Apple’s Home Repair Kit Sounds Passive-Aggressively Awful

Wanna swap out a battery from your iPhone? It requires 79 pounds of equipment and a $1,200 credit card hold.

DIY repair mobile phone at home. Woman repairing mobile phone at home, changing damaged part.
Apple's Self Service Repair is not this simple
Guido Mieth / Getty

In a move akin to spitefully paying your parking ticket with bags of pennies, Apple recently shipped a 79-pound iPhone Repair Kit to a customer who wanted to DIY fix their iPhone.

The customer was Sean Hollister, a writer for The Verge. As he wrote: “I expected Apple would send me a small box of screwdrivers, spudgers, and pliers; I own a mini iPhone, after all. Instead, I found two giant Pelican cases — 79 pounds of tools — on my front porch.”

When Apple announced Self Service Repair last November, there was skepticism. We’ve mentioned before that Apple hasn’t really embraced (and has actually fought against) recent Right to Repair laws, which have broadened the availability of service tools and parts for consumers and other repair businesses.

But with the program officially starting last month, there was an idea that Apple had begrudgingly embraced home repair. Instead, they’ve chosen to be incredibly immature. Their at-home kit includes an industrial-grade heat station, but also a manual that didn’t tell Hollister what to do when an error code popped up while using it. Apple also apparently requires three different screwdriver bits to remove the screen, and the fixed iPhone actually won’t recognize your replacement parts as “genuine” until you call Apple’s third-party logistics company after the repair so they can validate the part.

A cartoon drawing of a woman at a desk fixing her iPhone
This image is from Apple’s press release about their Self Service Repair — 79-pound repair kit not pictured.

“That’s a process that involves having an entirely separate computer and a Wi-Fi connection since you have to reboot your iPhone into diagnostics mode and give the company remote control,” Hollister noted. “Which, of course, defeats a bunch of the reasons you’d repair your own device at home!”

Besides also suggesting that people attempting home repair have a jar of sand (not included) handy in case the battery catches fire, the worst thing Apple has done with their repair kit is making it prohibitively expensive. It’s $69 for a new battery — or the same as just going to an Apple store and having them swap out the battery — plus an additional $49 to rent Apple’s hulking tool kit and a $1,200 credit card hold for the toolkit, forfeited if the tools aren’t returned within seven days of delivery.

In other words: Apple basically made it so onerous to fix your own phone that you’ll just use their stores instead.

More Reviews

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A Consumer Advocacy Group Just Gave Apple a Failing Grade Over Repairs
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Apple Will Finally Let Customers Fix Their Own iPhones
The company’s Self Service Repair program launches early next year and promises everyday users access to Apple parts, tools and manuals

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