Apple’s Self Service Repair Program For M1-based MacBooks Makes Things Worse?
iFixit and other right to repair groups were glad to see Apple finally cave on their refusal to help people repair their devices, releasing repair manuals and the ability to buy or rent the proprietary parts and tools needed to safely open up your MacBook. The MacBook Air repair manual gained the laptop a repairability point from iFixit. Unfortunately this was not true of the repair manual for the M1 based MacBook Pro, which “manages to make MacBooks seem less repairable.“
There were several problems with the MacBook Pro of which the largest sin is the battery replacement procedure. The guide warns those who want to replace the battery that the battery is actually part of the top casing of the laptop. This means you can’t just buy a replacement battery but instead need to pay somewhere between $527 to $615 for a new top and battery, with a huge $88 credit if you send back your original part. Of course, in order to get that part off you need to essentially disassemble the entire laptop.
To separate that top casing so you can replace the battery you will need to remove the entire top case, bottom case, battery management unit, flex cable, lid angle sensor, the trackpad and its flex cable, the vent/antenna module, the logic board, display hinge covers, the display, the laptop’s audio board, fans, the MagSafe 3 board, as well as the USB-C boards and Touch ID board!
Apple providing repair manuals is a huge win for the right to repair movement, however it seems that Apple’s response is to design their products to be as hard to repair as possible.
The past few days have seen numerous right-to-repair activists critique Apple's MacBook self-repair program. Perhaps most notable is a strongly worded blog from iFixit, which said the program "manages to make MacBooks seem less repairable."