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Apple will open the iPhone to repair with used parts

Apple is finally making it easier for users to repair their iPhones with used parts. In an update on Thursday, the company announced that this fall, owners of “select” iPhone models will be able to repair their devices with used, genuine parts while retaining full functionality.

When repairing a phone, Apple requires iPhone users to go through a process called parts pairing, which makes them match the serial number of their device to that of a new part sold by Apple. If a user replaced a part with an aftermarket or used component, the iPhone would display pesky notifications saying that Apple isn’t able to verify the newly installed piece. In the case of Face ID and Touch ID sensors, the part might not work at all.

This change should do away with these notifications for used parts, as Apple says “calibration for genuine Apple parts, new or used, will happen on device after the part is installed.” It also means users and repair shops will no longer have to provide the serial number of the device they’re fixing when ordering most parts from the Self Service Repair Store.

The change will apply to displays, batteries, and cameras at launch. Apple says “future” iPhone releases will come with support for used biometric sensors, such as Face ID or Touch ID.

At the same time, Apple is also getting more serious about tracking used iPhone components. The company announced that it will extend its Activation Lock feature, which is supposed to prevent thieves from using a device that’s lost or stolen, to iPhone parts. “If a device under repair detects that a supported part was obtained from another device with Activation Lock or Lost Mode enabled, calibration capabilities for that part will be restricted,” Apple says.

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If you do end up repairing your iPhone with a used part, the device will store that information in the Parts and Service History section of the Settings app on iOS. Apple doesn’t specify which iPhone models will be supported this fall, but the company told TechCrunch it will be the iPhone 15 and later.

“With this latest expansion to our repair program, we’re excited to be adding even more choice and convenience for our customers, while helping to extend the life of our products and their parts,” John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, says in a statement.

Even though Apple still hasn’t extended its approval to aftermarket iPhone parts, the change is huge for repair shops and DIYers who have had to deal with paying a higher premium for new iPhone parts.

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