Apple’s notorious for putting strict rules on who can and can’t repair their products—a sore point for Apple haters and lovers alike. But in a blog today, Apple announced that it’s expanded its authorized service network to include every Best Buy in America.
That’s about 1,000 stores nationwide, and roughly 7,600 new Geek Squad techs who have Apple’s blessing to perform same-day repairs on iPhones and other Apple devices. Apple was quick to point out in the blog that in addition to the existing 1,800 third-party, Apple-approved repair services, adding Best Buy means there are now three times as many authorized service providers as three years ago. Supposedly, according to the Cupertino giant, that means eight in ten Apple customers will now be within 20 minutes of Apple-approved repairs. (It also took pains to point out Yuma, Arizona; Sioux City, Iowa; Twin Falls, Idaho; Casper; Wyoming; and Bismark, North Dakota as areas that would particularly benefit.)
Best Buy’s site offers up some additional details. You’ll have to drop off your device before 6pm at a local store if you want same-day repairs. It also notes Best Buy will price match Apple, as well as other Apple Authorized Service Provider repair costs. Members of Best Buy’s Total Tech Support service will also save 20 percent on all out-of-warranty iPhone repairs.
Apple expanding its authorized service provider network in one fell swoop is a good thing. For starters, it eliminates the need to schlepp to an Apple Store, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t have one. And while Best Buy has been offering Apple repairs at some locations, it’s completely official now—meaning each repair done at a Best Buy will feature official Apple parts and are fully backed by Apple. So, you know, if a repair doesn’t stick and you decide to beef it up with a Genius Bar tech, you won’t be unintentionally penalized for having gone to a third-party. Perhaps more importantly, a Best Buy tech might not be such a blowhard about the specifics of how you cracked your brand new iPhone’s screen.
The move also isn’t entirely surprising. The iPhone-maker has been softening up its repair stance as of late. Back in March, there were multiple reports Apple changed its policy to include phones with non-Apple batteries. That was huge, given that previous Apple-certified technicians were directed to refuse iPhones with third-party parts.
Cynically, you could view this as Apple doubling down on its Apple Authorized Service Provider program, instead of truly giving customers complete freedom in picking who they’ll pay for repairs. Or you could choose to view it as Apple finally giving an inch in the right to repair battle. Either way, it’s nice to have the option of smiling extra hard at the Geek Squad to see if it’ll get you a better deal repairing your cracked iPhone screen.