I get asked regularly to carry out repairs on Apple devices. Macbooks, iPads, iPhones, iMacs, Mac Minis.
The answer that I have to give customers is, “I’m sorry, we don’t touch Apple devices anymore. It’s a long story but we simply don’t repair them. You’ll have to take it to the Apple Store”.
What is the long story? What are the reasons? In this article I’ll hopefully explain.
One of our core commitments for over 20 years has been – if we can’t do the job properly – we don’t take it on.
Lack Of Support
The first problem is manufacturer support. Apple do not allow us to
- Buy the replacement parts
- Download the installation software, to
- Run diagnostic software on their devices
In 2021, most new Apple devices actually come with “paired” components. This I’ll explain later.
Apple Products Aren’t Difficult To Repair – Apple Make Them Difficult To Repair
Apple encourage the users of their devices to take them to Apple to have the repair carried out. This has always been the case, but over recent years they have made things increasingly difficult for third-party (non-Apple) repair companies to carry these out. The new hardware pairing is a further move to monopolise this.
Computer Industry Standard is a set of rules agreed by multiple international hardware manufacturers, software developers and contributors to the channel.
This “Standard” is a set of rules meaning that things like cables, ports, interfaces all work across different devices.
The standard is great for end-consumers. If they want to upgrade a part, they can. If they want to replace a faulty part, they can.
Apple do not conform to the industry standard. They have their own set of rules. They do things their own way.
Example Of Non-Compliance To Industry Standard
We all remember in recent years, all mobile phone manufacturers agreed that Micro-USB should be the standard connection to charge mobile phones and tablets.
Not Apple. They gave us the “lightning cable”. A cable that had an average lifespan of about 6 months. If you wanted a new one, you couldn’t just pick one up at the local petrol station. Initially you had to spend more than £20 to get an original Apple one. (These of course have since been cloned and copied and are available at your local pound shop).
But the same rules apply – they only work with Apple devices. No-one else uses these. These are just 1 example of non-industry standard.
The same rules apply to the parts inside your iMac or MacBook. Parts are either non-compliant, or they have some affiliate agreement with a supplier. Anyone working within computer repairs will tell you that even replacing modules of RAM, we had to use specific brands of memory. If Apple didn’t like the brand, it wouldn’t work. (ironically Samsung – their biggest smartphone competitor was the preferred brand).
If you buy a laptop or computer from any manufacturer, whether it’s Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, MSI…. there is support online.
You need to download the latest driver for your display or sound? The drivers are publicly available. Go to the website of any other manufacturer and from their support, the downloads are there.
Not with Apple.
You need to reinstall the operating system on a Windows or Chromebook device? The software is available.
Not with Apple.
They keep this stuff in-house. The result being, if your Apple device runs into a problem (that on a Windows machine would be relatively easy to fix), the only people that can fix it are the tech support people at the self-named Apple Genius Bar!
The Genius Bar
The inhouse support technicians are known as the Genius Bar. Apple Genius Bar = inhouse staff who have the exclusive tools to repair the things.
This suggests that the rest of us (third-party) technicians are stupid, foolish, naïve?
No. We don’t have the parts, software and drivers to carry out these basic repairs.
By keeping these repairs in-house, Apple (currently 14/01/21) charge anything from £ 276.44 to £566.44 to fix an iPhone. The guy in the mall might have been able to do this for £70.
Hopefully you’re getting the idea now why it is in their interest not to comply with industry standard.
Can you imagine a car maker insisting that the only petrol that your new car takes – has to be bought from them? Furthermore, after 5 years it wouldn’t work anymore and would have no value. Would you buy another brand new one?
Computers running Windows, Linux or Chrome can run for years and years. If they develop a fault we can fix them. If the become dated & slow we can upgrade them.
Apple discontinue support for their products when they decide.
How many of you reading this had an iPad 2? Nothing wrong with it. No hardware faults at all with the unit.
But when a company has exclusivity like this, they can release software updates that will intentionally slow it down. Eventually making it useless as the new software updates will not run and apps stop working.
The iPad 2 was released in 2011. Discontinued in 2014. Now 2021, it’s only use is as a clock. Did you get your £500 worth?
It’s a dead unit now. Useless. Bin. Landfill. This from a company that have committed to 100% carbon neutrality for it’s products by 2030.
Having non-industry standard devices, whether it is a smartphone or a computer. This gives the manufacturer the power to decide how long you can use it until it’s time to buy a new one.
Reference: Apple admit in 2017 that software updates slow down devices. In 2020 they are fined £21m for doing this. Link – BBC News.
In Defence Of Apple Devices
This article may read as an anti-Apple feature. The facts are that they have always made their devices, their own way. They have never complied with industry standards. If every other company in the world complied to the standard of being able to change graphics cards, Apple would make their own version.
This has been key to their success. Their devices are well made, look great and perform well when new.
But if I spend £2k on a new device, I expect it to run for more than 5 years before being told that I need a new one.
I use an iPhone. My kids have iPads. But I also know that that clock is ticking on these things. Even although there is nothing wrong with them, when Apple decide they are obsolete, they will actually become obsolete. And I’ll have to buy brand new ones all over again. Or will I?
Reference – Right To Repair
I’ve embedded an interesting video from YouTube. This is a young guy that knows his way around the inside of smartphones. His name is Hugh Jeffreys.
Hugh is an advocate of the Right To Repair initiative and makes a good case here about component pairing that is now present in Apple devices as of 2021.
Further information on the subject of Right To Repair on Wikipedia.
Apple Rant Over
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