Apple begrudgingly offers self-repair option for M1 Macs

Apple is adding recent M1 MacBook Pros and Airs to its DIY repair program, but it still seems like the company would prefer if you got your devices fixed, ahem, elsewhere...

Apple is expanding its Self Service Repair program tomorrow to include M1 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs, the company announced today. The repair program will come to Europe and add support for additional Mac models later this year.

The entire M1 Family — Repair manuals and replacements parts will cover the 2020 M1 MacBook Air and Pro, along with newer MacBook Pros with high-end M1 Pro and M1 Max chips from 2021. Apple say it’ll offer “more than a dozen different repair types for each model, including the display, top case with battery, and trackpad, with more to come.”

Prices for replacement parts will vary, TechCrunch reports, but are cheaper if you’re trading in an old part for a new one. And the discount only applies for the same part: you can’t use Apple’s repair program to upgrade your storage on the cheap, according to TechCrunch.

Apple plans on offering a repair kit with tools you can rent for $49, with rentals offered for one week at a time. If MacBook repairs are anything like the iPhone, you’ll want to buy or rent Apple’s tools; the repair manuals are written with them in mind.

The two Pelican cases of tools apple sends for an iPhone repair.Apple

Half-hearted support — Supporting its newer laptops with custom silicon is a meaningful advancement for DIY repairs on paper, but it doesn’t change the fact that — in the name of caution and control — Apple is still making fixing your devices hard.

Looking at accounts of the iPhone self-repair process, which include mentions of heavy repair kits and long phone calls with Apple Support to verify parts, it’s clear Apple doesn’t want to make exercising your right to repair easy. The MacBooks will likely be a bit more approachable — there’s more physical space for error, and laptops are modular by design — but Apple still seems to prefer repairs from Apple Stores and other authorized service locations.

Apple pushes repairs from a professional at every chance in its announcement of the expansion. There’s apparently now “more than 5,000 Apple Authorized Service Providers” that support 100,000 technicians, and 8 out of 10 customers are within 20 minutes of an authorized service provider. You’ll find the same focus on professional repairs in the company’s original announcement, too.

Apple had a real opportunity to create a friendly, simple, Apple-like solution for doing your own repairs, but continues to stick with what it already had: the manuals and tools it makes available to professionals, now with the addition of M1 MacBook parts. It’s better than nothing, sure, but it’s a huge missed opportunity.