Why are repairs for Apple’s iPhone and iPad actually so expensive?

Apple has a reputation for being very expensive when it comes to repairs for iPhones or iPads. Although these are premium products, it cannot be denied that Apple tries to maintain the repair monopoly by hook or by crook. After all, it pays off – for Apple.

One clumsy reach toward the iPhone and it happens: The phone falls to the ground, the display is scratched and no longer responds to finger pressure. A repair is necessary. However, owners of Apple devices should not go to the nearest cell phone store or even try to repair the phone themselves. On the one hand, the warranty expires if the repair is not authorized by Apple, and on the other hand, original spare parts are not used. Apple guards them like a precious treasure.

The Cupertino-based company only supplies original spare parts to certified workshops and service partners – and even they have to adhere to strict conditions. Spare parts are only available to so-called “Apple Authorized Service Providers” and service providers who work for Apple in business sales. Resale is not allowed for any of the partners.

New repair program for iPhones and iPads – with high requirements

The European Union wants to put an end to Apple’s hustle and bustle with the right to repair. However, the regulations from Brussels rather refer to the fact that manufacturers must keep spare parts on hand for a certain period of time and that one must be able to repair their devices with conventional tools. Apple responded to the new EU rules with the “Independent Repair Provider Program”. Since mid-2020, repair shops in Germany have been able to apply for this program in order to receive original spare parts for the repair of iPhones and iPads.

But even this program is linked to all kinds of conditions. Only a certified technician is allowed to carry out repairs, and he or she must complete a two-day training course and pass an examination. The repair shop must also send any parts removed during the repair to Apple and inform the customer whether they obtained the replacement parts directly from Apple or via a dealer.

All of this means an increased workload for repair shops. And ultimately, no repairs may be carried out on devices whose warranty is still running. Such repairs will continue to be carried out by Apple itself or one of the few certified service providers.

Apple vs. Samsung: higher prices

This restrictive spare parts strategy means that original spare parts for Apple’s mobile devices are virtually unavailable on the open market. Apple determines who gets spare parts for and in this way controls the prices for the components – and thus also for every repair. Samsung, for example, charges 199 US dollars for a display repair for its flagship Galaxy S21 5G. For the iPhone 12, the price is 80 U.S. dollars higher.

The fact that the Americans are not squeamish when it comes to repair costs is also shown by the price jump between the iPhone 8 and its successor iPhone X. A display repair for the 8 model costs $149. For the iPhone X, it costs 130 US dollars more. Of course, the display of the iPhone X is bigger and it is an OLED and no longer an LC display. But does that justify a price increase of over 40 percent?

Deutsche Telekom is already taking reservations for the iPhone 13

Free competition for price reductions

If original spare parts were available on the open market, i.e. if there were competition between workshops, prices would also fall. Apple, on the other hand, is opposed to this. The argument is that they want to ensure that the repairs meet the company’s quality standards. It remains to be seen whether such requirements are necessary. For self-repairers, it is an encroachment on their autonomy to do what they want with the purchased product.

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