How Apple prevents you from repairing your MacBook

By now, most of you would have realized that Apple, like any other large tech companies, are making it increasingly difficult for you to repair your own MacBook or iPhone.

They know the loyal customer base they possess and intend to keep it that way by ensuring that users are ‘trapped’ in this ecosystem by incentivizing consumers to trade in or discard models that are just 18–24 months old for newer ones instead.

This brings about Right to Repair - the consumers’ ability to have their products repaired at a competitive price and given the choice of being a repairer, rather than being forced by default to use the device manufacturer’s services. Although this issue is largely concerned in the US and EU region, it is still worth noting how this has prevented consumers from repairing their own devices.

Firstly, by introducing insurance in the form of AppleCare, Apple has given the reassurance that you can get your device fixed anytime there’s a hardware problem. However, this still sets back customers with quite a substantial amount and it does not even cover major repair complications such as screen and motherboard issues.

As mentioned above, they would also encourage you to purchase newer products if they deem it a hassle to fix a device. Although this is simpler, it also contributes to the e-waste and hyper consumerist behaviour. Adding to the fact that they host annual conferences to tempt consumers with newer models (with only slight upgrades), this prevents consumers from repairing their own devices whenever there’s a small issue, but rather, encourages them to buy a new one entirely.

Furthermore, this can also be seen in the design of their devices - by using proprietary screws, unibody enclosures, and other manufacturing and design techniques that make it so only Apple can easily take them apart. The company also makes it difficult to replace its batteries, by gluing them to other components and burying them beneath layers of complex, sensitive parts. While it may not faze seasoned experts, this may put off regular users who just needs a simple battery replacement for their MacBook Air

And if you have not read our article on Planned Obsolescence, you should definitely read about how these devices are designed to have a shortened lifespan, and hence obsolete after a certain period of time. Users would then no longer feel the need to repair whenever there’s an issue as the device is “getting old”. 

Hence, by recognizing these features that have already been implemented in the design and system, consumers should not only be more aware, but be critical about it. Although currently there is not much lobbying here in Asia, educating consumers on this would be a great first step in having full control of the devices that we own. 

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