Or iPhone, or any other non-Apple device, for that matter. It’s probably cheaper than you thought, too!

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I love my ancient iPhone 5, but hate the way Apple software updates effectively try and force it into obsolescence.

I also love my MacBook Pro, but hate every new iteration of iTunes, iCloud and the App Store: it’s almost as if Apple have tried to make each new release slower, buggier, more confusing and less enjoyable to use than the last.

But above all, I can’t stand the way that Apple and pretty much all the major manufacturers tell us that only they can repair our devices.

When my iPhone stopped holding its charge a few months back I decided to have a go at replacing the battery myself. I bought a small set of tools and a replacement battery from ifixit, read the instructions on the site, watched the instructional video and got stuck in. The replacement battery worked great, and I somehow managed to complete the repair in about half an hour without making any mistakes!

Due to the success of this experience, when my DJ MacBook’s battery died last week, I didn’t hesitate to return to ifixit (their Europe store is here) to get the stuff I needed to replace it by myself.

The Tools

The on-site instructions for replacing my battery clearly stated I only needed two types of screwdriver and a ‘spudger’ (a sort of mini, plastic crowbar for levering up the edges of phone cases or wired connectors). In spite of that, I opted to go for a 64-piece driver set; it was only a few quid more, and included driver bits I could use in future to repair other devices:

The iFixit 64-piece driver set.

It comes with this weird, bendy screwdriver attachment, too! The lid of the case contains an added bonus: the little square compartments are there for you to keep all the little screws organised as you take your device apart.

The Battery

A replacement MacBook Pro battery, by iFixit.

As you’d expect, really. It’s a battery. It came well packaged and protected, with peel-off thing to protect the shiny side.

The Process

The whole thing was unbelievably straightforward thanks to the clear instructions (which I followed on my iPad as I took my laptop apart). Basically, this is the method:

1. Grab one of the little screwdriver bits and undo all the screws holding the bottom of the case on. This is where the compartmentalised lid of the bit box came in handy; I was able to put every individual screw in a separate compartment so I knew exactly which hole to put it back in at the end:

The screws attaching my MacBook Pro's case to the body, neatly organised in the lid of the iFixit driver set.

2. Unscrew the old battery. Just 2 screws.

3. Use the little spudger to lever up the plug connecting the battery to the main board. Once that’s done, the old battery just lifts out.

4. Shove the new battery in and gently push its plug into the socket on the board. You can see the plug near the top-right of the battery, next to the RAM:

The plug for the MacBook Pro battery is located near the top-right of the battery, to the right of the RAM.

 5. Do the same process in reverse to finish; replace the battery screws then screw the case cover back on. Done!

Initial Setup (Battery Calibration)

This was one bit which I couldn’t find any instructions for on ifixit’s website. The MacBook fired up perfectly straight away after replacing the battery, with 60% charge. You can of course just start using your machine after that, but the best thing to do is to properly ‘calibrate’ the battery. Basically, you charge it up to 100%, then use it disconnected from the power supply until it puts itself to sleep. After that, you give it a full charge before using it again. That’s it!

Having replaced both my phone battery and my laptop battery, I can say that in my view, almost anyone should have a go at doing either themselves. It’s affordable, and probably quicker than taking your device into a store somewhere to get it done. Replacing the laptop’s battery was particularly easy due to it having larger screws and components than in a phone. It took less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

It's easier than you think to repair your own MacBook
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It's easier than you think to repair your own MacBook
I decided to have a go at replacing the battery myself. I bought a small set of tools and a replacement battery…
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