The iPhone SE 3 only recently launched, but if you’ve already managed to break yours you don’t necessarily need to send it off for repair – you could send off for a repair kit instead.
That’s because months after announcing it, Apple has finally launched its Self Service Repair Store (opens in new tab), which allows you to order from a selection of over 200 different parts and tools, designed to let you repair problems with the iPhone SE 3, along with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 lineups.
Repairs to the display, camera and battery can all be carried out, and Apple will be expanding the service to support Mac repairs later this year.
To get started, you’ll want to check the repair manual (opens in new tab) for the device that needs fixing, in order to work out whether Apple offers a self-service repair for your issue, and which parts are needed. Then you can order them from the Self Service Repair Store.
The parts are the same ones as those available to authorized repair providers, and they’re sold to you at the same price, so you won’t pay extra to do it yourself. In fact, you’ll potentially pay less, since you’re not paying someone else to carry out the repairs for you, and because Apple will offer credit when returning certain parts for recycling.
That said, you will of course also need to order the tools to carry out the repairs, which will add to the cost. However, Apple is offering tool kit rentals for $49, with free shipping, for customers who only need to carry out a single repair. These rentals let you keep the tools for a week.
That's not a super low price, but it's still arguably reasonable, however it comes with a big caveat - as has been pointed out on Twitter (opens in new tab), Apple will put a hold of $1,100 (excluding taxes) on your card, and some or all of that may be charged to you if you fail to return the tool kit, or return it with damaged or missing pieces.
Analysis: A good step with limited availability and usefulness
Being able to repair your own iPhone is a great initiative, but it currently has a lot of limitations. The biggest limitation – and one which in fairness is outside Apple’s control – is that most people don’t have the skills to reliably repair their own iPhones. In most cases, you’ll still be better off leaving it to the experts.
But there are lots of other issues that should be more fixable. For one, the service is currently only available in the US – but Apple has said it will expand to other areas, starting with Europe, later this year.
You can also only repair a small selection of Apple gadgets. That too is set to improve with Mac repairs coming soon, but only for those with Apple silicon. Plus, the program still leaves out many iPhone models, not to mention iPads and Apple Watches. So hopefully support for these things will arrive eventually as well.
And finally, Apple Self Service Repair only supports certain types of repairs. For some issues, you’ll still have to get an authorized repair provider to do the job even if you do have the skills because the parts and manuals won’t be available.
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