You can now access Apple’s official diagnostics tool online for DIY repairs

Enlarge / The iPhone 15 is part of Apple’s self-repair program now.

Samuel Axon

Apple today expanded the Self Service Repair program it launched in April to include access to Apple’s diagnostics tool online and the iPhone 15 series and M2 Macs.

The online tool, Apple said in today’s announcement, provides “the same ability as Apple Authorized Service Providers and Independent Repair Providers to test devices for optimal part functionality and performance, as well as identify which parts may need repair.” The troubleshooting tool is only available in the US and will hit Europe in 2024, according to Apple.

Upon visiting the tool’s website, you’ll be prompted to put your device in diagnostic mode before entering the device’s serial number. Then, you’ll have access to a diagnostic suite, including things like a mobile resource inspector for checking software and validating components’ presence, testing for audio output and “display pixel anomalies,” and tests for cameras and Face ID.

Apple’s support page says the tests may “help isolate issues, investigate whether a part needs to be replaced, or verify that a repair has been successfully completed.”

The tool requires iOS 17.0 or macOS Sonoma 14.1 and later.

Apple’s Self Service Repair program relies on parts pairing, though, and critics say this limits the tools’ effectiveness. Self-repair activist iFixit has been vocal about its disagreement with Apple’s use of the practice since the tech giant launched its self-repair program. iFixit has argued that parts serialization limits the usage of third-party parts. In September, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens called parts pairing “a serious threat to our ability to fix the things we own,” noting that Apple may be seeking to strong-arm a favorable customer experience but that it’s costing us the environment and “ownership rights.”

In a statement to Ars Technica today, Wiens expressed further disappointment with Apple’s parts serialization:

Apple still has a long way to go to create a robust repair ecosystem, including ending their repair-hostile parts pairing system. This software tool clearly illuminates the problems we’ve identified with parts pairing, where the diagnostic tool fails to recognize the ambient light sensor in a new part we’ve installed.

Users of Apple M2-based MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops, as well as the Mac Mini, Pro, and Studio, are now all included in the program, which gives customers access to tools, parts, and manuals previously only accessible by Apple and authorized repair partners. Customers can also rent tool repair kits, although they, too, have been criticized for their bulkiness and limited rental period.

Since launching its repair program, though, Apple has made a turnabout with user repairability, even if it’s still flawed. With the latest additions, Apple’s program now supports 35 products. The company has also become an unexpected proponent for state and national right-to-repair bills. And it’s simplified repairs via its Self Service Repair program— somewhat—by no longer requiring fixers to call Apple upon repair completions. People can instead verify repairs and update firmware with the System Configuration post-repair software tool. Today, Apple also announced bringing the program to 24 new European countries, bringing the program’s total to 33 countries.

Apple still says its repair program is best reserved for people who are experienced with electronics repairs.

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