How to use Apple's self-service repair program to repair your iPhone or MacBook

1 year ago 221
  • Apple's self-service repair program lets you order Apple parts and rent the tools needed to repair certain recent iPhone and MacBook models.
  • Some repairs are challenging and should only be attempted if you have experience working with electronics. 

Due to hardware designs that all but require customers to take their iPhones to authorized service centers, Apple has been criticized for making it virtually impossible to repair its products at home.

That's changing with Apple's self-service repair program; there's now an official way to perform your own repairs after ordering genuine Apple replacement parts and renting tools from the Apple website.   

What is Apple self-service repair?

Apple's self-service repair program is designed to allow customers to make common repairs to Apple products. 

While the range of products might expand in the future, the program only covers certain recent iPhone and MacBook models. On the iPhone side, these include the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 families (which includes the base phones as well as Mini, Pro, and Pro Max models) as well as the third-generation iPhone SE from 2022. You can also use the service to repair the following MacBook models: MacBook Air (M1, 2020); MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020); MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021); and MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021).

For each phone model, you can choose from among a half-dozen repairs including battery, bottom speaker, camera, display, taptic engine, and SIM tray replacements. To do that, Apple offers access to online repair manuals as well as a user-friendly store to order parts and tools. 

Apple self-service repair program website.

You can currently choose among a half-dozen common repairs for a handful of late-model iPhones. Dave Johnson/Insider

Who should use Apple self-service repair?

For now, only certain iPhone and MacBook owners, as specified in the section above, have the option to use Apple's self-repair program. But even if you have one of those models and a supported problem (such as the need to replace the battery or display), keep in mind that you may be better off going to an authorized service center. The Apple self-service repair program targets users with some electronic repair knowledge and experience. 

If you are not experienced in working with electronics, it's possible to follow the instructions in Apple's repair manual, but the process can be challenging and there's potential to accidentally cause further damage to your phone or computer. 

In addition, while Apple lets you rent and purchase most of the essential tools to make the repair, Apple generally only includes unique and specialized tools you cannot find elsewhere. You might still need access to more common tools, which you will have to purchase separately to complete all the repair steps. 

The bottom line? While this program is available to everyday iPhone and MacBook owners, those with a technical background will be most successful with it. 

Potential costs of Apple self-service repair

You need to purchase the appropriate parts bundle for the repair you want to make, as well as rent the tool kit to make the repair. 

The cost of the parts bundle varies depending upon which model iPhone or MacBook you are repairing as well as what kind of repair you need to perform. Using the iPhone 12 for comparison, here are the prices for each parts kit (the price may vary by a few dollars for other models):

  • Battery: $70.99
  • Bottom speaker: $49.11
  • Camera: $116.61
  • Display: $269.95
  • SIM tray: $7.20
  • Taptic engine: $43.21

For most repairs, the tool kit costs $49 for a seven-day rental but also includes an additional temporary authorization for about $1,000 which will be charged if you don't return the kit. You may also be charged for any missing or damaged tools. 

For the SIM tray repair, there's no need to rent a tool kit.

How to use Apple self-service repair

While Apple now offers the self-service repair as a DIY approach to fixing your iPhone or MacBook, it's clearly not for everyone. But if you want to try your hand at fixing your device, here is how to use the Apple self-service repair:

1. Find the repair manual for your device. Visit the Apple self-service repair website and click iPhone or MacBook at the top of the page to filter the results by models you can repair at home. In the search results, click the manual for the phone you want to repair.

Repair manuals in the Apple self service repair program.

Find the repair manual for your iPhone or MacBook and review it to see how complex the repair process will be. Dave Johnson/Insider

2. Review the repair manual. Read the manual to ensure you understand the scope of the repair you need to make and to decide if you feel comfortable making the repairs. If you want to proceed, make a note of the repair manual ID, which is a six-letter code found in the Tools and parts section at the start of the manual. Apple requires this to ensure you have reviewed the manual. 

A repair manual in the Apple self service repair program.

Be sure to locate the manual ID, which you'll need to order the parts and tools. Dave Johnson/Insider

3. Order the parts. Go to the Parts and Tools store page and use the filters at the top of the page to choose your phone or MacBook model and the kind of repair you want to make. Then, in the Genuine Apple Parts section, click Add to cart for the parts bundle associated with the repair you want to make. This will always be the first entry and marked Recommended; all the other entries are individual parts from the kit, which you can buy separately. To add this to your cart, you'll need to enter your phone's IMEI or computer's serial number along with the repair manual ID you recorded earlier. 

Ordering parts and tools for the Apple self-service repair program.

When ordering parts, choose the first entry to get everything you need. Otherwise, you can order parts and tools one at a time. Dave Johnson/Insider

4. Order the tools. Scroll down to the Apple Tools section and click Add to cart to rent the tool kit (it's marked 7-Day Rental). You can also buy individual tools if you prefer.  

5. Complete your order. At the bottom of the page, click Review Cart and complete the order. 

6. Complete your repair. After the tools and parts arrive, you have seven days to perform the repair and return the tool kit using the included mailing instructions. 

Dave Johnson

Freelance Writer

Dave Johnson is a technology journalist who writes about consumer tech and how the industry is transforming the speculative world of science fiction into modern-day real life. Dave grew up in New Jersey before entering the Air Force to operate satellites, teach space operations, and do space launch planning. He then spent eight years as a content lead on the Windows team at Microsoft. As a photographer, Dave has photographed wolves in their natural environment; he's also a scuba instructor and co-host of several podcasts. Dave is the author of more than two dozen books and has contributed to many sites and publications including CNET, Forbes, PC World, How To Geek, and Insider.

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