New videos show flaws with Apple’s self-service repair program

The news: Shipments of parts and tools from Apple’s new self-service repair program are showing up at doorsteps…but reception is mixed.

  • The parts you order, like displays or batteries, are top-notch and indistinguishable from original Apple parts…but they’re pricey and make justifying the self-repair more challenging
  • I wound up paying about $7 more to repair my iPhone 12 Pro display myself instead of taking it to the Genius Bar and paying Apple to fix it (and it took me ~5 hours of labor)
  • The tools are a completely different story: while they are built well, they are absolutely overkill for many repairs, only obfuscating and confusing a process that could be made much simpler (ex. iFixit)
  • That’s not to mention the essential tools that Apple doesn’t send you, including cut-resistant gloves, heat-resistant gloves, and an ESD-safe mat, bracelet and tweezers

Sam’s take: This was—and I’m being serious—one of the most daunting and painful projects I have ever worked on. Not only were the instructions unchanged from those made for trained Genius Bar employees, not only did key tools like gloves and tweezers not ship in the repair kit, not only did the heavy-duty tools not function as they should…there were numerous errors and other challenges that I encountered along the way. There is literally no way I could have done this without Luke Miani at my side, and even he was flabbergasted at countless points throughout the repair. I agree with the thesis of his video: Apple’s self-service repair program was designed to fail (for most people).

New video goes hands-on with Apple’s self-service repair program

The news: Parts and tools have begun shipping out for Apple’s repair program, and the contents are intense.

  • While the actual parts for your iPhone repair ship in a small cardboard box…renting the tools is a different story
  • Apple’s $49 tool kit rental, which you get for a week, ships to your door in 2 separate pelican cases…which includes screen and battery presses, a heated display pocket and fixture, screwdrivers and more

Sam’s take: I genuinely could not believe that 3 boxes showed up at my door…2 of which were giant plastic crates that looked like they fell off of a cargo plane. Not only is this incredibly intimidating, it’s a lot of stuff Apple will be shipping each customer to facilitate a repair as simple as a screen replacement. I’m going to do the actual repair later today and see how things go, but I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting to get what is essentially the Genius Bar in the mail.

Apple launches iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro service program for sound issues

The news: Apple has introduced a new repair program for owners of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro not hearing sound during phone calls.

  • “Apple has determined that a very small percentage of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro devices may experience sound issues due to a component that might fail on the receiver module. Affected devices were manufactured between October 2020 and April 2021.”
  • iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max are not a part of the program
  • Users who own an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro that “does not emit sound from the receiver when you make or receive calls” should contact Apple support to get the issue fixed for free

Our take: Apple initially launched the program at the end of the day on Friday, so I waited to publish until the following week when there would be more visibility for the issue. Definitely reach out to Apple if you have experienced this issue. I have not seen this issue on my iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro.

Apple launches repair program for iPhone 11 models

The news: Just before the end of the day on Friday, Apple introduced a new display repair program for certain iPhone 11 models.

  • Apple says that some iPhone 11 models have been found to exhibit issues with the display module, which can cause them to be unresponsive to touch
  • Affected iPhone 11 units were manufactured between November 2019 and May 2020

Our take: When Apple says “that a small percentage of iPhone 11 displays” are affected, I always wonder what that percentage is that determines the launch of a repair program. Apple has a serial number checker tool on the replacement program page, so go see if you’re in the affected pool.

Apple launches repair program for faulty AirPods Pro

The news: After months of complaints from users experiencing crackling noises and weakened active noise cancellation (ANC), Apple has launched an official repair program for AirPods Pro.

  • Eligible AirPods Pro models exhibit at least 1 of the following:
    • Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone
    • Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise
  • AirPods Pro manufactured through October 2020 are in the pool of possible affected units
  • Apple says “the program covers affected AirPods Pro for 2 years after the first retail sale of the unit”

Our take: Although buzz about these issues died down, I always had a sneaking suspicion that something else…other than a faulty software update…was at play here. Send your AirPods Pro in right away if you’re in the affected group!