You wouldn’t catch me at an Apple retail store unless smoke was pouring out of my Mac. And even in the best of pandemic times, waiting at the Genius Bar to get some appointment-less help with your laptop (or worse, your desktop) isn’t the most fun experience.
Here’s an idea to combat that: Don’t wait at the Genius Bar at all. According to multiple reports, Apple is now allowing independent repair shops to help you out with your out-of-warranty Mac. It’s the same setup that Apple launched late last year when it extended out-of-warranty iPhone repairs, in that these Apple-blessed shops will use Apple parts to fix up whatever your problem is.
That’s important, because you don’t know if some random repair shop is going to create security or compatibility issues on your Mac by using unauthorised parts during the repair job — and, yes, that’s the very crux of why the right-to-repair movement is critical.
Let’s break this down.
If your Mac is in-warranty, you’ll want to get it fixed up at an Apple store or an Apple Authorised Service Provider (ASP). You won’t be able to take it to an independent repair provider to get a repair that’s covered by your warranty.
You can find Apple stores and Apple Authorised Service Providers by walking through the “repair your computer” prompts at getsupport.apple.com. Eventually, you’ll be given the option to pick a repair solution:
And from there, you’ll be able to view the local options around you.
If your Mac is out of warranty, you can still take it to an Apple Store or an Apple Authorised Service Provider. However, you can also try checking out any independent repair shops around you that are a part of Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program. Apple doesn’t list these on its fancy little searchable map, but you can verify if a repair shop is eligible using this handy lookup tool.
Editor’s Note: Australia has limited verifiable independent repair providers.
I can’t give you an idea of which option is best for your specific situation. I presume pricing is going to play into your decision, but if a verified repair shop is using Apple parts, I suspect the cost of repairs will inch a lot closer to what it would normally cost you from Apple or an Apple Authorised Service Provider.
Apple’s move is probably more about convenience than anything else — a way to get you your repairs faster, rather than having to wait around at the Genius Bar or, worse, wait around at the Genius Bar only to be told that you’ll have to give up your Mac for a week or two while it’s patched up somewhere else.