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Apple adds M1 Mac notebooks to self-repair scheme

For 'limited, serial number-authorized repairs' in move unlikely to appease critics

Loyal Mac fans inclined to break out the WD-40 and duct tape when their trusted devices misbehave now have access to an official Apple Self Service Repair program.

Promising repair manuals and genuine Apple parts and tools, the program currently applies to MacBook Air and Pro notebooks with the M1 family of chips. It follows a similar program for the iPhone launched earlier this year and will expand to additional countries – beginning in Europe – as well as additional Mac models later this year.

Under the program, the display, top case with battery, and trackpad can all be replaced, with Apple providing specific tools to perform repairs that once only an expensive specialist could undertake.

Those wishing to perform their own Mac repairs are advised to start with the provided repair manual for the product available at Apple's support site. They can then visit the store to buy tools and components.

The iPhone repair program was launched in April this year following five months of silence from the omnipresent gadget company.

Apple initially made the world aware of its intention to launch a self-service repair program in November 2021, surprising many an Apple watcher used to the company's checkered history with the right-to-repair movement.

However, critics were quick to point out a few shortcomings of the program. Apple's efforts to appease those wanting to repair their own devices was dubbed a marketing ploy by campaign groups.

In a blog post, Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of The Repair Association, said of the iPhone repair kit: "I'll give their marketing team an A+ for retaining their repair monopoly while offering the pretense of cooperation without actually delivering on right to repair."

She suggested at the time that Apple's iPhone repair program was an effort are intended to stall legislation, although the move could provide an incentive for lawmakers to pass statutes that require full access to repair materials on reasonable terms.

Elizabeth Chamberlain, director of sustainability for iFixit, welcomed Apple's step in the right direction but condemned the company for tying parts to serial numbers.

"Apple is doubling down on their parts pairing strategy, enabling only very limited, serial number-authorized repairs," Chamberlain wrote in a blog post.

Persistent agitation by the right-to-repair movement, amplified by antitrust concerns about Big Tech, has led to legislative proposals in at least 27 US states that support the right to repair. And the issue has proven to be very popular with US voters. ®

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