Apple's Independent Repair Provider Program for iPhones has expanded to include more than 140 US companies with more than 700 locations across the US, the company said Wednesday. Apple is also bringing the program to Europe and Canada, introducing it to 32 other countries.
Launched last fall, the Independent Repair Provider (IRP) program gives iPhone owners an additional third-party channel for repairs. To qualify for the program, a business needs to have an Apple-certified technician on staff. Businesses in the program, which is free to join, have access to free training from Apple, as well as the same genuine parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics as Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and Apple Store locations.
The program launched after Apple activated a dormant software lock on the iPhone's battery, hindering third-party battery replacements.
"When a customer needs a repair, we want them to have a range of options that not only suits their needs but also guarantees safety and quality so their iPhone can be used for as long as possible," Apple's chief operating officer Jeff Williams said in a statement.
Last year, Apple also expanded its AASPs, adding all Best Buy stores in the US. There are now more than 5,000 AASPs across the country.