'Right to Repair' report reveals that independent repair shops still struggle to repair Apple laptops

Apple Repair Service Expansion Iphone Repair
Apple Repair Service Expansion Iphone Repair (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern went on a quest to repair two Macs.
  • Stern found that repair options at independent repair shops could be more expensive or impossible.

Joanna Stern is highlighting the need for Right to Repair legislation.

In a new video and report from The Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern found out what it was like to compare the cost of repairing a Mac between Apple and an independent repair shop in New York City. You can watch the video version of the report below:

Apple said it would cost $999 to fix a MacBook Pro. An independent repair store did it for $325. WSJ's Joanna Stern went on a journey to repair two water-damaged laptops and show how new legislation could provide more options for fixing our broken gadgets.

While scouring NYC for repair options, the journalist found that some repair shops end up charging more than Apple because - according to the shop - it has to send the laptop to Apple for repair.

Mike's Tech Shop, an Apple-sanctioned repair shop, quoted me $1,170 to fix the Pro and $870 for the Air! Why even more than Apple? Because, for this type of issue, small shops like Mike's send the systems out to an Apple repair center, and charge for the effort.

Stern also discovered some shops were unable to repair the MacBook Air because the parts and information to do so are not available.

The MacBook Air wasn't so lucky. Neither Rossmann nor Simple Mac could repair it. For starters, it was more damaged. But the repair people didn't have the parts or information for this newer model to even attempt to fix it. From watching Mr. Rossmann repair the Pro, I learned that independent repair shops need these two things to do the job.

The 'Right to Repair' battle continues to heat up with possible legislation in many countries, leading Apple to recently open up its repair program to more third-party providers and provide more documentation and genuine parts to shops.

An Apple spokesperson, in response to a request for comment on the report, said that the company still believes that repairs are best handled by "a trained technician using Apple-genuine parts."

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.