Getting Apple products repaired has always been difficult and expensive. With many devices requiring inaccessible parts and tools, most consumers are forced to pay the high repair fees at the Apple store. But that may soon change.

Apple recently announced that they are now granting access to Apple parts, tools, and manuals to independent repair shops, a notable reversal for the company, which has long kept such things under wraps. In order for independent repairmen to gain access, however, they will have to apply to Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program. They will also have to submit business verification documents, as well as undergo Apple’s training program and official exams.

Additionally, once they are certified, technicians will only be able to work on phones that are out of warranty.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, stated:

To better meet our customers’ needs, we’re making it easier for independent providers across the US to tap into the same resources as our Apple Authorized Service Provider network. When a repair is needed, a customer should have confidence the repair is done right. We believe the safest and most reliable repair is one handled by a trained technician using genuine parts that have been properly engineered and rigorously tested.

The question remains: is it worth it? While it is a step in the right direction, Apple’s rigorous qualifications are a far cry from allowing open access. However, it may still be beneficial for consumers if it allows for competition in the repair market, however slight.