On Monday, Apple expanded its DIY repair program to include MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops equipped with M1 chips (including the Pro and Max). At least, in theory. The repair experts at iFixit, who regularly dissects Apple’s gadgets, have taken a look at the new program, and their outlook…is mixed.
iFixit’s Sam Goldhart writes that the new MacBook Pro guide “thrown us for a loop.” Issue: Documentation “appears to be MacBook Pros” low repairable” than they have been in the past.
The repair manual for replacing a 14-inch MacBook Pro’s battery, for example, is a full 162 pages long. (One of the first steps, of course, is “read the entire manual first.”) The reason the guide is so long is that replacing these batteries isn’t just a matter of taking the battery out. Replacing the battery requires the user to replace the entire top case and keyboard. Needless to say, it’s unusual for laptop battery replacements to require a full-computer teardown.
And then, as Goldhart points out, there’s the matter of money. The “top case with battery” part you’ll need to buy for the 2020 and 2021 MacBook Pro models isn’t cheap—after rooting around Apple’s stores, ledge Editor Sean Hollister found that you can expect to pay more than $400 for a top case with battery after repair credits.
“Apple is presenting DIY repairmen with an excruciating gauntlet of obstacles: Read the 162-page documentation without fear And Decide to repair anyway, pay an exorbitant amount for an overkill replacement part, decide if you want to drop another 50 bucks on the tool they recommend, and do the repair yourself within 14 days , which includes completing the system configuration for the pair. Your part with your device,” Goldhart writes briefly. “Which makes us wonder, does Apple want to do even better repairs?”
iFixit’s complaints reflect the experience of my colleague Sean, who uses a self-service repair program to replace the battery in his iPhone Mini. “I guess Apple doesn’t want us to repair them,” he wrote after receiving 79 pounds of equipment from the company, including an industrial-grade heat station, and a $1,200 deposit for the equipment. If he fails to return the equipment within seven days it will be forfeited).
Of course, iPhones are complicated devices, and it’s not unreasonable that they would require a fairly tedious and special process to repair. MacBook batteries, on the other hand, historically haven’t been that complicated to replace. Modern phones are not easily serviceable – but plenty of modern laptops are. There’s a case to be made that the iPhone repair kit, while tough, for Apple devices was a step in the right direction. It’s tough to make a case for these MacBooks—especially when the experts at iFixit, who usually deal with Apple devices very reasonably, are raising their eyebrows.
Apple spokesman Nick Leahy was reached for comment. ledge That a replacement battery will be available in the future.