“A Series of Unsustainable Obstacles”: Why iFixit Criticizes the MacBook Repair Program

“A Series of Unsustainable Obstacles”: Why iFixit Criticizes the MacBook Repair Program


Repairing your MacBook Pro M1 promises to be a small challenge. Despite the fact that Apple recently made available a complete guide to troubleshoot its machine, operating a battery change is a small nightmare according to iFixit.

Apple wants to simplify the repair of its computers. At least, that’s what one might think after the brand announced the expansion of its repair program to MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Unfortunately for the manufacturer, repair specialist iFixit doesn’t really seem to agree.

A repair at $500 and 162 pages

In a blog post published on August 23, 2022, the site explains why this new effort of Apple in favor of the repair could in fact produce the opposite effect of that hoped. More specifically, it is the guide to repairing MacBook Pro yourself which seems to concentrate all the reviews of iFixit. The latter indeed weighs 162 pages and Apple specifies that it is good to “read the whole manual“before embarking on any repair. Enough to occupy the reading program of his vacation.

There are three things you need to perform a repair: the part to be replaced, the correct tools and the knowledge needed to perform the repair” explains iFixit. Unfortunately, Apple is not exactly faultless on points 1 and 3. With a 162-page guide, you might just think that the “necessary knowledge” are freely available, but in reality, the repair is very complex, Apple having not really thought of its computers as repairable devices.

This is particularly noticeable at the battery level. Critical component of the device, the battery of MacBook Pro cannot be changed “without having to replace the entire lower part of the machine” explains iFixit. In short, if you want to change the battery of your computer, you will have to agree to buy a part containing the battery, the keyboard, the microphone and the speakers. “The computer is entirely built around this box, so to get there you have to disassemble the whole machine.” laments iFixit. A repair that is mechanically quite expensive since the part is sold for around $500.

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The battery, a critical component of a computer

The dismantling specialist still notes that Apple has planned to sell the battery alone in a second step, but for the moment repairing your MacBook Pro yourself is a challenge according to iFixit. From the complexity of the guide to the price of the parts, everything seems to be designed to discourage repair by an individual. “This time Apple presents do-it-yourselfers with a series of excruciating obstacles: reading 162 pages of documentation without being intimidated, deciding to do the repair yourself anyway, paying an exorbitant sum for an unnecessary spare part, deciding whether you want to spend $50 more for recommended tools, and do the repair yourself within 14 days, including system setup to match the part to your device.

All this to change a critical part that will inevitably tire over use. The design of lithium batteries imposes a certain number of charge and discharge “cycles”. Let’s be clear, iFixit’s criticism isn’t about Apple’s program itself: publishing guides and selling spare parts is a good thing. But if this policy is not accompanied by an effort to produce more repairable machines, then we find ourselves in this grotesque situation where an in-house repair ultimately costs half the price of a machine and turns out to be so complex that few many people will simply dare to reach for their screwdriver.

A state of affairs that prompts iFixit to wonder: “Does Apple really want to work for repairability?

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