back to article iFixit boss: Apple has 'done everything it can to put repair guys out of business'

Fixing and upgrading iOS devices can be a rewarding business opportunity, so long as you don't mind having to fight Apple every step of the way. So says the founder of iFixit, who spoke at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco on Thursday. The repair outfit's CEO Kyle Wiens said there is little or no official public information …


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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Arse about face

      No, the design intent is identical. The Surface Pro is impossible to take apart on purpose; iPads are only difficult because Apple is incompetent. And I dare say most android tablets are just as bad too.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you get a fault with some Apple stuff they just send an advance replacement I believe. Better than the over 3 weeks I had to wait for Samsung and then they sent a refurb for my almost new phone just because it was (just) over 30 days old.

  2. gerryg

    I've used iFixit - they're amazing

    Friend's son's Apple laptop - dead, obviously a power supply problem, couldn't swap battery as short term measure with his sister's Apple laptop as they were not interchangeable (natch).

    Apple "genius" - "it needs a new logic board £600" (about 10p less than a new laptop) - iFixit second user dc conditioning thingy - about $29 IIRC and $10 IIRC air freight - arrived three days later. With aid of iFixit guide - about 90 minutes work

  3. Paul F

    Total BS

    I work for a small shop and we have a great working relationship with Apple. The two stores in our area refer customers to us all the time. We worked hard to get Premium status, and are doing just fine. If other shops are having trouble, it's because they aren't up to snuff.

  4. Colin Ritchie

    Apple want you to buy AppleCare.

    I have owned 3 iMacs and 1 Mac Pro, my GF's son has had 2 MacBook Pros and we have had 4 iPods between us. When the iMacs were easy to open and fix myself that is exactly what I did, the Mac Pro was the same, no need for a 3 year warranty. The MacBooks were the opposite in approach. AppleCare for both of them, and well worth the money as it proved. A knackered logic board after 2 and a half years would have been £750 to repair but the warranty meant free. The iPods have died from drops and old age, warranties meant we only paid for the original pod not the replacement.

    This is how Apple want it and if that is what you want then buy the iThing. When the desktop range went sealed unit too I built a Hackintosh instead.

    If you don't, you know what to do. Samsung and Lenovo will happily take your money too.

  5. BenBell

    £5 says that in a month, there will be a lawsuit for the infringement on the name iFixIt - which Apple are probably patenting right now.

    Another £5 says that the iFixIt will simply be a black or white screwdriver available in 3 lengths.. 16mm, 32mm and 64mm for a few hundred quid a go.

    Lastly - Good on iFixIt for trying to help out the little guys - but its not just Apple who discourage dismantliong their devices. I've noticed over the last few years that HTC, Samsung, Microsoft (Surface), Panasonic (TVs)... are all the same. and they're all akward gits to take to pieces as well.

  6. Mr.Mischief

    Poncy Genius Bar

    The missus has an iPhone who's battery was dying. Called Apple and they said that she needed to go to the Genius bar. Got there, and a spotty faced youth barred the way to the bar, fondleslab in hand saying "Welcome, do you have an appointment?"

    "No, said the missus"

    "Well you need to make one to go to the counter"

    "Sure can we make an appointment. What time is available"


    Missus looks at her watch. Time is 4:29.


    1 minute later, phone is given in, and 45 minutes and $90 Canadian later, she has a new battery in her phone.

    There is another small store outside that does the same thing for $40, while you wait, but the missus believes that the Genius somehow sprinkles magic fairy dust to make it all better. Go figure.



    some 3rd party guy repairs an apple product the wrong way and it burns down a house killing all inside... Apple would have to answer for that! So yes - 3rd party repair people should understand this and lighten up!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Liability

      (a) of course they wouldn't. If a mechanic cut the fuel line on your car and caused a fire, Ford would not be liable.

      (b) The bits that can catch fire are really limited to the battery charger and the battery. Battery chargers are non-repairable. It's possible to damage a battery during the installation process, but the repairer would be liable if that happened.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Liability

        Regardless of who cut the fuel line a burning Ford is just bad for the brand image.

  8. mrscott1337

    This is how Apple is, they operate a walled garden and everything is in-house. Of course, to most techies this feels like a cage, which is why a lot of us prefer Android over iOS, but to your average person this brings a lot of benefits; you have software optimised for each device, you have excellent customer service and support, everything is made to be straightforward because they limit the amount of ways in which you can do things.

    At the end of the day, all you need is access to the same tools as Apple and any mobile repair technician can do just as good a job as any of these "Geniuses". It's all down to how Apple devices are locked down in such a specific way, they can only be opened and modified correctly using the specific tools designed for it.

  9. sleepy

    Component level repairs are a major source of unreliability whoever does them. My advice these days: if your digital device fails out of warranty, sell it for parts on eBay and replace with new. You'll get a remarkably high price, and a brand new gadget, with a new lifetime, and thanks to moore's law, a better spec.

    15-20 years ago, Apple used to think they could make reliable component repairs to exchanged modules, whereas IBM didn't. The result was flakey repairs by Apple dealers, solid repairs by IBM dealers. Apple's current approach is fine by me, especially now that there are no moving parts apart from laptop keyboards.

    So far as I can tell, hardware problems with current Apple products are almost entirely with third party batteries, chargers, memory, cables and connectors.

  10. JaitcH

    Apple is simply bloody minded - and is out to shaft it's Customers

    Whether it's using non-standard screws, copying Japanese rice cooker connectors, messing with head phone cable standards, adding resistors to make charging iThingies difficult, using non-standard connectors, glueing cases together or whatever, Apple is simply demonstrating it cares about nobody, other than shareholders,

    Jobs was a petty minded individual and Cook is emulating him.

    And filling garbage pits up with their discarded unrepairable trash.

    Still, the iSheep must like it, they come back every time and bend over so Apple can screw them all over again.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: Apple is simply bloody minded - and is out to shaft it's Customers

      "Imitation is the highest form of flattery" - keep this in mind fellow human being. because apple is apple, are they not allowed to create products based on the best ways of doing things?

      People wouldn't buy them if they disagreed with simpler repairs rather than bustling with 3rd party repair shops (who in my previous experience are always wanting to stump more money than it's worth to the customer). It is like Apple aren't allowed to do anything positive to streamline their business practises. Go into shop (Apple are trying to open more and more as time goes by), offer device, get replacement or repair and off you go.

      Would anyone want to tolerate Dell's practise of spend 3 hours diagnosing issue with a scripted customer service assistant, box the laptop, insure it yourself, see it go overseas, wait 3 weeks for it come back and then receive it more broken than when it was sent. Different product type I know, but that's the same from what I've heard off other Android manufacturers. Okay, having a phone isn't a right. But it's an essential now-a-days. Who has the spare cash or phone to wait 3 weeks for a fix or replacement to come back.

      Well done Apple in my opinion. Dismantling Apple products must be great for recyclers getting easy access to the simple parts rather than deal with screws.

  11. Truth4u

    class action lawsuit

    they were selling the ipod as a premium product costing many hundred dollars but the battery was lasting 7 months and then their official advice was to buy a new iPod.

    Needless to say I feel pretty damn smug for never having owned one.

    1. Colin Ritchie

      Re: class action lawsuit

      That legal spat is 10 years old, back then I was replacing iPod batteries myself with a £15 kit from eBay (fresh battery included), far cheaper than fighting a megacorp in court.

      Today Apple offer a battery replacement service by giving you a new or refurbished iThing for a modest fee. Apple now control the disposal of your old device this way. How many landfill Android devices have the same service on offer? Not something to be very smug about at all.

  12. Grom_uk

    The Mrs just finally let go of her nokia 6300, that thing has had 5 keypads 3 screens and 2 batteries.

    Imagine if that had been an idevice....

    1. Colin Ritchie

      No need to imagine.

      I bought a 60GB iPod Photo which lasted 7 years on 2 replacement batteries, no screens and no clickwheels needed, PC World replaced it with a 160GB iPod Classic under warranty when the hard drive finally went senile. £2 a month insurance ftw!

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: No need to imagine.

        so, £168 in insurance, how much was the shop price for the 160GB iPod Classic they "gave" you?

  13. Proc

    Stop your crying

    Reverse engineering is actually an excellent way to understand something fully. So what if apple doesn't say "here's exactly how to fix it?" So you have to do a little WORK to earn that buck? Gee whizz.. Think of that.

    Yes I am being snarky because the CEO and author come across a whiney cry babies. Do you really think ANY OTHER MANUFACTURER wants non certified techs mucking around with their equipment while trying to maintain a warranty on it? Sure, you can hire that mechanic down the street for your van, and he may or may not be qualified to replace the wiring harness, but you are on your own if he screws it up and then folds up shop a month later.

    Btw, the author has no idea about jailbreaking, so why continue to spread the FUD about it? Being jaikbroken doesn't instantly make your device void of its physical warranty. When an Apple tech sees a jailbroken device, the first thing, naturally, they want do is to wipe it and do a fresh restore to see if the problem remains (if it is software related, like wifi & other issues). Physical issues? Never had a problem with getting support at the store and having a jailbroken device. So just shaddup with the "jaikbroken? Then your screwed" crap already.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Stop your crying

      "Never had a problem with getting support at the store and having a jailbroken device. So just shaddup with the 'jaikbroken? Then your screwed' crap already."

      Ahem. From

      "Apple strongly cautions against installing any software that hacks iOS ... Apple may deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software."

      PS: We're just reporting what the iFixit guy said. We don't have a strong opinion either way.


  14. John Latham


    I live in Dublin (IE) where there are no Apple stores.

    I recently busted my Retina MBP screen and had it repaired FOC by one "authorised service centre" in less than 48 hours (they needed to order a part) - dropped it in late on Sunday and got the call on Tues afternoon. Another branch of the same company (city centre) wanted it for "up to five days" to assess due to backlog and didn't seem to care what I did in the meantime. So speed and attitude vary.

    TBH with the amount I've spent on Apple gear (lots) I should expect 24 hour on-site repair or replace, but I don't think it's an option so we just keep old kit around a bit longer as spares.

    Regarding the iFixit stuff, whatever. Once you've sold your soul to the devil there's no asking for a refund.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why are iFixit complaining?

    Without Apple they wouldn't even have their name, let alone any sort of business. Same with the absurd iSuppli.

    1. Scourge

      Re: Why are iFixit complaining?

      Now Apple have the iFixit name.

      Why do I get the feeling this is just a little like the NTHell situation from a few years back?

      What will happen to the negative Apple comments now, I wonder.

  16. a53

    Hmm, so buy a Nokia device because they went bankrupt ?

  17. This post has been deleted by its author


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