15 votes

Apple's Self Repair Program toolkit weighs 79 pounds

10 comments

  1. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    As I understand it, one reason special tools are needed is that newer iPhones are water resistant, up to a six meter depth for 30 minutes for the latest ones. This isn't true of most electronics....

    As I understand it, one reason special tools are needed is that newer iPhones are water resistant, up to a six meter depth for 30 minutes for the latest ones. This isn't true of most electronics. So yeah, repairing a tiny water-resistant electronic device so that it's still water-resistant after it's fixed is going to need special tools. Many people and politicians talking about "right to repair" probably haven't thought about the tradeoffs.

    But I wonder whether everyone really wants their phones to be so water resistant if the tradeoff is being less repairable, and whether people getting broken phones fixed care whether the phone is still water resistant after it's fixed? Some folks would probably be happy just having a working phone again.

    5 votes
    1. Rocket_Man
      Link Parent
      It's not really true that water resistance requires super specialized tools like this. The water resistance comes from glue around the display. This complicates the repair by requiring people to...

      It's not really true that water resistance requires super specialized tools like this. The water resistance comes from glue around the display. This complicates the repair by requiring people to heat the adhesive to remove the display and replace it when putting it back together. But there are many tools and approaches to heating the adhesive for removal. You can see this in pretty much all of Ifixit's guides.

      4 votes
  2. [3]
    Greg
    Link
    Maybe I'm too cynical, but it seems like most of the posts on this one are treating Apple's actions here in a vacuum. Their history with openness and repairability, or lack thereof, suggests we...

    Maybe I'm too cynical, but it seems like most of the posts on this one are treating Apple's actions here in a vacuum. Their history with openness and repairability, or lack thereof, suggests we probably shouldn't be assuming good faith here - and I say this as someone who likes and uses many of their products!

    I'm not saying the arguments about complexity, accuracy, waterproofing, etc. are wrong, just that I think Apple saw the inconvenience of this process as a bonus and as a way to claim they're voluntarily doing what's needed while avoiding the more onerous regulation that may well have come if they'd made no effort at all.

    4 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      Instead of assuming good faith or bad faith, maybe we should assume that, as outsiders, we often don’t understand other people’s motivations? Being genuinely curious about what’s going on in the...

      Instead of assuming good faith or bad faith, maybe we should assume that, as outsiders, we often don’t understand other people’s motivations? Being genuinely curious about what’s going on in the world seems like a better way to learn things than world-weary cynicism? But I’m not genuinely curious about this subject, so I’m going to speculate rather than making a real effort to find out.

      It seems safe to say that, based on Apple’s existing product line, Apple isn’t trying very hard to make devices easily repairable by consumers. The design goal seems to have been making repairs feasible for trained but not terribly skilled Apple employees who have access to fancy equipment. This was necessary so they can offer repairs at a reasonable price. (And do warranty repairs.)

      If Apple really wanted to make products that can easily be repaired without special tools, it seems like it would have to be designed in from the beginning and there would need to be compromises made on other design goals. This service is not that. What is it for, then?

      I can imagine a large enterprise where employees sometimes break their iPhones. Their IT department collects the broken ones and replaces them from inventory, and then they order this kit to fix several of them at once, instead of shipping them all to Apple. It also might be a good way for an independent repair shop to try out the fancy tools and decide if they want to buy them.

      But the article doesn’t say what the real goal of the service is. It’s just showing what the kit looks like. It seems like it would be a good question for a journalist to ask Apple?

      6 votes
    2. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I would note that iPhones are, relatively speaking, fairly repairable. I doubt that this is because Apple wants them to be, really, but rather I think the degree to which Apple purposefully...

      I would note that iPhones are, relatively speaking, fairly repairable. I doubt that this is because Apple wants them to be, really, but rather I think the degree to which Apple purposefully sabotages is overestated - they just don't care, and if the optimal way to manufacturer something happens to repairable, great, if it's not, don't care.

      e.g https://www.ifixit.com/smartphone-repairability?sort=score if you scroll past the phones from a decade ago (back when everything was plastic, the back came off, and water resistance was unheard of), the first phone that isn't ancient is the iPhone 13 Pro. It's not easy to repair, still, but it is better than other smartphones made in the last 5 years.

      In general ifixit has a pretty positive view of iPhones re: repairability, with battery and screen both comparatively easy to replace and comparatively easy to find parts for.

      4 votes
  3. [4]
    EgoEimi
    Link
    I decided to share this because I'm presently looking at options for replacing my iPhone 11 Pro's battery as I want to prolong its life. Sending it to an Apple Store is a big hassle as it requires...

    I decided to share this because I'm presently looking at options for replacing my iPhone 11 Pro's battery as I want to prolong its life.

    Sending it to an Apple Store is a big hassle as it requires two trips (drop off, pick up) and at least three days of waiting (their estimation). Presently iFixit's DIY kit seems the most attractive and economical.

    I was also curious about Apple's newly announced Self Repair Program. When I looked into it, it was only for 12 models and newer. And Apple will send you a 79-pound kit of tools, which is absurd, not to mention energy-intensive to transport.

    It seems like an incredibly ill-spirited way of offering self-repair options to customers, akin to paying someone entirely in pennies.

    2 votes
    1. Wes
      Link Parent
      I'm not sure it's ill-spirited. It seems like these are industrial tools which Apple likely uses themselves for repairs. It's actually a wonder they're sharing these at all. I agree it's not a...

      I'm not sure it's ill-spirited. It seems like these are industrial tools which Apple likely uses themselves for repairs. It's actually a wonder they're sharing these at all. I agree it's not a great solution for at-home users, but it opens up completely new avenues for repair shops which may ultimately drive down the price for consumers as well.

      13 votes
    2. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I think it's only kinda absurd. In a way, it makes sense. Usual home-repairs of iphones do things with much more jank than how Apple wants you to do them. For instance, instead of the fancy...

      I think it's only kinda absurd. In a way, it makes sense.

      Usual home-repairs of iphones do things with much more jank than how Apple wants you to do them. For instance, instead of the fancy heating machine precisely designed for iPhones, people usually just use a heatgun.

      But would it be good for Apple to send someone that? Arguably not. There's no question that Apple's fancy iPhone heater is just a much better tool for that job. Using a heatgun is pretty jank after all - you can easily heat up an area too much, damaging components, not heat an area enough, causing damage when you try to remove the screen, and so forth. The fancy heating machine will heat exactly where the adhesive is, and exactly enough to cause it to melt for you to remove it.

      Same goes for the rest of the machinery. Would it be better for Apple to send in more typical home repairs? Only kinda, right? When you do things all aftermarket, there's an expectation of jank - you know you're taking on that risk. When you buy it straight from Apple, some expectation that the process is reasonably easy to complete is to be expected.

      5 votes
    3. onyxleopard
      Link Parent
      Last time I had the battery replaced in an iPhone was an iPhone X in 2020. I took it in to the store (with an appointment). It was ready for pickup the same day—maybe ~50 minutes IIRC? I wonder if...

      Sending it to an Apple Store is a big hassle as it requires two trips (drop off, pick up) and at least three days of waiting (their estimation).

      Last time I had the battery replaced in an iPhone was an iPhone X in 2020. I took it in to the store (with an appointment). It was ready for pickup the same day—maybe ~50 minutes IIRC? I wonder if there is something markedly different between the iPhone X and 11 Pro that means in-store battery replacements are not feasible? That really stinks if it takes 3 days for Apple to do a battery replacement.

      2 votes