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Apple's self-repair process is reportedly 'far from ideal' for many iPhone users

Update: Additional reports talking about the issues with Apple's self-repair toolkit and instructions.

Published onMay 25, 2022

apple iphone right to repair showing iphone and oneplus 9 pro with screwdriver set
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • Apple’s self-repair kit for iPhones weighs 36 kgs and comes in two suitcases.
  • A writer with The Verge reported that the repair process was tedious with lots of room for something going very wrong.
  • Another reporter from The New York Times managed to break his iPhone trying to use Apple’s tools and instructions.

Update: May 25, 2022 (9:22 PM ET): We’ve added more details about the process of hiring Apple’s toolkit. We’ve also referenced another report from The New York Times about how Apple’s DIY instructions and tools may not be ideal for most users.

Original article: May 25, 2022 (12:41 AM ET): Apple recently launched its DIY repair program, allowing iPhone users to fix their own devices by renting a repair kit from the company. If you thought this kit would consist of a few screwdrivers, pliers, spudgers, and magnifiers, you’d be highly mistaken.

When Sean Hollister from The Verge recently set out to repair his iPhone Mini, Apple sent him a toolkit in two suitcases weighing 36 kgs (see below) to repair the tiny device! To be clear, Apple lists the contents and the weight of the toolkit on the website from where you rent it out. The company blocks $1,200 on your credit card for the heavy toolkit. It also charges $49 to rent the tools for a week and $69 for a new battery (that’s what The Verge’s writer was replacing). The thing is, Apple charges the same $69 fee for battery replacement at its own stores, except there, an expert does all the repair work.

So if you’re renting out Apple’s $49 toolkit and not using your own, which is also an option, be sure to read the fine print and see what tools you are getting.

apple repair shoot The Verge
The Verge

That said, if you are a DIY repair nerd, Apple’s got your back. The toolkit it sent to Hollister had every possible thing you would need to put together an iPhone, including a hefty, industrial-grade heat station and a huge spring-loaded press.

The chances of something going wrong are pretty high.

The problem is that the process itself was full of challenges for the writer. If you have no experience in repairing phones, you might find yourself stuck midway and the chances of something going wrong are pretty high.

The iPhone didn't recognize the genuine battery Apple provided as genuine.

Apple sent a repair manual along with its enormous toolkit. However, Hollister still had some trouble getting things right. The manual was not helpful when the heating machine threw up an error code. Yanking the iPhone’s tiny screws was also a task for Hollister, even with Apple’s “fancy torque drivers.”

The “most frustrating part” of the repair process as per the report was that the iPhone didn’t recognize the genuine battery Apple provided. It flashed an “unknown part” warning, and apparently, you have to call Apple’s third-party logistics company after the repair to validate the part. That’s a whole other process that requires you to run diagnostics on the iPhone and give the company remote control of your device.

Brian X. Chen from The New York Times also tried Apple’s repair kit. This is what he had to say:

Apple’s do-it-yourself tools and instructions are far from ideal for most of us. I know this because I broke my phone trying to use them.

In fact, Chen had help from an independent phone repair technician who said that Apple is setting customers up to fail.

All-in-all, Apple’s repair process sounds pretty tedious. It’s perhaps more of a roadblock for the self-repair movement than a step in the right direction.

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