Good news, everyone! Apple is now allowing third-party repair shops to issue official fixes to Apple kit using genuine replacement parts.

Previously, Apple only approved repairs from an official Apple Store or authorized service provider. Those third-party repair shops you see on the high street didn’t have access to official parts or training – until now.

This should make it easier (and possibly cheaper) for customers to get their devices fixed, even if they don’t live near an Apple Store.

There are a few catches, however.

For the time being, this is a US-only initiative, though like Apple’s other endeavors we’d expect it to roll out worldwide in the not-too-distant future. And the service is just for iPhones at the moment, so don’t expect a random repair shop to be able to fix your MacBook or iPad just yet – at least, not officially.

Perhaps the biggest caveat is that this scheme only applies to out-of-warranty devices. That means those rocking the latest hardware should still report to Apple for a fix-up. However, this focus on repairing out-of-warranty devices should at least mean that people can hang on to their old iPhones for longer than ever before.

Considering Apple supports its devices with software and security updates for around five years, it makes sense to squeeze as much life from each device as possible. Now, it should be easier than ever to get a cracked screen or a faulty battery fixed. That’s a step in the right direction, especially seeing as Apple has been historically closed-minded about opening up repairs.

This news comes just a few months after Apple confirmed it was partnering with Best Buy to bring Apple Genius-level support to the masses. So that’s another option if you want to fix something that’s still in warranty.

Apple says that repair shops must complete its free training course to earn access to official replacement parts, to ensure these independent stores really know what they’re doing. But remember, that means that not every back-street repair shop will have passed Apple’s validation, so always check you’re dealing with the real deal before paying for a repair.