Skip to main content

Apple’s program for independent repair shops requires surprise inspections

Independent repair shops looking to acquire genuine iPhone parts and receive official training will need to sign a contract that opens them up to surprise inspections and the risk of massive fines.

Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program, revealed in August 2019, allows third-party shops to perform common out-of-warrant repairs on iPhones. Participants will gain access to Apple’s parts, tools, manuals, and diagnostics through the program, which seeks to better meet customers’ needs by offering more outlets for iPhone repairs while maintaining the quality of service provided by the Apple Authorized Service Provider network.

However, a copy of the contract that third-party shops are required to sign to join the Independent Repair Provider Program, acquired by Motherboard, reveals very strict and invasive terms.

Independent repair shops that join the program will be subjected to surprise audits and inspections by Apple, which aims to make sure that the shops are not using “prohibited” parts. Apple defines such parts as both counterfeit parts, and parts that infringe on Apple’s intellectual property. If the shops leave the program, Apple reserves the right to keep doing the inspections for up to five years afterward.

If the audits and inspections reveal any violations, Apple may impose massive fines. For example, if Apple determines that over 2% of a repair shop’s transactions involved “prohibited” parts, it may impose a $1,000 penalty for each transaction within the audit period, in addition to making the shop pay for the cost of the investigation.

Apple also requires repair shops to share customer information upon request. This includes the customers’ names, phone numbers, and home addresses. The shops are also required to prominently display notices on their storefronts and websites that say they are not Apple Authorized Service Providers, despite receiving official certification from Apple.

The repair shops receive the contract from Apple after signing a non-disclosure agreement, Motherboard reported, citing multiple sources familiar with the program.

Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Kit Walsh told Motherboard that the conditions of the contract were “very onerous.”

“They give Apple a huge amount of discretion, impose potentially business-destroying costs and penalties on the repair shop, and require that they grant access to Apple without notice,” Walsh said.

It remains to be seen if the limitations and requirements imposed by Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program will limit its success.

Editors' Recommendations

Aaron Mamiit
Aaron received a NES and a copy of Super Mario Bros. for Christmas when he was 4 years old, and he has been fascinated with…
No, you can’t use an Apple gift card on Apple Pay
Photo of Apple gift cards.

A viral TikTok has made the internet rounds, showing a person who thought that they could transfer Apple gift card funds to Apple Pay. After buying a $300 Apple gift card, however, they quickly learned that that's simply not possible. While their choice might seem misguided in hindsight, there are plenty of people who have been left confused about the differences between Apple gift cards and Apple Pay.

While having a $300 Apple gift card certainly has its uses — such as buying 10 years of Apple Music, as the original poster jokingly pointed out — it's certainly not the same as having that same money to spend freely with Apple Pay. To avoid making the same mistake as this TikTok user, make sure that you understand the distinctions between the two Apple services, as it might just save you $300 (or more).
You cannot add Apple gift cards to Apple Pay

Read more
Apple may kill one of its most important iPhones with iOS 17
Apple iPhone X screen upright on a table.

Apple’s WWDC 2023 is just a few weeks away, which is when we expect the company to unveil new software updates for iPhone, Apple Watch, iPads, Mac, and more. This means we’ll be seeing a preview of iOS 17, watchOS 10, iPadOS 17, and macOS 14 during the conference. However, a new report seems to hint that iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 will drop support for devices that were released between November 2015 and November 2017.

According to MacRumors, a source with a proven track record for upcoming software updates reports that iOS 17 will drop support for the following devices: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, the first generation 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and fifth-generation iPad.

Read more
iOS 17 could be a surprisingly big update — here’s what it may change
An iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro laying on a table with their screens on.

Earlier this year, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg reported that iOS 17 may not be a big update, and would instead focus on fixing bugs and improving overall performance, as the company is shifting most gears toward the release of its augmented reality headset instead. However, now Gurman seems to have backtracked on that, saying in a recent Power On newsletter that iOS 17 may actually bring several of the “most requested features” to iOS.

That’s a very vague and general statement. But what could those highly requested features be? Here’s what we think could be added, based on feature requests over the years from the community.
Multiple timers

Read more