Apple says your iPhone could injure you. A repair specialist is appalled

After Apple uses a curious argument to block the Right To Repair Bill, I asked an Apple repair specialist about the dangers of repairing your own iPhone.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

Fix it yourself? If you're handy. Maybe.

My friend John is a landscape gardener.

Perhaps because of that, he fancies himself as, well, handy.

He believes he has the skills to repair almost anything. Except the occasional relationship.

Not so long ago, I went to his house and watched him tinker with the innards of his iPhone. He was poking it and even pulling the battery out.

"It's easy," he told me.

Yet last week, Apple insisted that, unlike everything else associated with its products, repairing your iPhone isn't easy at all.

Instead, it's positively dangerous.

As my colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes explained, Apple and some fine lobbyists allegedly went to Californian legislators and told them that no, no untrained, un-Genius human being should ever try to fix their iPhone.

The reason? They could hurt themselves by wrecking the lithium-ion battery and inciting fire and brimstone.

California, you see, was readying a Right to Repair Bill and now it's disappeared.

Naturally, though, I thought about John and his un-Genius expertise. So I went to an independent Apple repair shop to ask a few concerned, explosive questions.

I told the highly personable repair man about John and his proclivity for repair work.

"Is he handy?" asked the repair man, in a genuinely matter-of-fact way.

"He says he is. But I'm worried the phone might blow up and Apple says it could too."

The repair man looked at me, twisted his face and said: "They're just scaremongering. It's a money thing with Apple."

And, indeed, it might be. Apple is deeply fond of control. It wants you to invest in Apple Care, Apple Geniuses, and Apple's every whim.

The repair man, however, insisted it would take a lot of effort to cause a fire while repairing your iPhone.

"You'd have to puncture the battery," he said.

I expressed my relief. Then he smiled and said: "It's happened here."

I could see no visible scars on him, so replied: "Wait, you've had an exploding iPhone here and you're experts?"

"Yeah, it didn't totally explode, but there was a lot of smoke."

"So isn't that dangerous?"

"Not really. We were a bit careless. To make it explode you'd have to really spike it with force."

He thought about it again.

"The biggest danger for an amateur is when you try and dig the battery out." he said. "I guess you could spike it doing that."

"So what about John? Is he mad or will he be OK?"

"Like I said, is he handy?"

Apple, of course, has many fine repair services. Some are even free. I'll go to independent repair shops if I crack my screen, but not if it's something more serious.

Indeed when I had an iPhone charging problem, an Apple Genius told me I was charging it wrong. The shame lived with me for a while.

Still, I'm not going to tell you that at-home iPhone repair is a good thing and nothing can ever happen. After all, phones can explode even when they're not being repaired.

But I thought that perhaps an Apple repair shop would try and get more business by telling me messing about inside your iPhone is a dangerous business.

I'll have to ask John if he's ever thought of setting up business as an iPhone repair man.

You know, in winter when he's got less to do.

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