Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

We all got excited last year when Apple’s Self Repair Program was announced. Fast forward to 2022, and you can now hire 79lb of tools from Apple to fix your iPhone’s cracked screen and save a solid $10 over getting the Apple store to do if for you. WTF?

Includes content from Genius Bar


We touched on Apple’s self repair kits during the last live stream but since then Sam Kohl and Luke Miani have cracked open the kit and tried to play Apple Genius replacing a cracked iPhone 12 Pro display, but that’s not really the point. The point is that the process seemed like an absolute nightmare.

Bare in mind that Luke Miani is famous for doing pretty complex Mac repairs and refurbishment on his channel, converting iMacs into stand alone displays and more, the two of them really struggled with this process. I mean, Sam hilariously didn’t know what a capacitor is on The Genius Bar podcast, so that’s less of a surprise.

Luke Miani and Sam Kohl working on the iPhone 12 Pro display

This video is absolutely not to disparage either of these guys though. This kit is clearly not built to be user friendly, its professional tools that really should probably only be used by Apple technicians who’ve been properly trained. Just look at all the warning labels, there are crush hazards, heating elements and more to be careful of here.

But even following the guides provided by Apple, which are apparently the same ones that their own technicians use, not updated for the general public, Luke and Sam really struggled. The Display Press which heats the display to soften the glue and allow the broken screen to be removed constantly threw error codes. Error codes that seem to be rendered on the display in the classic Apple Garamond typeface, classy, though there’s also no reference for what these error numbers mean.

Not only did it throw these errors, but the heat actually delaminated the touch glass surface from the OLED display, peeling the glass away without removing the display from the iPhone. Not great.

That lead to some awkward looking prying and me cringing as I thought Luke’s fingertips would be filled with glass shards as a result.

The repair guides refer to putting on “the heat resistant gloves” which are not included but presumably sit by the genius bar’s repair station throughout. Tweezers that are needed are also apparently not included, and the repair guide asks you to magnetise your screwdrivers but doesn’t tell you how or provide equipment for.

All of this said, Just a few 6 or so hours later, Sam did have a repaired iPhone 12 Pro, and it only ended up costing him $7 more than going to the Genius Bar. Because he lost some screws or something.

At the end, even Luke says that he, as the Apple Repair Guru (who is often sponsored by iFixit for various videos) says that he wouldn’t do this again and its better to take it to the Genius Bar.

So who is this program for?

Well Apple never said the point was to make repairs cheaper, that was simply everyone’s expectation. They never said repairs would be easy, in fact throughout their argument was that repairing iPhones is hard, which is why they want it to happen in their stores, with people trained to do it properly. This is really evidence that they’re right.

Could Apple make the iPhone easier to service? Yes. Would they be able to make the product as premium or compact as it is with the same level of water resistance? No. So who is this for? I guess people who don’t live close enough to an Apple store to just drop it in. You can repair your own iPhone, with Apple’s own tools now and get a result as good as if you took it to the store for repair. But you absolutely shouldn’t.

Thanks for watching