No matter how skilled you are at using your Apple device, you’re probably at a loss when it comes to making Apple repairs. Your lack of knowledge makes it difficult to take a side in the Apple OEM vs aftermarket debate. Each successive version of the Apple iPhone comes with a higher price tag. When your phone stops working, repairs will probably cost you a great deal less than replacement. The type of parts that you or the repair service use also impacts the price. The question is whether cheaper aftermarket parts are of a high enough quality to make them the better investment.
What Are OEM Parts?
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are those made by the original manufacturer. With regards to Apple parts used to fix your iPhone, OEM parts are the same ones used originally in the product and in repairs made at the Apple Store. Most are high quality and they have a warranty.
What Are Aftermarket Parts?
Aftermarket parts are those made by other companies as a cheaper alternative to the original ones. Some experts refer to aftermarket parts as generic and they fall short of the quality you get with OEM parts. There are a variety of brands that make aftermarket parts for iPhones but when these parts are used to repair your phone, you will probably never know the brand. They don’t come with a warranty either.
In general, experts usually recommend OEM parts to ensure the highest possible quality. You invested a lot of money into your phone. It makes sense to pay a little more to protect it. In some cases, the decision between OEM vs aftermarket is a no-brainer. In others cases, the best choice is a little less clear. The best way to decide is to break down the most common Apple iPhone repairs and why one choice or the other might be the best one for your needs.
Common iPhone Repairs
Our phones play a big role in everything we do. When we aren’t texting or conversing with our BFFs, we’re posting on social media and sharing photos of everything we do. It’s not really surprising that sometimes people do things that end up damaging their phones. Some of the most common types of repairs that result from human error are:
Water Damage – Chances are that you don’t realize how much water you come into contact with during your daily routine until you drop your phone. People drop phones into toilets, bathtubs, sinks, swimming pools, saunas, and sometimes larger bodies of water. Water damage is one of the top causes of iPhone damage and it can impact a number of components.
Once damage occurs to the inner circuitry, you need a professional repair before you attempt to turn it back on. Since this is not a DIY repair, the choice between OEM vs aftermarket parts comes down to where you get it repaired. If you take it to the Apple Store, it will be repaired with OEM parts. A third party repair service is more likely to use aftermarket parts. That is, for the circuits that they will replace.
In many cases, the person whose iPhone is water damaged is urged to buy a replacement. While Apple sometimes replaces some of the damaged parts, circuitry isn’t covered by the Apple warranty.
Impact Damage – Another change that happens to iPhones with each successive generation is the increase in screen size. For those of us with average or smaller hands, holding onto our phone can sometimes be difficult. Not only do iPhones sometimes get dropped or knocked off of tables, they also get stepped on and run over. Even minor impacts are likely to break the screen. Stronger impacts will do deeper damage.
Battery Issues – Like all batteries, those in your iPhone die over time. In addition to battery replacement, other power and charging issues sometimes occur. Maybe the battery won’t take or hold a charge or it just doesn’t act consistently. Battery replacement is one of the top repairs made to iPhones.
Failure to Connect – Suddenly, your phone refuses to connect with WiFi, making it impossible to connect anywhere or for any use. This usually signals problems with the operating system that require repairs.
Buttons Don’t Work – If one button doesn’t work, it could be because another button is stuck. Other reasons for nonworking buttons include broken switches or a broken volume control.
The Apple Warranty
As mentioned earlier, the Apple Store makes repairs with genuine OEM parts. Many iPhone buyers mistakenly believe that their warranty protects them regardless of the type and cause of damage. The fact is that the Apple warranty only offers limited coverage. In addition, even covered repairs aren’t offered for free.
Many of the common causes of iPhone damage and repairs aren’t covered by the Apple warranty. These include:
Liquid Damage from water, spilled drinks, or any other liquids that your phone comes into contact with. All iPhones made since 2006 have Liquid Contact Indicators built in to show if the device has been in contact with a liquid.
Broken screens with an impact point
Battery issues or power issues leading to battery replacement
Any accidental damage
AppleCare+ is extended coverage that you can take out on your iPhone. While it does pay for two incidents of accidental damage, each service includes a fee. Without coverage, repairs made at the Apple Store using OEM Apple parts can cost several hundred dollars. As a result, many people decide to either repair their phone using a third-party service and aftermarket parts or else replace their device. The latter is the most expensive option of all. Before you ever consider the question of OEM vs aftermarket, you have to decide whether to repair or replace.
Repair or Replace?
Now that you know the Apple Store uses genuine OEM Apple parts, it’s time to dig a little deeper into the conditions of Apple Repair. Everyone who uses an iPhone isn’t walking around with the latest model. If you’re one of those people who holds onto your phone a little longer, you can forget about the warranty. But Apple not only follows a guideline for which damage they repair on phones under warranty; they also have a guideline for those that are out of warranty.
What does that mean for you? You can’t simply walk into the Apple Store and request a repair on a 3rd, 4th, or 5th generation iPhone and expect to get it. Even if you are prepared to pay the price, the repairs won’t be made unless they have acceptable coverage on the official Apple Repair list.
DIY iPhone Repairs
Many iPhone users end up looking online for alternatives to getting their iPhones repaired. There is plenty to find. Many articles go beyond troubleshooting and give tips on how to make repairs at home. Some suggestions including putting a wet phone into a bag filled with rice and allowing it to dry out over a period of twenty-four hours to several days. The obvious problem here is that you can’t turn the phone on until it is completely dry or risk doing a lot more damage. At what point do you know the phone is dry on the inside?
You can also find a lot of places advertising low prices and fast delivery on Apple parts. Many customers have learned too late that these are only ‘compatible’ parts, not OEM parts. Since they range drastically in quality and price, ordering any part online is a gamble.
If you manage to get the right part for your phone and it is good quality, then you are ready to make the repair. Now is when you put your skills as an iPhone repair tech to the test! You’ve already learned how sensitive your phone is to damage. Do you really want to make matters worse?
If you have an older phone, spending $30 or $40 on a screen and doing the repair yourself may seem like your only option. Apple won’t repair it and there is no way to get dependable parts for the job. It’s either do the repair yourself or pay several hundred dollars for a new phone. Right?
Actually, you have two other options that improve your odds of an effective repair or, at least, a more affordable replacement for your phone.
Third-Party iPhone Repairs
Whoever said “Parts is parts” obviously wasn’t talking about those used for iPhone repairs. The internet is an ocean of parts stores and so-called “authorized Apple dealers” all trying to lure you in.
Once you realize the Apple Store isn’t going to take care of your repair, the debate goes from OEM vs aftermarket to which store has the best aftermarket parts. Instead of trying to find the answer online, look to a third-party repair service in your area that specializes in iPhone repairs. Most physical stores use the same resources to get parts so that the quality they offer is consistent.
A third-party repair service may also buy authentic parts from customers who are ready to part with their old phones. That gives them the option to use OEM parts for your repair. It also means that if your phone isn’t repairable or you decide to take the replacement option, you can still get some money for your old phone.
The second option is to buy a not-so-new phone. One way that the third-party repair service uses the parts they purchase is to refurbish iPhones. Instead of throwing out a phone with a broken screen and another one with damage circuitry, repairs using the good parts will result in a functional, good quality phone. Best of all, you save a lot of money over buying a brand new phone.
Choosing a Third-Party Repair Service
Now that you’ve decided which option to take, the next step is to find a service you can trust. A good way to find answers is to read their reviews. Don’t just look at the average number of stars they received, but really read what previous customers have to say. You can’t expect perfection but you should see more 5-Star reviews than those with a lower score.
Some key points to look for include how well products perform following the repairs and their quality of customer service. Also, check out the repair store’s website to learn more about the parts they use and their time frame for repairs. One of your goals is to get your broken iPhone back in working order and in your hands as soon as possible.
In the original debate of OEM vs aftermarket parts for Apple repairs, OEM is the winner hands down! The same company designs and makes these parts that made your phone.
If your phone is still under warranty and the problem is, or might be, covered by Apple, by all means, take it to the Apple Store for repairs. Check ahead to get an idea of the service fee so you have a good idea of what it will cost.
Otherwise, all of your best options come from the third-party repair store. Ordering parts online and making DIY repairs is just too risky. Many people realize too late that they didn’t even get the right part for the job.
Once you know the extent of the damage, you still have the option to buy a refurbished phone. In either case, when you leave the third-party repair store, you will have a working phone that is almost as good as new and more money left in your pocket!
San Diego Tech Experts are San Diego’s #1 repair service, specializing in Apple products. In most cases, they can get your damaged phone to you within an hour. They repair all 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation models with cracked or broken screens, water damage, new batteries, and more.
They also buy and sell quality electric parts and sell refurbished electronics, including iPhones.
Contact us today with questions or just drop by the store. We know how valuable your iPhone is to you. We can repair your device and get it back to you before you notice it’s missing!