Apple has gradually opened its walled garden under pressure from the Right to Repair movement. The next iOS 15 update brings a new transparency feature that shows owners if their phones have been repaired correctly and whether the service provider used genuine Apple parts. Unfortunately, it’s limited to newer iPhone models.
Apple quietly updated its support pages, declaring that users will be able to check the parts and service history of their iPhones starting with the next iOS update (15.2). The feature can tell users if specific components have been replaced, whether the technician used third-party parts, and when the repair occurred.
Users will find the Parts and Service History located under Setting>General>About. There it will show you if the phone has replaced components listed as either “Genuine Apple Part” or “Unknown Part.” As long as the phone has an internet connection, tapping on an item shows more details, including the date of the serving.
Those who bought their phone new and already know when they have had a repair could still find it helpful to ensure that the replacement was from Apple. The feature will be even more practical for those who bought the phone used or refurbished — kind of like a Carfax for their phone. However, the functionality is somewhat limited.
First of all, the feature only detects battery, display, or camera repairs. This limitation should be acceptable since those are the most replaced parts, and Apple can always add more components if needed in future updates. However, specific models are further limited.
Only iPhone 12 and newer can detect all three parts. Models in the iPhone 11 line can only record screen and battery repairs. The second-generation iPhone SE and all variants of the iPhone X can only see if the battery has been replaced. Phones older than the iPhone X running iOS 15.2 will not have the feature.
Apple notes that the “Unknown” designation is a general warning that could mean one of four things.
The part mentioned was not installed properly
The service provider used a non-Apple replacement
The component is not functioning as expected
The part was previously used or installed in another iPhone
Users should also note that iOS will not display the Parts and Repair History on the About screen if the iPhone has never been serviced.
Apple has recently updated some of its servicing rules regarding product repairs. It started relaxing its stance on third-party servicing in 2017, but the going was very slow until last summer when it finished rolling out its third-party iPhone and Mac repair programs. Last month it rolled back a “feature” in iOS that had been disabling Face ID on phones that had received third-party screen replacements. A week later it began allowing owners with the technical know-how to repair their own phones.