Student Interest

Apple’s Repair Service Monopoly

Since the release of the iPhone X , Apple has been making it harder for individuals or third-party companies to repair Apple products. 

Apple has done this by creating a monopoly whereby they are the only ones who can repair their products and charge you whatever they want for their service. This has come into the spotlight since the release of the iPhone X where screen repairs for this device were at first nearly impossible. Consumers found that using a repair company outside of Apple to replace the screen, a big percentage of the screen display functionality would go to waste. As soon as the device with a new screen is turned back on consumers were greeted by “unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple display”, also Face ID and True Tone features will be automatically turned off and there would be no way to make them work. And of course, if you pay Apple for the repair service everything would work as normal. 

But how do Apple devices know when there has been a third-party repair? 

Well, it is believed that iPhone parts have an identical serial number that is linked to the original device, and the logic board is constantly checking if every part of the phone is the correct and an original piece. An example of this could be that once consumers change the screen on the iPhone X, the logic board will proceed to check the serial number on the replacement part and if it doesn’t match with the device’s serial number, then some features will be turned off as “punishment” for not paying Apple a lot of money to do the repair.

For a time, third-party repair companies had found a way around this issue since they used a specialized programming computer that could reprogram and edit the replacement part serial number so that it could match the iPhone’s serial number and everything would work as normal. But with the recent release of the iPhone 12 the solution that the third party companies found is now useless and things have gotten even worse for them. 

On October 28th a YouTuber named Hugh Jeffrey conducted an experiment with two new iPhone 12´s where he swapped the pieces between the two to see how repairable the new iPhone 12 was. He soon found that the new iPhone was harder to repair than ever, since now not only did the swapped screens lose their features like in the iPhone X, but now the camera would refuse to work properly; and in the case of a logic board replacement, even more problems occur such as screen unresponsiveness and battery not being recognized.

In a conclusion, Apple keeps on making it harder for people to repair their own devices, and if consumers want to keep full functionality of their phone, they basically have no other option than taking it back to an Apple Store and spend a lot of money on a possible simple repair. This shouldn’t even be happening since consumers should have the right to repair their own devices, but greedy companies such as Apple only seem to care about making profits.

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