Author: Lisa Marie Sagarra
Apple announced Wednesday that it’s adding Best Buy retailers to its previously-exclusive list of authorized repair locations.
The facts of the exchange are simple: Nearly 1,000 Best Buy locations can now offer Apple-certified repairs with an Apple-certified technician. This brings the number of the third-party repair locations to 1,800, a figure that doesn’t include the just under 300 U.S. Apple Store locations.
But beyond the numbers, this means a few things for Apple customers. For one, fixing a broken iPhone screen just got much easier. Repair appointments at Best Buy, and other third-party locations, can all be booked through Apple’s support page the same as Apple Store ones.
In addition, Apple’s announcement says there are now three times more authorized service locations than there were three years ago. With the addition of the Best Buy stores, eight in ten Apple customers are within 20 minutes of an authorized repair location, Apple says.
Paul Roberts, founder of pro-right to repair organization Securepairs.org, notes that while this makes repairs generally more accessible, there’s still much more Apple could do to take the burden off owners of its devices.
Firstly, authorized repair locations aren’t typically allowed to do all the repairs the Apple Store’s Genius Bar would be able to do. (Like fixing those pesky MacBook keyboards, for example.) And Roberts says the Genius Bar’s capabilities are already limited, due to lack of training and on-site tools.
“It doesn’t actually address the core right to repair argument, which is to allow owners and independent repair shops, mom and pop repair shops, to do a full range of repairs on Apple devices,” Roberts says.
Roberts says the move does show that Apple is starting to listen to activists, consumers, and even lawmakers who have been calling for the company to open up its repair options. “Apple is inching, inching, inching away from their very hardline stance on repair and servicing for Apple devices,” he says.