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Apple’s Self Repair Program toolkit – Hands on with what’s inside

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Apple’s 79-pound iPhone Self Repair Program toolkit is on our test bench. Here’s what’s inside the hefty repair package.

Apple’s self-service repair portal has just launched, and for the moment, it is focused solely on iPhone repairs. In the future, device options could potentially expand.

Right now you can perform several common repairs such as broken displays and depleted batteries for the iPhone 12 line, iPhone 13 line, and the iPhone SE.

In our case, we ordered a battery replacement for our iPhone 13 Pro. With the battery itself, we got to borrow Apple’s toolkit for $49 to perform the repair for ourselves.

Of course, that also came with a $1,272 hold on our credit card.

Apple’s toolkit cases have arrived

The toolkit took two days to arrive and comprises of two large Pelican-branded cases. Combined, they weighed nearly 80 pounds.

After hauling them into the studio, we broke the security seals on the outside to explore their contents.

Case number one

Upon opening the first case — the smaller of the two — we were greeted by our return label. Apple put two new zip tie-style security tags in the case for its return trip.

This case houses the heater used to loosen the adhesive that holds the display into place. Joining the heated display removal fixture is the requisite power cable and a hot pocket tray.

Hot pocket for iPhone 13 Pro

Hot pocket for iPhone 13 Pro

The hot pocket tray clamps your phone with metal sides and then slides the smartphone into the display removal device. It will intelligently heat your iPhone for a precise amount of time to a designated temperature to allow the adhesive to weaken.

Display heater

Display heater

A suction cup holds onto the display, and as you turn the knob on top, it will slowly apply pressure and pull the display panel free. Once separated, you can use the included tool to break through any leftover adhesive.

Case number two

The second case has far more components inside, being the larger of the two. It has its own return label and security tags inside, next to all our tools.

The second case

The second toolkit case

This box came with a guide too, showing where each tool goes and what they were. It certainly makes it easier to know what goes where and ensure you don’t forget anything when packing it back up.

There are two small boxes full of screwdrivers, display covers, suction cups, and a plastic spudger. Then there are two large pieces of equipment — a display press and a battery press — and a tray that holds them.

Small repair components

Small repair components

Users will use the display press a couple of times during many repairs. Their phone will slot into the device-specific tray and slide under the press.

The first time it’s used will be to apply the adhesive. The glue is deposited onto the phone during reassembly, then a metal plate is placed on top. The tray is then inserted into the press, then a lever is pulled.

Display press

Display press

As soon as the lever is used, a countdown begins at 30 before emitting a piercing beep at zero. You must pull out the knob on the left side to release the lever.

After the adhesive is applied, users have to install the display assembly. As soon as it is properly connected and placed, the iPhone revisits the display press to secure it in place.

Without this tool, the adhesive may not be as secure in its bond, and it could cause the display assembly to come free or cause its water resistance to be compromised.

Battery press

Battery press

The battery press is a very niche device used during battery replacement. A new battery is first installed, with fresh adhesive under it.

The phone is then inserted into the battery press, and the top lever is pulled down, dropping a rubber roller on top of the new battery. Users then slide the phone back and forth a number of times to secure the battery in place.

This tool applies constant, even pressure over the battery while ensuring the battery isn’t damaged.

Give it a go

Apple does make these tools available to purchase on their own, but with price tags costing hundreds of dollars, the $50 rental fee is much more tenable. With these tools, many users will be able to undertake the repairs themselves rather than paying out of pocket at the Genius Bar.



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