Apple is no longer serving pettiness at the Genius Bar.
Apple will allow Apple stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) to repair iPhones that have non-Apple replacement batteries, according to documents obtained by MacRumors.
Previously, Apple policy has been to deny repairs if an iPhone has an off-brand replacement battery — even if the repair issue had nothing to do with the battery. In June 2018, it got in trouble for this policy in Australia, where Australian officials fined the company 9 million Australian dollars ($6.7 million) for not offering repairs to customers being affected by a glitch caused by a third party repair issue.
Now, three “reliable sources,” according to MacRumors, confirm that there has been an internal policy change. Apple will repair phones that have received non-Apple replacement batteries, even when the off-brand battery is the root of the issue; they’ll replace your janky battery with a nice Apple one, for a fee. How kind.
Apple made a similar policy change regarding screen replacements in 2017. Then, it decided that third party screen repairs would no longer totally void the warranty. However, according to MacRumors, it still won’t touch phones with replacement “logic boards, enclosures, microphones, Lightning connectors, headphone jacks, volume and sleep/wake buttons, TrueDepth sensor arrays.”
What’s behind the reported change of heart? Apple and other electronics manufacturers have faced increasing criticism over how tightly they hold the reins when it comes to repairing their devices. Some feel that consumers should have the “right to repair” the devices they bought and paid for, however they wish — and that companies like Apple should enable that. Right-to-Repair legislation, which would codify this stance in law, is currently wending its way through multiple state legislatures; California became the 18th state to introduce a bill like this in March 2018.
Apple has been lobbying against these efforts. So perhaps the new repair policy is a way to show that they’re willing to have a more lenient and open stance about device repair, as long as their customers always come back to the mothership.