Apple now allows customers to purchase genuine tools and parts to fix their own phones. But the complexity and cost is too high for most.

Some may have looked at a cracked iPhone screen or a battery no longer holding a charge and think a do-it-yourself option would be nice instead of paying someone else to do it.

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But the only option for fixes with genuine Apple parts and tools has been to have the company or an Authorized or Independent Repair Provider provide the repair.

And it hasn’t been cheap.

Now, Apple has launched a DIY phone repair service in the U.S. for those who feel confident enough to try it. More than 200 parts and tools are available for the iPhone 12, 13 and third-generation iPhone SE at Apple’s Self Service Repair Online Store.

But they aren’t cheap either.

To replace an iPhone 12 battery for example, customers can purchase a Battery Bundle which includes the battery, a screw kit, display adhesive and security screws for $70.99. And Apple is giving credit to those who send in their old parts. A battery is worth $24.15 which brings the total cost down to $46.84. 

That price may make frugal customers excited.

But the savings disappear if those customers don’t own the specific tools needed to perform the repair, and it’s unlikely they do. Many of the tools can be very expensive to purchase, so Apple is offering a tool kit rental for $49. The same tool kit will ship no matter what repair the customer is attempting. The good news is the kit ships free with seven days of usage. The bad news is it consists of two cases that weigh about 79 pounds combined. So not only will heavy lifting be involved, but the tool rental brings the grand total for the DIY battery replacement to $95.84.

By comparison, customers can send their out-of-warranty phone in to Apple or have an Authorized or Independent Repair Provider install a new battery for $69. 

Apple acknowledges that the DIY option shouldn’t be the first choice for most people. It warns those attempting a repair that they should thoroughly read the available repair manuals before doing anything going forward.

“For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair.” According to Apple’s press release.

Google has announced a similar DIY repair option coming later this year for Pixel phones. Spare parts will be available to buy for the Pixel 2 through Pixel 6 Pro. They will also offer Fix Kits which include all the tools needed for the repair. No word on pricing yet and Google reminds customers that it has also partnered with independent repair providers who can do the repairs.

Samsung will make DIY product repair available this summer for the Galaxy S20 and S21 family of products and the Galaxy Tab S7+. The company will offer genuine device parts, repair tools and step-by-step repair guides. Customers can also return used parts to Samsung for recycling, but the press release doesn’t mention anything about getting credit for doing so. Samsung also reminds customers it has a vast network of same-day service options and more than 550 ‘We Come To You Vans’ that offer service within a 30-60 minute drive.

Of course, for iPhones, customers may simply opt to purchase AppleCare+. In the battery replacement scenario, customers with AppleCare+ receive them for free if it retains less than 80% of its original capacity. iPhone 12 users can choose a monthly plan for $7.99 or pay $149 for two years up front. AppleCare+ also replaces screens for $29 instead of $279 for phones without it and the DIY option for $236.35 after credit. So if a screen needs replaced, the AppleCare+ would easily pay for itself, plus users get other perks like 24/7 priority access to technical support, theft or loss coverage and express replacement service.

All major wireless carriers also offer phone insurance, as does Best Buy and some other third-parties. Samsung Care Plus covers its most recent flagship phones.

Consider factors like the cost of the phone, attachment to the phone and possible user clumsiness or absentmindedness when deciding whether phone insurance is needed. And since the DIY savings aren’t quite large enough yet, it’s likely best to leave the phone repairs to the professionals.