws, and I hope they do. If anyone reading this is a fellow Mainer, first of all: Hi! Second: please visit this link and fill out this form to help, because this stuff affects everyone who uses technology, not just the people that repair it.