Apple announced last week the launch of a new self-repair program, designed to allow owners of iPhone 12, iPhone 13 and iPhone SE to repair their devices themselves using manuals, tools and replacement parts directly from Apple.
We were curious how the self-service repair program works and how it compares to the simplicity of bringing a product to Apple for repair, so we had MacRumors Videographer Dan Barbera orders a repair kit to replace the battery in his iPhone 12 mini.
Dan describes himself as the opposite of a DIYer and he’s never done an iPhone repair before, so we thought he’d be the perfect representation of the average consumer who just wants to save money doing some DIY. DIY repairs.
To start, we ordered a kit and components the day the program went live and received it shortly after. So turnaround for what we needed was pretty quick. It should be noted that for most repairs you need the parts and Apple’s repair kit. The repair kit comes in two separate packages, and both boxes weigh 79 pounds. You get it for a week before you have to send it back via UPS or Apple charges you $1300.
It’s inconvenient to have to manage a 40-pound repair kit and a second 30-pound repair kit, which is a negative from the get-go. It costs $49 to get the kit and $70.99 for the iPhone 12 mini battery kit, though you’ll get $24.15 back for sending in old parts.
This means that it costs a total of $95.84 to perform a battery swap on the iPhone 12 mini, and comparatively, it’s $69 for Apple to swap it out, so it’s not really cost effective to do this repair yourself.
Note that you can order the parts alone without the tool kit, but Apple’s repair manual instructs users to use tools from the kit that they wouldn’t otherwise have on hand, such as a battery press designed by Apple.
You can buy all the tools individually so you have them on hand for repairs, but Apple’s components are expensive. A battery press is $115, a torque screwdriver is $99, a heated display removal pocket is $116, and a display press is $216, and all of these are needed to remove the battery according to the repair manual. ‘Apple.
It’s not cost effective for someone wanting to do a single repair to use anything other than the rental kit, although some individual part purchases do make sense for repair outlets wanting to get their hands on tools designed by Apple.
As for the actual repair process, Dan found it difficult, even with Apple’s instructions and tools. It was frustrating to get into, and it lacked kit components that were required by the manual, such as tweezers and heat protection gloves.
Dan had to go to the store twice to get more supplies, and because of that, the repair took most of the day. Dealing with adhesive was time consuming and nearly ended self-repair.
All in all, for the layman, it’s probably better to take your phone to a professional to fix it rather than trying to fix it yourself. This is especially true for repairs to items such as the battery and screen, which are generally less expensive to replace by Apple.
If you’re feeling brave, you can save some money if you need a camera, taptic motor, or speaker, but be sure to study the manual and know in what you embark. It’s worth watching Dan’s full video above to get a full picture of the repair process and what’s involved.