iFixit’s Do-it-Yourself iPhone Battery Replacement Kits to Remain $29.99 Until End of 2019

iFixit today announced that its do-it-yourself iPhone battery replacement kits will remain $29.99 until the end of 2019.


The repair website lowered the price of its kits in late 2017 to match Apple's discounted iPhone battery replacement fee of $29, which ended on December 31, 2018. Apple now charges $49 to replace the battery in the iPhone 6 through iPhone 8 Plus and $69 for the iPhone X and newer outside of warranty.

Apple had lowered its battery replacement fee after controversy erupted about a performance management feature it quietly introduced in iOS 10.2.1. The feature, when enabled, has the potential of slowing down older iPhone models with degraded batteries when necessary to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple replaced 11 million iPhones in 2018, up from a usual one to two million per year, according to John Gruber.

iFixit's kits include all of the tools necessary to open up an iPhone and swap in a new battery for those willing to give it a try. If the idea of opening up your iPhone sounds uncomfortable to you, it is probably best to stick to the Genius Bar.

Note that do-it-yourself iPhone battery replacements can have warranty implications.

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This article, "iFixit's Do-it-Yourself iPhone Battery Replacement Kits to Remain $29.99 Until End of 2019" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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iFixit Begins Selling 2018 Mac Mini RAM Upgrade Kit, Save Up to $275 Versus Apple

Unlike the previous 2014 model, the 2018 Mac mini has user-upgradeable RAM. The repair experts at iFixit are now selling a do-it-yourself RAM upgrade kit for the 2018 Mac mini that can save you hundreds of dollars.


The upgrade kit includes 16GB or 32GB of 2,666MHz DDR4 RAM, the same type of memory Apple uses in the 2018 Mac mini, along with all of the tools and bits needed to complete the upgrade: an iFixit opening tool, a spudger, angled tweezers, a precision bit driver, and three types of 4mm Torx precision bits.

2018 Mac mini models are equipped with 8GB of RAM by default, but they can be configured with 16GB or 32GB of RAM on Apple's online store for an extra $200 or $600 respectively. By comparison, iFixit charges $164.99 for its 16GB kit and $324.99 for its 32GB kit, reflecting savings of $35 and $275 respectively.

Three things to keep in mind:
  • This is iFixit-branded RAM that matches Apple's specifications.
  • If you ever need in-warranty service on your 2018 Mac mini, and Apple detects that you opened up the computer, the Genius Bar is permitted to and likely will deny service. Apple's warranty forbids do-it-yourself repairs.
  • There is a risk of damaging the Mac mini if the upgrade is not completed carefully.
Those interested in proceeding can follow iFixit's 2018 Mac mini RAM replacement guide.

iFixit also sells the 16GB RAM modules individually for $159.99 each.

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2018 Mac mini Teardown: User-Upgradeable RAM, But Soldered Down CPU and Storage

The repair experts at iFixit have completed their teardown of the new Mac mini, providing a look inside the portable desktop computer.


Disassembly of the new Mac mini remains fairly straightforward. iFixit popped off the plastic bottom cover with its opening tool and then used a Torx screwdriver to unfasten the familiar antenna plate underneath.

With access to the inside, iFixit then unscrewed the fan and popped out the logic board with some old-fashioned thumb pressing. While the RAM in the previous-gen Mac mini from 2014 was soldered to the logic board, the new Mac mini has user-upgradeable RAM, as discovered earlier this week.


As seen in older iMacs, the RAM is protected by a perforated shield that allows the memory modules to operate at a high frequency of 2666 MHz without interfering with other device functions, according to iFixit. To upgrade the RAM, the shield can be removed by unfastening four Torx screws.

Other silicon on the logic board of this particular Mac mini includes the Apple T2 security chip, a 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 processor, Intel UHD Graphics 630, 128GB of flash storage from Toshiba, an Intel JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 controller, and a Gigabit Ethernet controller from Broadcom.


Despite the good news about the RAM, the CPU and SSD are soldered to the logic board, as are many ports, so this isn't a truly modular Mac mini.

iFixit awarded the new Mac mini a repairability score of 6/10, with 10 being the easiest to repair, topping the latest MacBook Air, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, and iMac Pro, and trailing only the 2013 Mac Pro.

"Back in the day, a Pro Mac meant a computer you could upgrade, configure, and connect as you pleased," iFixit's teardown concludes. "This new mini aligns so well with that ideal that we're surprised it didn't earn itself a "Pro" title—especially compared to the increasingly closed-off MacBook Pro line."

The new Mac mini earned its higher repairability score thanks to its straightforward disassembly with no tough adhesive or proprietary pentalobe screws and user-upgradeable RAM. However, it didn't earn a perfect score due to the soldered-down CPU, storage, and ports, impacting repairs and upgrades.

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2018 MacBook Air Teardown Confirms Improving Repairability With Adhesive Pull-Tabs Under Battery and Speakers

The repair experts at iFixit have completed their teardown of the new MacBook Air, providing a closer look inside the notebook.

iFixit started by confirming the keyboard on the new MacBook Air has the same silicone membrane under the keycaps as the latest MacBook Pro, as expected since they both use Apple's third-generation butterfly keyboard.


Next, they flipped the notebook onto its bottom side and encountered Apple's usual pentalobe screws that require a special screwdriver to unfasten. On the inside, there is a compact array of components, including a small logic board, a fan, a pair of large speakers, and a "radiator-esque heat sink."


iFixit proceeded to remove the logic board, providing a glimpse at the Apple T2 security chip, along with a Thunderbolt 3 controller from Intel, 128GB of flash storage from SanDisk, and 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM from SK Hynix.


Diving deeper, iFixit discovered that the two Thunderbolt 3 ports in the new MacBook Air are modular, and applauded Apple for this repair-friendly design consideration. "This MacBook is off to a good start as far as we're concerned," they wrote. "All the ports sit on their own boards and are easily replaceable."

Continuing the repair-friendly trend, iFixit uncovered ten pull-to-remove adhesive tabs securing the 49.9 Wh battery and speakers.

"The mere presence of stretch-release adhesive generally means that someone at least thought about possible repair and disassembly situations," the teardown says. "Are you there, Apple? It's us, iFixit. Have you heard our pleas?"


As first reported by MacRumors, the battery in the new MacBook Air is still glued into the top case — the aluminum enclosure that houses the keyboard and trackpad — but Apple will be providing Apple Authorized Service Providers with tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one with no top case replacement required.

In all other MacBook and MacBook Pro models with a Retina display released since 2012, Apple has replaced the entire top case when a customer requires a new battery, so the change is good news for both repairability and the environment.

Last, iFixit confirmed that the Touch ID sensor is also modular in the new MacBook Air. According to the new MacBook Air's service guide obtained by MacRumors, the Touch ID button does not require a logic board replacement, but the notebook must pass Apple diagnostics in order for the repair to be completed.

While the new MacBook Air has improved repairability relative to Apple's standards, the notebook earned a low 3/10 repairability score from iFixit.

"The Air still uses external pentalobes to keep you out, requires lots of component removal for common fixes, and both RAM and storage are soldered to the logic board," said iFixit. "All together, that means Apple has an easy time with their knowledge and tools, but the average DIYer is left out to dry when it comes to upgrades."

Nevertheless, iFixit said it hopes this is "just the beginning of an upswing in repairable design" for Apple products.

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Enthusiasts Detail RAM Upgrade Process for the 2018 Mac mini

RAM replacement guides for the new 2018 Mac mini have appeared online, detailing what's involved if users choose to go against Apple's advice and upgrade the removable memory modules themselves.


Apple's official line is that it doesn't consider the new Space Gray Mac mini to be user-configurable, therefore the company recommends that later memory upgrades be performed by a certified Apple service provider.

However, going down that route increases costs significantly, because users need to factor in the relatively high price of Apple-supplied RAM as well as the additional labor charge for installing said modules.

On the other hand, while upgrading the memory yourself can save money, it also carries inherent risks.


For one, any damage done to the Mac mini during installation isn't covered under warranty, and even if the internals remain unscathed, Apple service staff will likely refuse to repair a 2018 Mac mini under warranty if they see third-party RAM modules have been inserted.

Having said that, experienced upgrade enthusiasts will be happy to learn that the process of opening up the 2018 Mac mini isn't too dissimilar to the 2014 Mac Mini (although that model had the much-maligned soldered-on RAM).

With help from MacRumors forum readers, Rod Bland has posted detailed steps of the procedure on the iFixit website, along with the recommended opening tools, which include a TR6 Torx Security screwdriver, a T9 Torx screwdriver, and a Pentalobe screwdriver (also used to open the Retina MacBook Air and Pro). The entire process is said to take between 10 and 20 minutes.


Briefly, users must pop off the bottom cover using a plastic opening tool, then unscrew and remove the antenna plate below along with its attaching cable. Next, the fan assembly is unscrewed and removed. Then the mainboard is unscrewed so it can be slid out, after which the screws holding the RAM cage are undone to reveal the RAM modules.


Removing the rubber stabilizers and pressing the spring clips enables careful replacement of the existing RAM modules with the new ones, after which users must work their way back through the previous steps in reverse to re-assemble the mini.


The process allows users to install up to 64GB of RAM, using any combination of 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB DDR4-2666 SODIMM RAM modules, which are available from third-party brands like Crucial, Kingston, and Corsair at prices that significantly undercut Apple-supplied RAM.

Ultimately, customers wanting more RAM must decide which route suits them best: upgrade the Mac mini themselves and accept the risks; avoid the hassle by paying Apple a premium to upgrade the base configuration at checkout; or upgrade at a later time through an Apple authorized service provider, at additional cost.

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iFixit Gives Us a Peek Inside iPhone XR With New Teardown

Apple's new lower-cost flagship smartphone, the iPhone XR, launched today, and iFixit picked up one of the new devices to take it apart for one of the site's traditional teardowns that are designed to give us a peek inside Apple hardware.

An x-ray provided by Creative Electron offers a look inside the fully assembled iPhone, showing where each component is located.


Opening up the iPhone XR is similar to opening up the iPhone X, with Apple using its standard pentalobe screws that can be bypassed with iFixit tools. iFixit says that surprisingly, the screws don't match the color of the iPhone XR, and compared to the iPhone XS, the SIM slot is lower.

In fact, the SIM tray in the iPhone XR is modular, which is a first for an iPhone. iFixit says that this will allow for faster swapping of a dead SIM reader and a reduction in cost when replacing the logic board.

iFixit says that it's not entirely clear where the iPhone XS got its extra IP-68 water resistance from, given the fact that opening the XR and the XS is similar.


The internals of the iPhone XR look like a cross between an iPhone 8 and an iPhone X, according to iFixit, with a rectangular battery and a rectangular logic board.

iFixit is doing its iPhone XR teardown live, and it's still in progress. We'll add additional information to this post as iFixit proceeds through the iPhone XR's disassembly.

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iFixit Indicates Third-Party 2018 MacBook Pro, iMac Pro Repairs Still Possible for Now

Earlier this week, MacRumors obtained an internal document from Apple stating that Macs with the Apple T2 chip, including the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, must pass Apple diagnostics for certain repairs to be completed.


The document states:
For Macs with the Apple T2 chip, the repair process is not complete for certain parts replacements until the AST 2 System Configuration suite has been run. Failure to perform this step will result in an inoperative system and an incomplete repair.

• For notebooks: Display assembly, logic board, top case, and Touch ID board
• For desktops: Logic board and flash storage
Apple's diagnostic software is limited to internal use by Genius Bars at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Service Providers, and qualifying institutions, suggesting that independent repair shops without Apple certification would be unable to repair certain parts on the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro going forward.

Moreover, the document reignited a debate about planned obsolescence, as there were concerns that when Apple stops servicing the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, repairs through alternative channels might not be possible.

The news was quickly opposed by "Right to Repair" activists who believe that Apple and other device manufacturers should be legally required to make replacement parts, repair guides, and tools available to the public. Apple has and continues to actively oppose "Right to Repair" legislation in the United States.

Those activists will be delighted to hear that, for whatever reason, what Apple said in its document isn't actually the case right now.

After our report was published, the repair experts at iFixit swapped out the display and logic board on a 2018 MacBook Pro, and the notebook remained operational without being subjected to Apple's diagnostic software.

iFixit swapping out parts on 2018 MacBook Pro

iFixit is not an Apple Authorized Service Provider, so at this time, it appears that independent repair shops should remain able to repair the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro without issue. It's unclear why Apple's document suggests otherwise, but it's possible the requirement could kick in at a later date.

iFixit:
So why is Apple doing this? It could simply be a mechanism for tracking parts used by their authorized network, to check quality or replacement rates. It's possible that units with swapped parts may operate normally, but still report a failure in Apple diagnostic tests for having 'unauthorized' components installed—much like earlier units did on earlier versions of AST for third party HDD/SSD, RAM and batteries.
Apple did not respond to our request for comment.

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Apple Watch Series 4 Teardown: 4% More Battery Capacity, Hidden Barometric Sensor, and Streamlined Internals

iFixit has completed a teardown of the Apple Watch Series 4, providing a look inside a larger 44mm model with LTE.

Image Credit: iFixit

The repair experts believe that while the original Apple Watch was awkwardly layered together and used too much glue, the Series 4 lineup feels "much more thoughtfully laid out," likening it to the iPhone 5.
Apple pundit John Gruber has compared this to the leap in design brought by the iPhone 4, and we might even go a bit further and call it an iPhone 5: a device that knows its priorities, and wants to look as elegant inside as out.
At first glance, the internal design of Series 4 models looks more or less the same as previous models, with the battery and Taptic Engine taking up most of the space. Dig deeper, however, and the changes become evident.

Image Credit: iFixit

Teardown highlights:
  • 291.8 mAh battery, which is 4% more capacity than the 279 mAh battery in 42mm-sized Apple Watch Series 3 models.
  • A thinner and longer Taptic Engine, but iFixit says it still takes up a lot of space that could have gone to a larger battery.
  • The barometric sensor may have been relocated to the speaker grille for access to the outside atmosphere. The sensor had its own dedicated hole beside the microphone on Apple Watch Series 3 models.
  • The new Apple S4 chip is secured only with screws, whereas the processor is also "fiercely glued" in previous Apple Watch models.
  • The golden ring is likely a streamlined antenna system, as iFixit says it has not seen the usual fiddly brackets or golden gaskets.
  • The entire rear casing pops off more easily.
  • The display is not only larger, but also thinner.
iFixit says the Apple Watch Series 4 is nearing iPhone levels of repairability, with the highly-glued display being the primary remaining obstacle. Beyond that, they say the battery is straightforward to replace.

Image Credit: iFixit

All in all, the Series 4 received a "solid" 6/10 on iFixit's repairability scale, with 10 being the best possible score. That's the same repairability score iFixit gave the iPhone XS and XS Max in its teardown of those devices.

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iFixit: iPhone XS and XS Max Have ‘Notched’ Batteries, XS Max Has Apple-Designed Power Management Chip

The repair experts at iFixit have shared teardowns of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, providing a look inside the latest models.

iPhone XS on left and iPhone XS Max on right via iFixit

While the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have improved IP68-rated water resistance, iFixit says it could not find any obvious evidence of increased waterproofing, with the SIM tray gasket and other seals looking more or less the same. Dutch repair website FixjeiPhone had found the iPhone XS was a bit harder to open.

After removing the displays, iFixit uncovered a few differences with the iPhone XS Max compared to the iPhone XS, including a resized Taptic Engine and an extended logic board, with one of the display connectors moved to the bottom. It appears the iPhone XS Max also has a slightly louder earpiece for phone calls.

The teardown corroborates that the iPhone XS has a new single-cell L-shaped battery, while the iPhone XS Max battery remains two cells. As uncovered in Chinese regulatory filings, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have battery capacities of 2,658 mAh at 3.81V and 3,174 mAh at 3.80V respectively.

iPhone XS Max on left and iPhone XS on right via iFixit

Since the L-shaped batteries have six sides, rather than four like a rectangle, iFixit says Apple has "notched" the internal corners of the batteries in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max to prevent undue stress from thermal expansion.

"This dramatic shift opens up a lot of design possibilities, but the large notch is responsible for the decrease in capacity relative to the X," its teardown email says. "Only time will tell how this new cell performs with age."

Moving on to the logic board, there is a new Apple-branded power management chip in the iPhone XS Max. Reports had suggested Apple would start using its own power management chip in at least a portion of its 2018 iPhones, as it gradually reduces its dependance on Dialog Semiconductor.

Apple-designed power management chip labeled in green via iFixit

The teardown does not indicate whether the gigabit-class LTE modems in the latest iPhones are supplied by Intel and/or Qualcomm.

iFixit confirms the wide-angle sensor size has been increased by 32 percent in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Pixel size has also been bumped, providing better low-light performance and contributing to the new "Smart HDR" feature.

iFixit gives the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max an overall repairability score of 6/10, with 10 being a perfect score. The repair experts say display and battery repairs remain a priority in the iPhone's design, but the all-glass design means the entire chassis must be replaced if the back glass cracks.

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iFixit Tests Silicone Membrane on 2018 MacBook Pro Keyboard With Dust Exposure

Following the release of the new 2018 MacBook Pro models, iFixit last week tore apart the 13-inch version and discovered the presence of a new silicone membrane underneath the keyboard's butterfly keys that Apple internal documents have since confirmed has been added to prevent dust and other small particulates from causing key failures.

To give us a better look at the new third-generation butterfly keyboard included in the new 2018 machines and how it works, iFixit has done a much deeper dive, exposing the keyboard to debris to test it out.


iFixit exposed the keyboard to a powdered paint additive that glows, allowing the site to track where and how dust accumulates. On the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard, the dust settled at the edges of the membrane, leaving the butterfly mechanism of the keys protected. The same test was performed on the 2017 MacBook Pro keyboard, demonstrating less protection.
Lo and behold, the dust is safely sequestered at the edges of the membrane, leaving the mechanism fairly sheltered. The holes in the membrane allow the keycap clips to pass through, but are covered by the cap itself, blocking dust ingress. The previous-gen butterfly keys are far less protected, and are almost immediately flooded with our glowing granules.
With a combination of a lot of dust and aggressive typing, the dust did penetrate the membrane-covered key clips, hitting the top of the switch, suggesting that there's still a small potential for failure. iFixit was indeed able to cause the keyboard to fail by adding "a few poorly placed particles" of sand.

While the silicone membrane does not appear to be impenetrable, and there's no way to tell how the barrier will hold up over time as iFixit points out, it's still more protection than offered in earlier versions of the butterfly keyboard.

Following the dust test, iFixit did a more extensive teardown of the new keyboard, tearing it apart layer by layer. After a grueling experience pulling it apart, which explains why Apple has to replace the entire top case when installing a new keyboard, iFixit found that the silicone barrier is a single die-cut and molded sheet.


The keycaps on the keyboard have also been slightly redesigned, measuring in at 1.25mm thickness compared to 1.5mm thickness in the 2017 MacBook Pro, which iFixit suggests is to give the keys room to travel with the addition of the membrane.

The spacebar has been redesigned, with a keycap that easily separates from the butterfly mechanism, a departure from earlier models where the spacebar was more difficult to remove. All of the keys, spacebar included, were easier to remove and harder to ruin, in iFixit's testing.

Apple has not publicly confirmed that the new third-generation butterfly keyboard was introduced to enhance reliability and to cut down on the the key failures that were seen in 2016 and 2017 machines, though the company has informed Apple Authorized Service Providers that this is the case.

Instead, in its 2018 MacBook Pro marketing materials, Apple claims the new silicone barrier was added to introduce a quieter typing experience, an issue that few people seem to have had with the original keyboards.

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