Apple's self-service repair kit is one expensive monstrosity

mongeese

Posts: 589   +119
Staff member
A hot potato: If you missed the announcement, Apple's self-repair service is a parts and tools storefront masquerading as a concession to the right to repair movement. Its manuals are technical, obtuse, and only make sense if you're using Apple's special tools -- which are not user friendly and happen to arrive in two suitcase-sized pelican cases.

The Verge's Sean Hollister took the service for a test run this week and found that it's even worse than it appears on paper. It has many problems, the most outrageous of which is the pricing: he paid $69 for a new battery for his iPhone Mini, the same price that the Apple Store charges for a battery and its installation; and $49 to rent the Apple certified toolkit for seven days. Crazy as that is, it gets worse.

Apple also requires a $1,200 credit card hold for the toolkit, which is forfeited if the toolkit isn't returned within the seven days. Except for Hollister, the battery arrived two days after the toolkit, so he only had five days to complete the repairs, which were about as unfriendly and difficult as you'd expect.

Read his article for a blow-by-blow recount, but basically, it involved a ton of ambiguous instructions, extremely fiddlesome parts, and tools that didn't work the first time.

And then his iPhone didn't recognize the battery as genuine. It wasn't meant to. After installing new parts, you need to contact a third-party company and give them remote control of your device for the parts to be validated.

At that point, you might as well have started your own repair shop.

All that said, I'm still looking forward to trying the self-repair service myself when it arrives in my region. If you're a hardware enthusiast, too, you'll understand the appeal of borrowing expensive tools and fooling around with broken devices. But the process is clearly too convoluted and unpleasant for the average Apple customer to attempt, and Apple should be embarrassed by it.

Image credit: The Verge

Permalink to story.

 

Loadedaxe

Posts: 72   +105
So you spend $118 to do it yourself rather than spend $69 to have a certified Apple Repair place to do it. Makes sense.

We cant have Apple using expensive tools to do it right, and expect them to ship them to us for free.

By the way, my Samsung S20 battery cost $95.84 to replace. Makes me reconsider my options when it comes to a new phone.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,887   +3,695
TechSpot Elite
Keep in mind that you don't need to rent/own these things from Apple to do the repair. This is just (what I'll assume) the "*****-proofed" internal device that Apple's contracted minimum wage workers would use.

And I don't think anyone actually thinks this is meant to make self repair easier, but is meant to be a "see, we're doing something, we don't need regulation" thing Apple can use against making R2R laws. Though, the "you can't use your replaced battery until it's validated by not-you" is hilarious...
 

gnite

Posts: 7   +17
That verge article is garbage. I mean, if you can make Louis Rossmann defend Apple, you're obviously doing something wrong. That tool is optional, not mandatory. You can go and replace the battery without it. It won't be as good quality, it might not be as waterproof when you're finished, but it is your choice. Or you can get the tool and do it the exact same way Apple does it, with the same quality.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,149   +2,651
Wouldn't you have LOVED to be a bug on the wall, when Apple was "forced" into this R2R?
I'll bet they were huddled in meetings trying to figure out the hardest way to make replacing
the battery/screen.
Gee, it's like they did this on purpose. LOL
Ahhhh, the good old days when you could pop the PLASTIC back cover and pop in your own
battery.
 

Hexic

Posts: 1,213   +1,886
TechSpot Elite
Android users are 70% of the market, so, by your own logic, large groups, same phone, you are the sheep. And let me guess, you have a Samsung, so unique!

Except it's not the same phone, it's the same OS. Those two concepts are light-years apart, unlike any iPhone made since it's inception.

But your typical iPhone user wouldn't understand that. They're too used to overpaying for the same cookie-cutter device they overpaid for last time.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,400   +5,119
I actually have a theory that this is something Apple is doing to make Right to Repair look impractical and use it as an excuse against it. "look, we provided tools, equipment, parts and manuals to people to fix their own products, they didn't use it."
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,426   +2,406
That verge article is garbage. I mean, if you can make Louis Rossmann defend Apple, you're obviously doing something wrong. That tool is optional, not mandatory. You can go and replace the battery without it. It won't be as good quality, it might not be as waterproof when you're finished, but it is your choice. Or you can get the tool and do it the exact same way Apple does it, with the same quality.
Not once does he suggest taking your phone to Apple for a screen or battery replacement.
I found that funny. Especially after bringing up 16 year old stoners that supposedly fix their own screens.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 710   +600
Finally replaced my iphone battery last month when runtime was down to about 2 hours
(Original 2016 iphone SE in mint condition)

Total cost was $30 from ifixit, including the tools to disassemble the phone

Runtime is now about 8 days (or less depending on usage) going from 100% to 20%

Thanks iFixit
 
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VitalyT

Posts: 6,223   +6,753
All that said, I'm still looking forward to trying the self-repair service myself when it arrives in my region. ...Apple should be embarrassed by it.
I'm looking forward to NOT try any of that Apple crap. In Apple's dictionary, "embarrassment" = money opportunity, so they keep persevering in that direction.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 327   +217
So you spend $118 to do it yourself rather than spend $69 to have a certified Apple Repair place to do it. Makes sense.

We cant have Apple using expensive tools to do it right, and expect them to ship them to us for free.

By the way, my Samsung S20 battery cost $95.84 to replace. Makes me reconsider my options when it comes to a new phone.
The point is Apple didn't create instruction for people not using commercial grade tools. Also the $69 for the battery is outrageous. When Apple does the repair they not only have to pay for the battery and shipping, but also the paycheck for the person doing the repair.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 327   +217
That verge article is garbage. I mean, if you can make Louis Rossmann defend Apple, you're obviously doing something wrong. That tool is optional, not mandatory. You can go and replace the battery without it. It won't be as good quality, it might not be as waterproof when you're finished, but it is your choice. Or you can get the tool and do it the exact same way Apple does it, with the same quality.
I don't see anything wrong with the article. Apple is making the entire process as difficult as possible while giving the appearance of caring. If they just changed their software to not need to activate the battery and charged a decent price for the battery that would have solved most people's issues with that process.
 

emmzo

Posts: 609   +765
Except it's not the same phone, it's the same OS. Those two concepts are light-years apart, unlike any iPhone made since it's inception.

But your typical iPhone user wouldn't understand that. They're too used to overpaying for the same cookie-cutter device they overpaid for last time.
Wrong! Just because more companies make the same kind of phone, it doesn't mean they're essentially different. It's just different models, same OS and likewise Apple has different models, same OS, it doesn't have just one phone that you buy over and over. Every year, it's an incremental upgrade and so it is for your typical Samsung. Can you argue Samsung, Xiaomi, whatever are any different? Instead, you may ask yourself why every Android phone out there tries to copy Apple? Bashing on iPhone users is getting old and dumb. Iphones are the fastest phones by far and have always led the industry. Pricewise, the gap has also closed for top models. I, personally, own both worlds and I appreciate each for their particularities.
 
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R00sT3R

Posts: 628   +1,855
Since when did the Applesheep wish to get their hands dirty opening up phones to repair them.

I mean, They're not exactly the manual labor types, are they.

They get 10yr old kids in China & The Philippines to do that sort of stuff for them...
 

Hexic

Posts: 1,213   +1,886
TechSpot Elite
Wrong! Just because more companies make the same kind of phone, it doesn't mean they're essentially different. It's just different models, same OS and likewise Apple has different models, same OS, it doesn't have just one phone that you buy over and over. Every year, it's an incremental upgrade and so it is for your typical Samsung. Can you argue Samsung, Xiaomi, whatever are any different? Instead, you may ask yourself why every Android phone out there tries to copy Apple? Bashing on iPhone users is getting old and dumb. Iphones are the fastest phones by far and have always led the industry. Pricewise, the gap has also closed for top models. I, personally, own both worlds and I appreciate each for their particularities.
I also own both worlds and appreciate their particularities, and there are positives and negatives for both devices.

However in a direct comparison, I can argue that Samsung, Xiaomi, Google (Pixel), etc. are different from each other, far different than Apple's 'incremental' upgrades they do.

Samsung (and HTC) were known for their IR sensors back (and ending) 7ish years ago. Currently, Samsung is known for their high quality displays, excellent phone performance (games, apps, etc), and their cameras have been fighting for top place with Apple and Google for years. Google is known for despite not having the most expensive phone, having the best phone software ever developed for mobile photography, utility management (managing music, smart doors, lights, TVs, smart sensors), and usually falling in at a reasonable price point.

You could pick a manufacturer and they will be better at some things, and include/exclude different features and hardware.. all in the same generations from each other.

As far as copying Apple - you could make that argument if it was 2010, but looking at some Android firsts compared to Apple:
-Motorola was the first smartphone to implement fingerprint identification (2011)
-Motorola was the first smartphone to implement facial recognition (2013)
-Vivo was the first smartphone to implement the in-display fingerprint sensor
-First 3G/4G/5G phones - Motorola/HTC/Samsung in that respective order
-First to support NFC/GPS/e-Sim/Dual, Triple & Quad SIM/USB-C/3.5mm port removal
-HD displays, high refresh rate displays, AMOLED/capacitive touch
-OIS/Optical zoom/panorama mode
-Wireless charging/reverse charging

Who's following who now? Apple phones win the prize for simplicity, not functionality. Let the rest of the world develop their future tech for them.
 

emmzo

Posts: 609   +765
I also own both worlds and appreciate their particularities, and there are positives and negatives for both devices.

However in a direct comparison, I can argue that Samsung, Xiaomi, Google (Pixel), etc. are different from each other, far different than Apple's 'incremental' upgrades they do.

Samsung (and HTC) were known for their IR sensors back (and ending) 7ish years ago. Currently, Samsung is known for their high quality displays, excellent phone performance (games, apps, etc), and their cameras have been fighting for top place with Apple and Google for years. Google is known for despite not having the most expensive phone, having the best phone software ever developed for mobile photography, utility management (managing music, smart doors, lights, TVs, smart sensors), and usually falling in at a reasonable price point.

You could pick a manufacturer and they will be better at some things, and include/exclude different features and hardware.. all in the same generations from each other.

As far as copying Apple - you could make that argument if it was 2010, but looking at some Android firsts compared to Apple:
-Motorola was the first smartphone to implement fingerprint identification (2011)
-Motorola was the first smartphone to implement facial recognition (2013)
-Vivo was the first smartphone to implement the in-display fingerprint sensor
-First 3G/4G/5G phones - Motorola/HTC/Samsung in that respective order
-First to support NFC/GPS/e-Sim/Dual, Triple & Quad SIM/USB-C/3.5mm port removal
-HD displays, high refresh rate displays, AMOLED/capacitive touch
-OIS/Optical zoom/panorama mode
-Wireless charging/reverse charging

Who's following who now? Apple phones win the prize for simplicity, not functionality. Let the rest of the world develop their future tech for them.
Why is this spat all about? You bashing iPhones they're all the same. They're not. The end. 70% of the market it's obviously more diversified than 30% could. Should I google every iPhone innovation like you did with Android and pretend it's better? Nope, it's beside the point. And you should know better if you own both worlds. They all have pros and cons.
 

Hexic

Posts: 1,213   +1,886
TechSpot Elite
Why is this spat all about? You bashing iPhones they're all the same. They're not. The end. 70% of the market it's obviously more diversified than 30% could. Should I google every iPhone innovation like you did with Android and pretend it's better? Nope, it's beside the point. And you should know better if you own both worlds. They all have pros and cons.
They all have pros and cons - sure. But your statement that Android devices are 'all the same' because the OS is, is inaccurate. Between the manufacturer UIs that are put on Android phones (I.e. Samsung, HTC, OP), and the physical and software differences amount to a very different experience.

Not so much for Apple. I could take a screenshot of my Iphone 12 pro max and compare it to a screenshot from an 11, 13, XS, or XR and not know any difference.

You are free to disagree, however you're comparing an apple to a hand grenade here.