Apple’s products aren’t known for being easy to repair – in fact you could accuse Apple of making them difficult to repair by gluing and soldering components into place and using special security fixtures which make them difficult or impossible to remove.
In addition, the company has always indicated that only authorised service providers should open a Mac and perform repairs and upgrades. Changing a broken iPhone screen at home, or replacing a MacBook battery, isn’t considered safe for consumers. In fact, only businesses with an Apple-certified technician are supposed to perform repairs on Apple products.
With no choice but to pay for an expensive repair or buy a new Mac, iPad or iPhone, consumers frequently choose to replace their Apple product. The problem is that, according to the Right to Repair website, over 53 million tonnes of electronic waste is produced each year, and only a fraction of this is recycled.
Added to this, the fact that Apple stops supporting software updates for various products after a number of years, and the availability of parts for servicing becomes more scarce the older the product gets, means that the lifespan of Apple products isn’t as long as it could be. For more information read: How long do Macs last?
Apple is by no means the only electronics company guilty of making hard to fix products that end up being thrown away before their time, but it can certainly do its part by improving the repairability of its products, and making repairs easier and cheaper.
Whether you are an environmentally conscious person looking for a new product that will have a good few years ahead of it before it becomes landfill, or someone who doesn’t want to be landed with an expensive or difficult to repair device, we have details of just how repairable Apple’s products are. And if you are looking to get an Apple product repaired we also have advice for you.
Can I repair my Apple product?
People do attempt repairs and upgrades at home, but they risk damaging their machines – and will void their warranty.
If you did want to attempt a repair or upgrade at home you’d need to arm yourself with a range of specialised tools, including heat pads to loosen the adhesive that holds the display in place. You’d also need to get hold of the correct spare parts. Read: Best Mac and iPhone tools for repairs and upgrades.
Apple sends genuine Apple parts to authorised service providers, and, since August 2019 for iPhone and August 2020 for Mac, independent repair businesses can also get access to genuine parts. But as a consumer you won’t be able to get hold of these parts. In the past iPhones have shown error messages if non-Apple parts are used, so this isn’t an issue you can ignore.
Despite this we have a guide to upgrading the components inside a Mac, and one of our colleagues on TechAdvisor did once replace an iPhone screen, but these aren’t things we would recommend unless you are really really confident tinkering with electronics.
For the average person we’d recommend making an appointment at an Apple Store or seeking an Apple Authorised Service Provider to carry out the repair for you. We’ll discuss who to do that next.
How do I get my Apple products repaired?
The next question is where can you go to get Apple products repaired. The obvious answer is Apple, but that’s not your only choice. We’ll run through your options below:
Apple offers you three different ways to get a product repaired, you can:
Click the links above to jump to those instructions.
The latter option might be best if you don’t have an Apple Store nearby and don’t want to be without your Mac, iPhone or other Apple product while it’s being fixed.
Some people might be wondering if they can just walk into an Apple Store for a repair. Unfortunately that’s not an option – even when stores aren’t shut due to Coronavirus. We do explain how to make an Apple Store appointment at the Genius Bar in a separate article, but we’ll summarise the steps below.
Before you begin we recommend that you check to see if the product qualifies for a free repair. We have a separate articles about the various repair schemes and recalls.
If your Mac, iPhone or iPad is included in one of these recalls or repair programs you may be able to get it repaired for free. Its a good idea to check before you arrange a repair, not just to furnish yourself with the knowledge of what should be on offer to you, but also because if you don’t go to an Apple Store or an Apple Authorised repair shop then you won’t be able to take advantage of the free repair.
We have a number of articles that offer advice about getting Apple products repaired. Read:
- Go to Apple’s website.
- Enter your Apple ID and password.
- Choose your product.
- Click Start a Service request.
- Chose the topic that best represents your problem – for example, if your Mac won’t turn on choose Startup or Power.
- You’ll eventually be offered the options to talk to Apple Support, Chat, or Bring in to Repair. The latter option will allow you to make an appointment at a Genius Bar. Click on that option.
- Enter your Apple ID and password again if required.
- Enter your serial number (or if you are lucky you may be able to choose your actual Mac, if it’s associated with your account). Click on the correct model.
- The next screen will ask you to Bring in for Repair. You will be able to search for your closest Apple Store or Apple Authorised Service Provider (which in our case is an iStore).
If you’d prefer not to go to a shop then Apple will send you a box you can use to ship it to an Apple Repair Centre. You need to ship it within 30 days.
You can arrange shipping your device to an Apple Repair Centre either over the phone or online. Apple says this service is available for most Apple products. It seems that most Macs are exempt (at least in the UK), but Apple Watches, iPhones, and iPads can be posted in, for example.
- Go to Apple’s repair website.
- Click Start a repair request.
- Choose the product you wish to send to Apple (or enter your serial number if the product isn’t listed).
- Choose one of the options, e.g. Set Up Online or Express Replacement (which might be an option for you if you have AppleCare+).
Does Apple repair or replace?
If you have AppleCare+ you can take advantage of the Express Replacement Service that is available for some Apple products. In this case Apple will send you a replacement product before your damaged or non-working product is returned to them (you have ten days or you will pay the full price of the replacement). There may be an additional fee and you only get to use this feature of AppleCare+ for the first two instances of accidental damage. Read: Is AppleCare+ worth it.
How long do Apple repairs take?
If you are able to take your Apple product to an Apple Store or an Apple Service Provider they might be able to fix it there for you, depending on whether they have the equipment.
However, some problems may be more complex and require being sent on to an Apple Repair Centre, in which case it should take from 6-8 days.
Apple advises that iPhone repairs take between 6-8 days if you send your iPhone to an Apple Repair Centre, for example.
How much do Apple repairs cost?
The cost of Apple repairs depends on a number of factors. Generally battery and screen replacements are cheaper than other replacements. And if you have AppleCare+ you may be able to get your Apple product fixed for nothing or just a small fee – and a replacement product almost immediately.
How much does an iPhone repair cost?
iPhone screen repair
Starts at £136.44/$129 for an iPhone 6, rising to £316.44/$329 for the iPhone 12 Pro Max (once it is out of warranty). You can see all the prices here. If you have AppleCare+ the repair is free for the first two incidences, but you need to pay £25 for any additional screen repairs.
iPhone battery repair
Starts at £49/$49 for iPhone SE, 6, 6s, 7, 8 and the 2nd generation iPhone SE handsets. Battery repair for the iPhone X, XS, SR, 11 and 12 series iPhones is £69/$69. If your iPhone is still in the one year warranty period, or you have AppleCare+ the repair is free. More information here.
Other damage could cost as much as £566.44/$599 if your iPhone is out of warranty. More here.
How much does an iPad repair cost
iPad screen repair
Unfortunately Apple doesn’t offer the same kind of service for replacing iPad screens as it does for replacing iPhone screens. If your iPad screen is accidentally broken, you have the option of replacing your iPad for an out-of-warranty fee. AppleCare+ does include accidental damage protection, but there may be an excess fee.
An out of warranty fee to replace an iPad stretches from £206.44/$199 to £616.44/$649. More information here.
iPad battery repair
A battery replacement on all eligible iPad models cost £99/$99 (or is free if its in warranty or you have AppleCare+)
How much does an Apple Watch repair cost
Apple Watch screen repair
As with the iPad, if your Apple Watch screen gets damaged, you have the option to service your Apple Watch for a fee. AppleCare+ gives you accidental damage protection where you may be subject to an excess fee.
An out of warranty fee to replace an Apple Watch stretches from £156.44 to £476.44/$499. More information here (Actually the price could be a lot higher than that, if you had the original Apple Watch Edition, which cost £8,000/$10,000 new, the out-of-warranty service fee is £2,600.44/$2,800.
Apple Watch battery repair
If your Apple Watch battery holds less than 80 per cent of its original battery capacity and it’s covered by AppleCare+, you will get Apple Watch battery service for no additional charge.
If your watch is out of warranty then the battery service fee is £82.44/$79. More information here.
How much does an Mac repair cost
If your Mac is still in warranty, or you have AppleCare+ your repair will be free. The price of a repair will vary depending on the nature of the problem.
Mac battery repair
Apple will repair the battery in MacBook laptops, prices range from £129/$129 to £199/$199. Check this page for details.
For example, a 16in MacBook Pro Battery replacement costs £199.
Mac screen repair
The price of a screen repair depends on whether you have AppleCare+ cover. If you purchase AppleCare+ for Mac then for three years from your AppleCare+ purchase date you will have cover for two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months, each subject to a service fee which is £79/$99 for screen damage and £229/$299 for other damage. More here.
Can I get my Apple product repaired somewhere else?
You could use an independent repair shop but be aware that they cannot provide repairs covered by Apple’s warranty or AppleCare plans.
If you would prefer to use an Apple Authorised Service Provider you can locate one here.
Apple has this link to information about Apple-certified repairs of the iPhone.
In 2020 Apple extended a scheme that allows small independent shops to legitimately fix iPhones. Now these workshops can also fix Macs.
Does Apple do free repairs?
If your product is within warranty – which is one year from the point of sale (even if you were purchasing a refurbished Apple product) – and goes wrong you can get Apple to fix it for free.
Other reasons that might help you get a free repair is if your product has been recalled or qualifies in a repair program. As we mentioned earlier, we have a separate articles about the various repair schemes and recalls. Read: MacBook recalls and repair programs – is your Mac included? and Apple product recalls & free repair programmes for iPhone & iPad.
How easy to repair are Apple products?
When you are choosing a new Apple product you would be wise to take into account how likely it is to get broken and how easy it will be to repair. One of the main killers of smartphones these days are batteries, another is the ease at which we break the screens – despite all the technical advances of the glass used in the manufacture of smartphones.
Apple has improved the repairability of the iPhone in terms of the screen and battery, but what of its other products? Replacing a screen on an iPad is not as simple as on an iPhone, for example, and the price is a lot higher.
Hopefully that will change. The EU backed Right to Repair movement and is aiming to put in place laws that will make it compulsory for new devices to be easier to repair due. Hopefully leading manufacturers to build products with removable and replaceable parts.
As a result of this campaign, French legislation has already forced Apple to label products to show a repairability score. The result of the changes should lead to more reparable products with extended lifespans so that they are less likely to end up in landfill early.
Apple – and other companies – now have to indicate a ‘repairability index on products. Read more about why Apple’s been forced to reveal repairability of products in France.
The repairbility of a product should be part of the decision when choosing a new product to buy, and thanks to the French legislation Apple is now being forced to reveal this information.
The company includes a repairability score for many of the products it sells on its French Apple Store.
Apple’s scores are based on the following:
- Access to documentation.
- Disassembly (how easy it is, what tools are required, etc).
- Availability of spare parts.
- Price of spare parts (compared to buying new).
- Access to software updates, free technical support and the ability to reset the software.
Apple isn’t the only one revealing how easy (or hard) it is to repair Apple products. iFixit is famous for offering guides to the repairability of various Apple products where they highlight the issues that might lead you to needing a repair in the first place – for example, the smashable glass on the front and back of the iPhone. Luckily the glass front of the iPhone is pretty simple and relatively inexpensive to repair, but replacing the glass back could be an expensive job.
How easy to repair is the iPhone?
Wondering what is the easiest iPhone to repair? Unfortunately the iPhone isn’t getting any easier to repair, although the two things most likely to need repair – the screen and the battery – are easy enough to access (although even those aren’t repairs you could perform at home).
However, since launch of the iPhone XS and XR, repair companies and home fixers have found that it is no longer possible to change the battery without finalising the change using System Configuration, an online tool Apple makes available to its own stores and authorised repair companies.
iPhone 12 series repairability
iFixit gives the iPhone 12 series a score of 6/10 for repairability. In favour of the 2020 range of iPhones is the easy access for screen and battery replacement and the fact that most components are modular. The main criticism is the glass back – the problem being that if the back glass breaks, it is necessary to remove every component and replace the entire chassis. iFixit reports that the replacement of the screen and camera of the iPhone 12 series must be activated via the System Configuration app – which again counts our home-fixers.
Apple’s own scoring (which you can see on the French version of its website) sees the iPhone 12 series awarded 6/10.
iPhone SE 2020 repairability
iFixit hasn’t scored the iPhone SE 2020, but Apple has – in that case it gets 6.2/10.
iPhone 11 repairability
iFixit also gave the iPhone 11 series 6/10 for similar reasons to the iPhone 12 series, noting that replacing the battery had been simplified, but again criticising the fact that the rear glass can only be fully replaced with a complete housing swap.
Apple’s scoring sees the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro getting 4.6/10, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max gets 4.5/10.
iPhone XR repairability
The iPhone XR gets the same score of 6/10 from iFixit, with the the ease of replacing the screen and battery highlighted, and the same problem with replacing the glass back highlighted.
Apple gives the XR 4.5/10.
iPhone XS series repairability
The iPhone XS is the same, gaining a score of 6/10 from iFixit for the same reasons. Apple gives the XS Max 4.5/10, and the XS 4.7/10.
iPhone X repairability
The iPhone X was also given 6/10 by iFixit who noted the accessibility for display and battery repairs, but criticised “Fussy cables tie unrelated components together into complex assemblies – expensive and troublesome to replace”. Apple gives the iPhone X 4.8/10 on the French Apple Store.
iPhone 8 repairability
The iPhone 8 was given 6/10, with the glass back being highlighted as a potential problem. Apple gives both the 8 and 8 Plus 6.6/10.
iPhone 7 repairability
The iPhone 7 – introduced back in 2016 – marked the last time an iPhone got a score of 7/10 from iFixit. Here the improvements offered by the solid state home button was noted as a point in favour, because the old mechanical button was a common point of failure in older models. Apple gives the iPhone 7 6.6/10 while the 7 Plus gets 6.7/10.
How easy to repair is the Mac?
Looking for a new Mac and wondering what is the easiest Mac to repair? The problem with many Mac laptops is the fact that Apple uses a lot of glue and solder to stick components down. By soldering or gluing components into place Apple makes access to faulty components impossible. Aside from meaning you might not have been able to get a broken MacBook Air repaired, this isn’t great news for the environment as Macs that can’t be fixed generally end up in landfill.
Just as with the iPhones, Apple is now revealing the repairability scores for some of its Macs. iFixit also offers this information for some Macs.
MacBook Air repairability
iFixit hasn’t yet given the M1 Macs a rating. Apple however has: the M1 MacBook Air gets 6.5/10, which is the same score as it awards the 2018 MacBook Air.
The 2018 MacBook Air gets 3/10 from iFixit. Here the criticism is the keyboard being integrated into the top case, making replacement difficult and expensive (a particular issue given the keyboard problems of the 2016-2020 MacBook Airs). These laptops are also held back by the fact that storage and RAM is soldered on. In the Air’s favour, iFixit does note that the ports, fan, speaker and some other components are straightforward to access.
iFixit also noted that Apple made changes to the layout of the components inside the early 2020 MacBook Air to make servicing and repair easier.
However, the old design of the pre-2017 MacBook Air actually had a better score awarded by Apple – 7/10.
MacBook Pro repairability
The M1 MacBook Pro gets 5.6/10 from Apple, while the older 2020 2.0GHz model gets 6.3/10.
To get an idea of how that might translate to iFixit’s scores, the 2019 13in MacBook Pro (the entry-level model, but the repairability most likely applies to all models) was given a score of 2/10 by iFixit. The negatives they note include Apple’s use of Proprietary pentalobe screws, the glued in battery, and the soldered-down RAM.
The 2/10 score is a slight improvement on the 2018 model at least: here iFixit criticises the fact that the processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board and the keyboard, battery, and speakers are glued together. The Touch ID button is also highlighted due to it being paired with the T2 chip. Apple awards the 2019 13in MacBook Pro a score of 5.6/10, while the 2018 model scored 6.2/10.
According to iFixit the 16in MacBook Pro is not one to recommend. They give it just 1/10 for repairability, noting that the processor, RAM, and flash memory are all soldered to the logic board, making replacement difficult. They also note that glue and/or rivets secure the keyboard, battery, speakers, and Touch Bar, so those repairs would also be difficult. Also the Touch ID sensor is the power switch and locked to the logic board and paired with the T2 chip, which would make repairs of that component difficult.
The older 15in MacBook Pro was no better, also scoring 1/10, for essentially the same reasons as the 16in model. Apple awards the 16in MacBook Pro 6.3/10.
As for desktops, the 2020 27in iMac gets 4/10 from iFixit. Here the criticism is the fact that Apple makes it so hard to remove the screen to access the components – and it;’s difficult to return it to the state you started. Once you are inside, the exposed power supply is a concern. And altering the internal storage is impossible. Apple hasn’t rated these models yet.
The iMac Pro gets 3/10. Here the criticisms are that key components are buried behind the logic board, requiring a lot of disassembly for access, the loss of the external RAM access hatch – a feature of other 27in iMac models – means RAM is a more difficult upgrade, and the GPU is soldered in place. Apple hasn’t rated these models yet.
Mac mini repairability
The 2018 Mac mini got a repairability score of 6/10 from iFixit. Here the criticisms were that the CPU and storage are both soldered to the logic board and not user-upgradeable and the fact that If any of the many ports is damaged or worn, the entire logic board will need replacing. In its favour the Mac mini components aren’t held in place with adhesive and RAM can be easily upgraded. Apple hasn’t rated these models yet.
How easy to repair is the iPad?
It’s disappointing really that the iPad isn’t as easy to repair as the iPhone. In fact the difficulty of replacing the screen and the battery are emphasised by the fact that both these repairs are relatively easy on the iPhone. We think it’s time Apple made the iPad easier to fix.
What is the easiest iPad to repair?
The iPad from 2019 gets a repairability score of 2/10 from iFixit. Here the criticisms are the barrier of very strong adhesive making getting inside almost impossible, and the overuse of adhesive once you do get inside. The Lightning port – noted as a “common point of failure” is unfortunately difficult to replace because it is soldered to the logic board.
The iPad Air from 2019 also scores 2/10 from iFixit. Here the battery replacement is at least noted as being possible but they complain that it is “unnecessarily difficult”. Again, there is too much adhesive holding parts and cables in place. The lightning port is difficult to replace because its soldered to the logic board. But at least other components are modular and can therefore be replaced independently (once you get inside).
The 2019 iPad mini is similar. It scores 2/10 with iFixit noting how hard battery replacement is, and how there is adhesive holding down parts and cables. They also note that removing the home button is difficult and a necessary part of display replacement if you wish to keep Touch ID functionality.
The 2018 iPad Pro does get a slightly better score – 3/10. Here the criticism is again all the glue that Apple uses inside the case. But at least here the battery is secured with easy-to-remove tabs. Another point in its favour is the USB-C port which is modular and can be independently replaced.
How easy to repair is the Apple Watch?
Like the iPhone the Apple Watch screen is likely to be the thing that breaks, although, unlike the iPhone we aren’t so likely to drop our Apple Watches. But just how easy is it to fix an Apple Watch?
What is the easiest Apple Watch to repair?
The Apple Watch Series 6 gets a repairability score of 6/10 from iFixit. The screen and battery are reasonably straightforward to replace. The main complaint is that many of the component cables are mounted directly to the S6 and require skilled microsoldering if they are damaged.
The Series 5 also scores 6/10 for the same reasons.
The Series 4 and 3 scored 6/10 but in both cases there was the additional criticism that the “resin-encased S4 system makes most board-level repairs impossible.”
iFixit hasn’t yet scored the repairability of the Apple Watch SE.
So to wrap up, Apple products aren’t easy or cheap to fix. Apple has made it easier to replace the screen and battery in the iPhone, which is a bonus, but given that they are the things most likely to go wrong, an essential bonus. We hope that the new EU legislation coming in will mean that Apple and other companies are more focused on the repairability of their products, extending their lifespans.