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Apple's iPhone repair tool kit that it rents is wheeled and weighs 79 pounds

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Apple hasn't exactly skimped on the tools it provides in its new iPhone Self Service Repair program, but at 79 pounds, it's not what you'd call a practical kit for home use.

Even before it launched its new Self Service Repair program, Apple was accused of doing it less to help users, and more to head off future legislation. Now it's launched the program, it can tell any court in the land that it is providing every possible tool — and doing so for a $49/week rental fee, including shipping.

Only, that isn't $49 per week for however long you need to study the 80+ pages of repair manuals available on the new service site. It is $49 for one week and only one week — or in practice, probably not quite even that.

Instead, you have to drop the kit off at a UPS store "by day 7." If you fail to do so, "you will be charged a fee and a tax," though Apple does not specify how much that will amount to.

It does say that at point of rental, it will put a temporary authorization on your credit card to cover the full replacement value of the tools. Again, Apple does not say how much that is — partly because it varies, there are customized repair toolkits for different models.

Confusingly, Apple's listings for the different toolkits don't entirely tally with its listings for each tool you can buy separately. There are some in the kit that don't appear to be listed separately, while there are some separate ones that are not in the kit.

However, counting only the tools that are present in the iPhone SE toolkit — the smallest kit available — then the kit's contents are worth around $914. For all other iPhone models available, the second case adds about $364, for a total on your credit card of $1,278.

Note that the kit costs the same, and has the same tools, whether you want the tools to replace a battery or fix the speaker. So if you're on a low income, a tight budget, and figured this was a way to fix your iPhone cheaply, then it probably isn't.

It's also not in any possible way a straightforward job. And if the severe warnings throughout the documentation don't put you off, the toolkit cases might.

The iPhone SE toolkit comes in one case, where all of the other iPhones in the program get a two-case kit instead. The case you get for the iPhone SE contains:

  • Battery press
  • Display Press
  • 4.7-inch Repair Tray
  • Adhesive Cutter
  • Nylon Probe (Black Stick)
  • 4.7-inch Display Protective Cover
  • 4.7-inch Back Protective Cover
  • Black Torque Driver Kit
  • Gray Torque Driver
  • Green Torque Driver
  • Blue Torque Driver
  • Micro Stix Bit
  • Super screw Bit
  • 4.7-inch Support Frame
  • Universal Display Fixture

Every iPhone repair toolkit, regardless of the model, comes with a case containing these tools. Except for the iPhone SE, all of the rest have a case that adds:

  • Heated Display Removal Fixture
  • Heated Display Pocket

Apple says that, "one case weighs 43 pounds and the other weighs 36 pounds."

That's a total weight of 79 pounds. As an iPhone SE weighs only 5.09 ounces, that means to repair it you need a kit that weighs just over 248 times more than the phone you're trying to fix.

The toolkits come on wheels, and they can also be stacked. If your iPhone needs two toolkits, and you stack them together, they add up to 20 inches wide and 47 inches high.

Right to Repair was always a campaign about how individuals should have the rights, and the facilities, to effect repairs on the devices they have bought, and these kits are versions of what Apple uses in-store. They're just not cost-effective for any given user, skilled or not.