Apple's Self Repair Program toolkit - Hands on with what's inside

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple's 79-pound iPhone Self Repair Program toolkit is on our test bench. Here's what's inside the hefty repair package.

Some of Apple's tools in its repair toolkit
Some of Apple's tools in its repair toolkit


Apple's self-service repair portal has just launched, and for the moment, it is focused solely on iPhone repairs. In the future, device options could potentially expand.

Right now you can perform several common repairs such as broken displays and depleted batteries for the iPhone 12 line, iPhone 13 line, and the iPhone SE.



Exploring Apple's tools

In our case, we ordered a battery replacement for our iPhone 13 Pro. With the battery itself, we got to borrow Apple's toolkit for $49 to perform the repair for ourselves.

Of course, that also came with a $1,272 hold on our credit card.

Apple's toolkit cases have arrived
Apple's toolkit cases have arrived


The toolkit took two days to arrive and comprises of two large Pelican-branded cases. Combined, they weighed nearly 80 pounds.

After hauling them into the studio, we broke the security seals on the outside to explore their contents.

Case number one

Upon opening the first case -- the smaller of the two -- we were greeted by our return label. Apple put two new zip tie-style security tags in the case for its return trip.

This case houses the heater used to loosen the adhesive that holds the display into place. Joining the heated display removal fixture is the requisite power cable and a hot pocket tray.

Hot pocket for iPhone 13 Pro
Hot pocket for iPhone 13 Pro


The hot pocket tray clamps your phone with metal sides and then slides the smartphone into the display removal device. It will intelligently heat your iPhone for a precise amount of time to a designated temperature to allow the adhesive to weaken.

Display heater
Display heater


A suction cup holds onto the display, and as you turn the knob on top, it will slowly apply pressure and pull the display panel free. Once separated, you can use the included tool to break through any leftover adhesive.

Case number two

The second case has far more components inside, being the larger of the two. It has its own return label and security tags inside, next to all our tools.

The second case
The second toolkit case


This box came with a guide too, showing where each tool goes and what they were. It certainly makes it easier to know what goes where and ensure you don't forget anything when packing it back up.

There are two small boxes full of screwdrivers, display covers, suction cups, and a plastic spudger. Then there are two large pieces of equipment -- a display press and a battery press -- and a tray that holds them.

Small repair components
Small repair components


Users will use the display press a couple of times during many repairs. Their phone will slot into the device-specific tray and slide under the press.

The first time it's used will be to apply the adhesive. The glue is deposited onto the phone during reassembly, then a metal plate is placed on top. The tray is then inserted into the press, then a lever is pulled.

Display press
Display press


As soon as the lever is used, a countdown begins at 30 before emitting a piercing beep at zero. You must pull out the knob on the left side to release the lever.

After the adhesive is applied, users have to install the display assembly. As soon as it is properly connected and placed, the iPhone revisits the display press to secure it in place.

Without this tool, the adhesive may not be as secure in its bond, and it could cause the display assembly to come free or cause its water resistance to be compromised.

Battery press
Battery press


The battery press is a very niche device used during battery replacement. A new battery is first installed, with fresh adhesive under it.

The phone is then inserted into the battery press, and the top lever is pulled down, dropping a rubber roller on top of the new battery. Users then slide the phone back and forth a number of times to secure the battery in place.

This tool applies constant, even pressure over the battery while ensuring the battery isn't damaged.

Give it a go

Apple does make these tools available to purchase on their own, but with price tags costing hundreds of dollars, the $50 rental fee is much more tenable. With these tools, many users will be able to undertake the repairs themselves rather than paying out of pocket at the Genius Bar.

Visit Apple's self service repair portal to explore the tools and repair options available. If you need additional tools, we've collected a few other handy options to have around.

Read on AppleInsider
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,355member
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    lkruppthtviclauyyckitatitrandominternetperson
  • Reply 2 of 62
    former Apple Genius here. this is NUTS. nobody in their right mind is going to do this when there are easier, less-expensive routes. I don’t believe Apple has gone out of their way to complicate DIY repairs, it’s just a complex process because the devices themselves are complex, a fact all the self-repair advocates conveniently overlook. 
    lmasantiRonnyDaddymwhitedewmeravnorodomJWSCviclauyycwilliamlondonchasmkitatit
  • Reply 3 of 62
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,013member
    slurpy said:
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    When you understand that the right-to-repair advocates won’t be satisfied with anything less than a complete redesign of the iPhone you know why they are still upset. They literally want snap-apart enclosures with gaskets instead of adhesives, standard Phillips screws, snap-in batteries, third party parts, no special tools required. Go to some of the right-to-repair websites and you’ll see what they want. 

    On an anecdotal note I wanted to replace the light bulb in my microwave oven some years ago. When taking apart the enclosure I discovered one of the screws was a non-standard pentium head. It became clear the manufacturer didn’t want the user anywhere near the magnetron tube. There were warnings all over that there were no user serviceable parts inside. 
    viclauyyckitatit
  • Reply 4 of 62
    GG1GG1 Posts: 483member
    stevegee said:
    former Apple Genius here. this is NUTS. nobody in their right mind is going to do this when there are easier, less-expensive routes. I don’t believe Apple has gone out of their way to complicate DIY repairs, it’s just a complex process because the devices themselves are complex, a fact all the self-repair advocates conveniently overlook. 

    Exactly correct! Smartphones are complicated devices requiring specialized tools. Cars today are complicated devices requiring specialized tools. Must I go on? You can't dumb down the repair of complicated devices to the dismay of legislators/whiners.

    There will eventually be third party (cheaper) solutions for all these tools; it just takes time (see OBD2 scanners, etc. for cars).

    thtmwhitedewmewilliamlondonchasmkitatittwokatmewmaximaracommand_fpscooter63
  • Reply 5 of 62
    GG1 said:
    stevegee said:
    former Apple Genius here. this is NUTS. nobody in their right mind is going to do this when there are easier, less-expensive routes. I don’t believe Apple has gone out of their way to complicate DIY repairs, it’s just a complex process because the devices themselves are complex, a fact all the self-repair advocates conveniently overlook. 

    Exactly correct! Smartphones are complicated devices requiring specialized tools. Cars today are complicated devices requiring specialized tools. Must I go on? You can't dumb down the repair of complicated devices to the dismay of legislators/whiners.

    There will eventually be third party (cheaper) solutions for all these tools; it just takes time (see OBD2 scanners, etc. for cars).

    There is already, but Apple pundits do not stick out their heads from their... Every replacement part of Apple and they were on OWC and Amazon (regardless if Apple liked it or not  for many years) now come with tools (also pentalobe funky screwdrivers)...  or they tell you substitute tools like putty knife to open Apple mac Mini even the 1st gen or plunger/suction cup to open iMac from magnetic frame. I have replaced, disk in iMac,  upgraded mac Pro with new SSD and replaced iPhone screen, battery and also upgraded macs with Dell pulled processor and third party memory (yes I made 1 gen mac mini 64 bit eventually with faster processor and more memory even exceeding what Apple said it was limit as it required firmware flag set with proper tools and it worked stably for years). Apple voids warranty. I do not give anything flying what they void after 2-3 years as they do not offer warranty after that period and I do not buy computers and phones every 1-2 years for showoff glory. thse only tools for me and our professional publishing studio to do the work with running costs low.
  • Reply 6 of 62
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,352member
    lkrupp said:
    slurpy said:
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    When you understand that the right-to-repair advocates won’t be satisfied with anything less than a complete redesign of the iPhone you know why they are still upset. They literally want snap-apart enclosures with gaskets instead of adhesives, standard Phillips screws, snap-in batteries, third party parts, no special tools required. Go to some of the right-to-repair websites and you’ll see what they want. 
    What’s so outrageous about standard screws?
    MplsPdarkvader
  • Reply 7 of 62
    no matter what, even I’ll fail to repair the iPhone, the right of repairing..blah blah blah,
    the whole process looks fun…
    All of these make me remember those time when I was a kid and watching my father working as a mechanic, I think I will give it a try even my phone works fine XD.
    kitatitrandominternetpersoncommand_f
  • Reply 8 of 62
    I think it is pretty cool seeing the proper tools to do a job correctly. Did Apple ever show these tools in a press release before showing the process they went through to make these repairs?
  • Reply 9 of 62
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    slurpy said:
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    When you understand that the right-to-repair advocates won’t be satisfied with anything less than a complete redesign of the iPhone you know why they are still upset. They literally want snap-apart enclosures with gaskets instead of adhesives, standard Phillips screws, snap-in batteries, third party parts, no special tools required. Go to some of the right-to-repair websites and you’ll see what they want. 
    What’s so outrageous about standard screws?
    I wouldn’t use Phillips head, but when I worked at Agilent all our test and measurement equipment we manufactured used torx head screws which you could buy tools for almost anywhere. Of course on the manufacturing line they only used calibrated torque drivers.
    edited April 30 stompyMplsPtwokatmewcommand_f
  • Reply 10 of 62
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 162member
    lkrupp said:
    slurpy said:
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    On an anecdotal note I wanted to replace the light bulb in my microwave oven some years ago. When taking apart the enclosure I discovered one of the screws was a non-standard pentium head. It became clear the manufacturer didn’t want the user anywhere near the magnetron tube. There were warnings all over that there were no user serviceable parts inside. 
    The magnetron tube is a high voltage… highest risk part of the device… so it could have been just a ‘safety measure.’
    kitatit
  • Reply 11 of 62
    lmasantilmasanti Posts: 162member
    Just a question: It is possible that the ‘two-boxes kit’ has been done that way to put a different heater —small box— for each iPhone model?
  • Reply 12 of 62
    arbararbar Posts: 12member
    Wow former engineer this is very very expensive 1. To ship 2. Good luck putting it all back together. Also this compromises the whole water proofing dust proofing. 
    command_f
  • Reply 13 of 62
    XedXed Posts: 1,474member
    slurpy said:
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    There have been plenty of words on this forum against Apple's efforts to create good repair tools with OEM parts.

    This is over engineered.
    Their parts are too pricey.
    Too little too late.
    Blah blah blah I'm going to vote against Apple no matter what.
    Yada yada yada Steve Jobs kicked my puppy.
    danoxmaximarapscooter63
  • Reply 14 of 62
    XedXed Posts: 1,474member
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    slurpy said:
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    When you understand that the right-to-repair advocates won’t be satisfied with anything less than a complete redesign of the iPhone you know why they are still upset. They literally want snap-apart enclosures with gaskets instead of adhesives, standard Phillips screws, snap-in batteries, third party parts, no special tools required. Go to some of the right-to-repair websites and you’ll see what they want. 
    What’s so outrageous about standard screws?
    Define standard. Phillips or flat head screws? No thank you.
    edited April 30 stompyMplsPOctoMonkey
  • Reply 15 of 62
    XedXed Posts: 1,474member
    arbar said:
    Wow former engineer this is very very expensive 1. To ship 2. Good luck putting it all back together. Also this compromises the whole water proofing dust proofing. 
    Of the DIY options available this gives you the best chance of getting your dissected iPhone closest to IP67. iFixit sells a replacement rubber ring but my experience has been suspect of how well they actually work since they took so much finesse to get in place.

    I don't know why the average consumer would risk messing up their iPhone with 3rd-party options when Apple makes it advantageous to both have AC+ and let them do the repair or replacement, and if you do see the benefit of DIY I don't see how iFixit is going to gain from there years of feet stomping. If I see a need to repair an Apple device again I'll be getting OEM parts and quality tools from Apple next time.
    edited April 30 randominternetpersoncommand_f
  • Reply 16 of 62
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,377member
    I cannot think of any manufacturer of a consumer product that has gone to such great lengths to clearly show us just how crazy we really are to even consider doing a complex product repair ourselves. I would call this the Right to Repair Dissuasion Kit.

    I've rebuilt carburetors, helped someone rebuild a small block Chevy engine, and assembled PCs from parts so it's not like I couldn't handle this. It's just that I don't want to when Apple provides experts who know how to do it very well in their shop for what I believe are reasonable prices.  

    I do look forward to the day when DIY home surgery kits will be made available for rental by major health care providers to placate the right to repair health care advocates. Of course, you will have to bring your own organ (BYOO) to replace your failing one, but by then genetically engineered lab-grown organs will be readily available on Amazon. Free overnight shipping with Prime.
    edited April 30 ravnorodomviclauyyckitatithammeroftruthbestkeptsecrettwokatmewrandominternetpersoncommand_fpscooter63
  • Reply 17 of 62
    Insanely overwhelming. But the tools are top notch stuffs. 
  • Reply 18 of 62
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,386member
    lkrupp said:
    slurpy said:
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    When you understand that the right-to-repair advocates won’t be satisfied with anything less than a complete redesign of the iPhone you know why they are still upset. They literally want snap-apart enclosures with gaskets instead of adhesives, standard Phillips screws, snap-in batteries, third party parts, no special tools required. Go to some of the right-to-repair websites and you’ll see what they want. 

    On an anecdotal note I wanted to replace the light bulb in my microwave oven some years ago. When taking apart the enclosure I discovered one of the screws was a non-standard pentium head. It became clear the manufacturer didn’t want the user anywhere near the magnetron tube. There were warnings all over that there were no user serviceable parts inside. 
    This is exactly what these people want. They want Apple to design all Apple products as completely modular with everything imaginable replaceable. They will fight everything possible until they get this. I just don't get these people TBH. 
  • Reply 19 of 62
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,386member
    arbar said:
    Wow former engineer this is very very expensive 1. To ship 2. Good luck putting it all back together. Also this compromises the whole water proofing dust proofing. 
    Yep and just wait until people bring their Apple product into the Apple Store because they tried to fix it and broke it or they fixed it half-ass and now Apple should replace/fix it for free! Just wait...just wait! It's gonna happen and somehow a class-action lawsuit will ensue. 
    dewmedanoxravnorodomviclauyycthttwokatmew
  • Reply 20 of 62
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,352member
    Xed said:
    crowley said:
    lkrupp said:
    slurpy said:
    Still cannot believe Apple did this. Pretty massive endeavour. And of course not a single positive word uttered by the right to repair hypocrites and trolls. Just more criticism and complaining.  
    When you understand that the right-to-repair advocates won’t be satisfied with anything less than a complete redesign of the iPhone you know why they are still upset. They literally want snap-apart enclosures with gaskets instead of adhesives, standard Phillips screws, snap-in batteries, third party parts, no special tools required. Go to some of the right-to-repair websites and you’ll see what they want. 
    What’s so outrageous about standard screws?
    Define standard. hills or flat head screws? No thank you.
    Something that a decently equipped toolbox will be able to deal with. 

    Lkrupp said Philips. I prefer torx or pozidriv. You pick your favourite. I doubt it will be pentalobe.

    Not sure what’s so disgusting about flat head screws, but meh, whatever floats your boat.
    edited April 30 MplsPmuthuk_vanalingam
Sign In or Register to comment.