Self Repair Program makes M1 MacBooks less repairable

At the beginning of the week, Apple expanded its Self Service Repair program for M1 MacBook models. The program offers “repair manuals and genuine Apple parts and tools” with “more than a dozen different repair types for each model, including the display, top case with battery, and trackpad, with more to come,” but although it seems like a step to the right direction, iFixit thinks Apple is making the M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro, actually, less repairable.

At first, iFixit praises the M1 MacBook Air service manuals by saying “they’re in-depth, mostly logical, and well worth an additional repairability point,” but when talking about the M1 MacBook Pro guides, iFixit said they “threw us for a loop.”

The publication talks about users’ need to eventually replace the MacBook battery since it suffers from natural degradation:

Every other component is subject to environment and use (…) but battery replacement is inevitable. Batteries are consumable, and just like your tires, they’re rated for a certain lifespan—heck, there’s a battery health menu item that says this outright. It’s a fact of our lithium-powered life.

And although this should be a simple task for the Self Service Repair Program, it takes 162 pages for users to replace Mac’s battery. The problem highlighted by iFixit is that you can’t just replace the battery, but “Top Case with Battery and Keyboard,” which means, the entire product, basically.

Not only does it makes the process more expensive – more than $500 – but it also makes it harder since it’s a 162 pages steps. The publication states:

This time, along with the manuals, Apple is presenting DIY repairers with an excruciating gauntlet of hurdles: read 162 pages of documentation without getting intimidated and You decide to do the repair anyway, pay an exorbitant amount of money for an overkill replacement part, decide whether you want to drop another 50 bucks on the tools they recommend, and do the repair yourself within 14 days, including the System Configuration to pair your part with your device. Which makes us wonder, does Apple even want better repairability?

iFixit even tries to look at the bright side by saying an upper case note assembly notes that “in the future, a battery replacement part will be available.” While we don’t have an official date, users will have to make sure their MacBook Pro models are handled with care, or they’ll have to spend $199 to replace the battery with Apple.

You can read iFixit’s full blog post here.

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