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Where Do iPhone Repair Parts Come From?

If you’ve ever had an iPhone repaired by a non-Apple fixit shop, did you wonder where the replacement parts come from? Writing for MacRumors, Juli Clover has taken a deep dive into the iPhone repair ecosystem. She discovers where the parts come from, how their quality varies, and how the industry works from the point of view of both Apple Authorized Service Providers and independent shops. It’s a fascinating look behind the scenes of a world many of us take for granted.

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Comments About Where Do iPhone Repair Parts Come From?

Notable Replies

  1. The sad thing is that Apple is often unwilling or even unable to repair their own gadgets. When my old iphone 5 stopped charging the guy in the local Apple Store told me it cannot be repaired and I have to get a new iphone. Nope – the local no-name repair shop replaced the charging unit for less than 50 bucks and it worked like new again. That’s close to outrageous.

  2. I’m very surprised that your Apple Store said that, since Apple has service pricing listed for screen repairs and other damage explicitly for the iPhone 5 and will repair anything back to the iPhone 3G. It’s not explicitly listed in the battery replacement section, which is focused on the newer phones that get the $29 batteries through the end of this year, but I strongly suspect that it’s included in the “other eligible models” category, which would cost Apple’s usual $79 for a battery replacement.

    https://support.apple.com/iphone/repair/service/pricing

    Sadly, it’s always possible to get someone at an Apple Store who simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about, either because they’re too new or just too ignorant. Of course, that’s true for all companies.

  3. In my experience the problem with Apple repairs is not price (I wouldn’t skimp on repairs when it comes to an expensive device I use for hours every day), but rather availability. If I go to the local Apple Store and the line is already 20 deep and once I finally make it to the front a pimply faced teenager proudly informs me they’re fully booked and the earliest they could do is three weeks from today and that I’ll then be without my iPhone for many hours, that is quite simply unacceptable.

    They should have an online system offering appointments within 2-3 days MAX and then you should be able to bring it in and pick it back up within an hour or two MAX (for the record, I did in fact experience that kind of service once at a European Apple Store a few years back). Anything else is just not realistic (apart from offering loaners assuming they could clone within minutes). Note also that appointments between 9-12 and 1-5pm are essentially useless to those of us who actually have to work (which I assume includes most people who can afford $1000+ phones).

    No doubt, their repair quality is top notch. But they need to be able to offer it quicker and it needs to be speedy. Considering the Apple Store brand, their reputation, the fact that these are $1000 telephones built to last almost forever, and reminding ourselves that Apple has $250B in the bank, I have zero doubt Angela could make this happen if she really wanted to.

  4. Yes, I was very suprised to hear a Store employee say that too, especially after the no-name guy told me he can fix it (I went there as a last resort as I would have lost some data otherwise). Even if an Apple employee is new and inexperienced he is supposed to ask a more experienced colleague.

    BTW – in my case it wasn’t the battery but the actual part that holds the lightning connector, so it was simply a defective connector, I guess.

  5. Syracuse. :smiley:

    But not here in the Bay Area my friend. From what I can see it’s a bit better today (5 days), but like I wrote above, when I needed it last time there was nothing within a week. Their best advice was to come in to the store and “see if something opens up”. That’s why I wrote above they need an online tool for appointments within few days. An appointment 5 days away at 2:45pm is useless to me.

  6. Well, clearly you should drive to Syracuse for service. Call it 2 days to get out of the Bay Area traffic, then 3 days to get across the country, and you’re even. :wink:

    I read your comment as saying Apple didn’t have such a system, not that Apple didn’t have capacity to make their existing system useful in short order. That’s an entirely different problem, and a serious one.

    Apple is having trouble keeping up with service issues, in part because they don’t treat Authorized Service Providers well (so they don’t get many new ones, and some drop out of the program). But the other reason is, I think, just a side effect of success. The more devices out there, the more problems there will be, and the more service will be needed. It may be too hard for Apple itself to scale certain aspects of its service operation, either quickly enough or even at all, to the levels necessary to provide fast service everywhere.

  7. Not saying this is how it should be in a better world but if you (or a business you’re tied to) sign up for a Joint Venture account for $500 per year you can book same day service and get to tier 2 when you call.

  8. Is that for tech support or for hardware repair service?

  9. :laughing: That sounds about right.

    I do collaborate with a guy in Ithaca so maybe next time I could find a reason to take it to the shop there. :wink:

  10. It gets you a Genius Bar appointment which can be either based on my conversation with my local Apple Store.

    I decided it was not useful as I can get an appointment within 36 hours and usually 12, this is in Dedham, MA.

  11. These are two separate benefits you get. For genius bar support you can almost always book a slot more than 15 to 30 minutes out from “now”. I think they just put you in the queue ahead of the surfs.

    And another benefit you can get is a special number to call in for tech support and skip the Teir 1 folks.

    And there’s more.
    The program is designed to allow someone to get all kinds of novice help and training on 5 devices. My clients that have it just use it for the front of the line genius bar apointements and the occasional call to tech support.

  12. Whatever problems we have with Apple policy and delivery is far less than the damage the after-market system delivers to many people. My daughter, Miriam purchased a second-hand phone which was sold as brand new in open box. The seller’s story was her parents purchased a new phone for her, but she had just purchased her own. She on-sold the iPhone 6S to Miriam. Turns out it was an aftermarket rebuild. full of counterfeit parts, fake screen, aftermarket battery. less than a year and the ambient light reader is u/s and the battery is expanding. The phone is a write-off, unfixable. In my view, Apple is correct in its policy of not extending parts to unapproved repair centres. This market is totally uncontrolled, and I’m sure many people do not understand that when they go to a mall repair kiosk. I would like to see Apple have phones do a parts inventory every time it starts up and reports back any unapproved parts. In many cases, people fix a phone cheaply and then ditch it quickly on eBay etc.

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