Huffington Post recently reported that Apple is trying to discourage clients from repairing broken devices so they can buy new ones instead.
Repairing a broken screen can cost almost as much as a new device, so many iPhone and iPad owners choose to discard damaged devices.
However, such repairs need not cost so much, and the disparity between the cost and price of such repairs has given rise to a third-party industry.
In South Africa, iFix is one of the companies that repairs broken devices for cheaper than the official channels. It also buys devices and refurbishes them.
“Unless a phone has been driven over by a car and it’s in a 1,000 pieces, we can theoretically repair it,” said iFix CEO Alex Fourie.
“However, it is not always financially viable to repair every phone, so we will repair to resell the phones that are viable to do so and recycle the rest.”
Screen repairs are one of the main repair-to-resell iFix does.
“We have relationships with several tech recycling companies from the USA that buy traded-in phones in bulk from the carriers, such as AT&T and Sprint, and large corporates, such as Citi bank and AIG,” said Fourie.
He said they are able to perform repairs for cheaper than Apple because it prices repairs in a way that is almost not viable for them to do.
“Apple makes money by people buying new devices. It is in their interest to ensure you always have the latest device.”
This strategy works in first-world countries, but does not work in places like South Africa, he said.
He said repairs don’t necessarily have to be expensive and the aftermarket repair industry is an enormous industry internationally.
Easiest phones to repair
Fourie said they don’t only work on Apple devices, but service Samsung, Huawei, and LG phones as well.
“Newer phones are harder to repair as everything is very small and board-level repairs require complex machinery,” said Fourie.
“The US company iFixit has a great repairability score that one can view online – HTC scores very low on repairability and Samsung, Google, LG, and Apple all do pretty well.”