Apple Self-Service program exposed as reporter receives a 79-pound repair kit from Apple


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*Image courtesy of TheVerge.

The Right to Repair movement has spread around the world with one simple goal: allow regular users to repair their phones, including the simplest of servicing like replacing an old battery.

For years, Apple opposed the idea, instead basically forcing users to go to Apple Stores for those simple repairs, until it all seemingly changed in one fell swoop with the new Apple Self-Service program. The program launched in the US in April with a promise to let customers themselves — for the first time ever — fix broken screens, batteries, and cameras on iPhones using Apple’s own parts and tools.

It sounded like a big win for the repair movement, but TheVerge reporter Sean Holister tried it out and came away disillusioned with the unnecessary complexity, excess charges and risk involved in even a simple battery replacement.

See, if you opt for traditional iPhone DIY kits from companies like iFixit, you get a tiny package with the necessary screw bits and tools, and it’s all a rather simple process. Not with this official Apple Self-Service program. Instead of a tiny kit, the reporter received two giant Pelican cases with 79 pounds of tools inside. 79 pounds! Just to replace an iPhone battery!

Complexity goes beyond the repair

Basically, Apple shipped industrial grade machine and tools for a simple screen repair! Not only that, but after the repair was complete, the iPhone that had undergone the tech surgery did not recognize the new battery. “Unknown part” warning flashed on the screen. This was not a coincidence, it is done by design, yet another step where you have to dial up Apple’s third-party logistics company so they can validate the part you’ve replaced. Don’t expect to be able to do this from your repaired iPhone, though, as it has to be put in “Diagnostics mode”, so you’d need a separate computer.

Last but not least, it is the price of the whole endeavor. An Apple Store charges $69 for a battery replacement, while the Self-Service procedure includes the following costs:
  • $69 just for the battery
  • $49 to rent Apple equipment
  • $1,200 credit card hold for the toolkit, in case the tools aren’t returned within a 7-day window

Yes, you will…