The ever resourceful iFixit has already torn apart the new AirPods Pro, in order to confirm how easy it is to repair the new earbud speakers. And after enacting a highly diligent process, the publication came to the conclusion that they’re just as difficult to fix as previous versions of the AirPods.
Lowest score possible
In fact, the AirPods Pro couldn’t have scored any worse, with iFixit awarding the device a rock bottom 0/10 score. This means that even the most nifty DIY expert would find it absolutely impossible to repair the AirPods Pro should the device malfunction in any way. Not exactly ideal for a product that costs $249.
So why are the AirPods Pro so difficult to repair? Well, the first major problem with the device is that it is extremely difficult to penetrate. Although it isn’t particularly difficult to prise open the heads of the earbuds, once this process has taken place, the quantity of glue that affixes the casing and the 3.7V button cell battery causes serious problems.
Furthermore, iFixit also found that the battery is connected to the device via a strongly soldered cable, meaning that you have a double-whammy of problems to overcome before you even get started. This would put most people off immediately, but there are further issues ahead…
The driver for the new AirPods Pro is located beneath the battery of the device, which sounds reasonable enough in itself. After all, the battery lifts out with reasonable ease, and this should then afford access to the driver. In theory. In reality, accessing the hardware necessitates slicing into the casing of the AirPods Pro, rendering the device completely unusable.
So at this point, iFixit concluded that repairing the main device is a complete non-starter. And decided to focus on the charging case instead. This was slightly more successful. Although the case is difficult to get into, the Lightning port on the case is modular and can be replaced. Nonetheless, replacement parts won’t necessarily be easy to source, and fixing the charging case definitely isn’t easy. But at least it’s feasible.
However, this didn’t prevent iFixit from rating the AirPods Pro with its lowest possible score, concluding that it simply isn’t possible to repair this device by hand. And no one can reasonably doubt the diligence of the approach used to test this, as it encompassed 17 painstaking stages that left no stone unturned.
iFixit indeed reported that Apple has released a “surprisingly candid statement” on the AirPods Pro, confirming that the latest version is not repairable, only replaceable, and no better in this regard than previous versions. iFixit did defend Apple slightly here, describing the AirPods Pro as “theoretically semi-serviceable”, but still concluded that the “glued-together design and lack of replacement parts makes repair both impractical and uneconomical.”
Apple’s AirPods Pro may include some exciting new features, and may sell extremely well, but the evidence suggests that you would be well advised to look after them carefully!