Apple has announced a new Self Service Repair program, a program aimed at making available the information, tools, and components that owners of broken Apple devices need to fix their devices themselves.
While a lot remains unknown about the program (I mean, it could end up being little more than a PR stunt), people have already started asking the obvious question: Should I try to repair my iPhone?
It's a good question.
First off, I've not seen the repair manual that Apple is planning to offer up, and neither have I seen the tools it will be selling for repairs. Information and tools can mean the difference between a successful repair and making things worse.
And that's something to bear in mind before undertaking a repair.
Modern smartphones are not easy to repair. That's just how it is. Don't believe me, take a look at iFixit teardown of the latest iPhone. Along with repair essentials such as a screwdriver kit (and not any old screwdriver kit), you need things like a heat gun and suction handle to get inside the iPhone.
Using screwdrivers and heat guns on your iPhone comes with a degree of risk.
That's how it is.
And if you break things even more than they are broken, then it sucks to be you.
Parts are also not going to be cheap, and if you screw up a repair -- a slip with a screwdriver here, a rip of a ribbon cable there -- you're in a much deeper world of hurt. You can get quite comfortable at carrying out repairs -- check out how comfortable someone like iPhone Repair Guru is at swapping parts -- but unless you're doing it often, then perils await you.
I've seen the aftermath of failed repairs, and they can be ugly, not to mention expensive to sort out.
Another problem I've come across is secondary damage that makes a repair tricky. For example, damage to the metal frame of an iPhone makes it hard -- if not impossible without the right tools -- to replace the screen.
Broken glass and defective batteries all present a risk.
Another problem I can see with the average person is that they aren't going to be interested in buying tools for a one-off job. My hope is that Apple will offer a tool rental service for those wanting to carry out repairs, where the user can return the tools when they are done.
That would make a lot of sense.
I'm all for people being able to access the tools and information they need to repair their devices, but I'm more excited about Apple opening out this information to third-party repairers.
This is where the most good is going to be made.
So, would you try to repair a broken iPhone? Yes, you should, but be aware of the risks. And if in doubt, seek professional help.