iFixit Laments Apple for the Ridiculous M1 MacBook Pro DIY Battery Repair Kit, Replacing Almost Every Part
And did we mention it costs $500?
iFixit is the source of premier repair guides, and how-to manuals on the internet. The company also sells tools and publishes manuals, encouraging DIY repairs. Recently however, the company lamented Apple for the M1 MacBook Pro’s repairability and part support.
We covered a story a few days back, where Apple announced that the M1 powered MacBooks was joining the Self Service Repair Program later this year. To that end, the company is making available parts and tools, even a DIY repair manual for the M1 MacBook Pro. This is where iFixit’s primary gripe comes in, which claims in a recent blogpost that Apple is putting unnecessary roadblocks for those preferring a DIY repair.
The thing is, manufacturers often already have those guides. They need them for warranty repairs, or Genius Bars or Geek Squads. At iFixit we try to encourage manufacturers to release those manuals—it’s a whole point on our repairability scale—and many companies do. We’ve happily awarded service manual points to HP, Fairphone, even Apple when they quietly released iMac service manuals (more on that later).
For example, iFixit’s 14″ MacBook Pro battery replacement guide is 26 steps, while the same guide from Apple isn’t even in steps and spans an insane 126 pages. But wait, 126 pages for a battery repair? Well, yes, as Apple isn’t selling a standalone replacement battery yet. The only part available on their website is the “Top Case with Battery and Keyboard.”
So basically for a DIY battery repair, you would end up replacing almost every component of your MacBook Pro, and be out of $500 for no reason at all. Thankfully, Apple does point out on their website, that “in the future, a battery replacement part will be available.”, but doesn’t say when.
The most surprising thing of all, Apple actually made a conscious effort to make the MacBook Pro more repairable. The 2021 M1 MacBook Pro received an iFixit repairability score of 4 out of 10, for it’s relatively easier battery removal. While that’s not a great score, its a far cry from the 2019 Intel powered MacBook Pro, which received a repairability score of just 1/10.
As iFixit correctly points out, Apple even stealthily took down the iMac manual, published in 2019. This paints the picture of a company which isn’t really serious about DIY repairs or the environmental effects of e-waste, but someone who just wants to check off a few boxes before the next congressional hearing. It could be that Apple is waiting to replace those iMac manuals with proper DIY instruction sets, like the one which exists for the recent iPhones and MacBooks. But the fact that they still haven’t done it, shows the whole DIY thing isn’t really a priority for the company.
Also, it’s hard to say at this point if someone would save a significant sum of money from Apple’s DIY repair program. The replacement parts, like with many other OEMs, sells for a premium, and Apple even charges $50 on top of that to rent out tools for just a week. There’s a chance, even your DIY repair bill would be very close to getting it repaired from an official Apple partner. But of course, that is most likely by design.