Apple Opens Up to Self-Service Repair for MacBooks

No more mandatory trips to the Genius Bar.

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There was a time Apple kept such a stranglehold on its users that it forced them into only having repairs done in an Apple Store or by an authorized repair service. They’ve begun opening up, allowing a self-service repair program. While the company was opening it up to newer iPhone models last April, Apple will now be allowing self-service repair to MacBooks with M1 chips.

Don’t Touch That Mac!

Certainly, some repair services would be out of the range for an average user, but there are some repairs that aren’t very involved. Yet, for years, every time you needed a repair, you needed to either ship your Mac to Apple or drop it off at an Apple Store for the Genius Bar staff to take a look at it.

I learned that the hard way. I bought one of the first Bondi Blue iMacs. I wanted more memory in it, but instead of paying the fee to have Apple install it before shipping it, I found the directions on how to install the memory myself – in material connected to the Apple website. Only after I received it did I realize that I could invalidate my warranty by doing this myself.

Apple Self Service Repair Macbooks Imac
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

It sure looked easy enough. So I popped open my brand-new iMac and installed the memory. However, it was in an odd spot. I had to take out the CD drive and install it under there, then put the CD drive back. It never went back in right. Researching it further, I found it was a placement that even Apple technicians struggled with. And my warranty was invalidated. For the rest of my years with that iMac, I had to jimmy the CD tray open with a butter knife.

I haven’t used it in over a decade, but I do still have that iMac somewhere around here. Suffice it to say, though, that I never did anything of the sort again.

But this was a situation that Apple forced people into: either pay for costly repairs or DIY it and invalidate your warranty. Back then, there weren’t even many authorized service centers. The nearest Apple Store was a good 45 minutes away from me.

Apple Self Service Repair Macbooks Apple Store
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One time I spent a day driving there, waiting in line for my appointment, only to have the Genius Bar staff tell me they couldn’t repair the MagSafe port on my MacBook. I then had to drive another 45 minutes to another store, wait for my appointment, then beg them to please fix it today instead of making me wait numerous days.

Surely, this wasn’t the best way for Apple to handle repairs, which now extend to iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and more.

Self-Service Repair for iPhones and MacBooks

In 2022, things are changing. Some of this change was on behalf of the push by the U.S. government starting in 2018. The legislation was referred to as the “Right to Repair.” Apple was seen as the main target in this.

More than three years later, Apple announced it would be allowing users to do some iPhone repairs themselves. The program was officially launched in April, with plans to branch out to Macs soon. That time is now.

Apple is launching Self Service Repair for MacBooks today, namely the M1 MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros with M1 chips. It will provide both repair manuals and Apple parts and tools to carry out these repairs. There are also plans to expand the program to other Mac models by the end of the year and eventually from the United States to Europe.

Apple Self Service Repair Macbooks Fix
Image source: Unsplash

To repair your MacBook, you need to visit the repair manual for your particular model, then visit the Apple Self Service Repair Store and purchase the parts and tools to carry out the repair. You can rent the tools for $49 if you don’t want to buy them. After completing your repair, you can return the old parts to Apple to refurbish or recycle, many times for a credit.

Despite opening up this program, Apple does say, “For the vast majority of customers who do not have experience repairing electronic devices, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair.”

Hopefully, this program will alleviate any users having to use a butter knife to access part of their machine, although I think we are many years past having CD trays in machines. If you have a water-logged MacBook, read through these fixes to hopefully find something to help you fix it and avoid the repair process.

Image credit: Unsplash

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