Not really, anyway: The software updates are administered by Apple, and if you break your touchscreen, the company does everything in its power to make sure you have to visit Apple's licensed stores to fix it. Each little screw holding the device together is a special, proprietary design you won't find in any standard toolbox. When you power on, you're doing so at Apple's mercy--no matter how many hundreds of dollars you paid for your iPhone. Your gadget's on borrowed time. It's just inevitable, at this point, that the device will be laid out by some future iOS update, or a touchscreen that short circuits after taking a spill on your bathroom tile.
Amid news of the iPhone 7 release and all its whizzy features, Apple announced that cracked-screen repairs would become considerably cheaper for purchasers of AppleCare, the iPhone insurance package. Cracked screens will cost 29 to repair, down from its previous price of 99 through the insurance program. The reduced repair cost is available only to those who have purchased AppleCare, which costs 129 for two years of coverage and includes up to two repairs stemming from user accidents. This lowered price extends to anyone who has purchased AppleCare in the past and has an iPhone 6 or beyond. Apple limits access to electronic parts and blueprints required to fix their products to Apple Genius stores and certified third-party repair shops.
Right-to-repair activists and small computer-repair operators may have won a minor concession from Apple, which goes to great lengths to make it difficult for anyone but official stores and authorized repair shops to fix broken or faulty hardware. An'Apple Genuine Parts Repair' presentation from April 2018, obtained by Motherboard, states that Apple has started giving some repair firms access to its diagnostic software. It also outlines parts available to repairers and how it places no restrictions on the types of repairs third-party repair shops can do. That could make it easier for iPhone and Mac owners to get difficult repairs fixed without relying on Apple repair centers. The document can be interpreted as an effort by Apple to meet the demands of the right-to-repair movement, which has prompted proposed legislation in several US states, including Apple's home turf, California.
When Jessa Jones found out her kids had submerged her iPhone in her toilet, causing a clog, she thought her phone was a lost cause. It powered on but didn't seem to be taking a charge anymore. The Apple store warns against water damage, which is not covered by warranty. It wasn't until Jones started poking around on online forums that the mother of four discovered that the phone didn't charge because the charging chip was ruined. After two years of tinkering with the device, Jones finally got the phone to start working again.
Michael Oberdick owns two small gadget repair shops in northwestern Ohio. He and his technicians spend their days at iOutlet replacing busted screens, repairing battered motherboards, and generally making life easier for people who've done something stupid with their gadgets. He found this job far easier just five years ago, when he started repairing phones for friends. Back then, anyone with basic tools, a little patience, and an instruction manual could fix just about anything. But these days, performing all but the most basic repairs requires specialized tools and knowledge that companies like Apple and Samsung guard jealously.