Apple expands third-party repairer program, mostly in Asia

Applicants sought from Afghanistan to Vietnam – even Moscow and Myanmar – with the rest of world allowed later this year


Apple has announced an expansion of its Independent Repair Provider program, the scheme that provides authorised third-party companies to repair out-of-warranty iThings.

The manufacturer of $699 wheels , plus assorted computing devices, kicked off the scheme in the USA in 2019 and expanded it to Canada and the EU in mid-2020.

And now Apple has expanded the program to 38 new nations, of which only Brazil, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates are not in Asia or Oceania.

The abovementioned nations are joined by big markets like India, Australia, and Korea, plus Tonga (pop. 104,000), the Cook Islands (pop. 17,500), and holiday hotspots like The Maldives and Fiji. Myanmar, currently ruled by a military junta that usurped a legitimately elected democratic government, also made the list.

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A further 121 nations, from Albania to Zimbabwe, will get the program later in 2021. China, Mexico, and Nigeria are the big inclusions in the last round.

Apple also operates an Authorized Service Provider Program that allows members to perform repairs on iThings both in and out of warranty.

But even with that scheme in place, Apple faced criticism for all-but-monopolising the repairs business for its products through its own Genius Bars, while also forcing grey market third party repairers to use components of dubious provenance and sometimes spotty functionality. A growing “right to repair” movement, often backed by lawmakers, also pressured Cupertino to be more accommodating in the interest of fair competition and offering consumers more and cheaper options.

Apple now appears to have decided its response to those concerns needs to be global. Which is good news if anyone ever gets to go on holiday to spots like Fiji again, and for Apple users everywhere. ®

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