iFixit Gives Apple Watch Sport 5 Out Of 10: Battery Pops Out Easily But Repairs Impossible, Not Upgradable

The iFixit team started tearing down the Apple Watch Sport on April 23, according to 9to5Mac. The watch is the first new Apple product since the iPad, so Apple fans have been waiting for this teardown.

When the team finished, iFixit gave the Apple Watch Sport a five-out-of-10, citing impossible to access and remove components, inability to access the diagnostic port, and other issues as being the culprit.

Although Watch Sport scored better than the Retina MacBook 2015, it did not fare as well as other Apple devices, such as the iPhone 6 and Apple TV.

Watch Sport sits right in the middle of the 1 to 10 scale iFixit uses to score repairability, with one being the most difficult to repair and 10 being the easiest to repair.

iFixit Repairability Score Apple Watch

When Apple built the Watch Sport, the designers certainly did not consider the owners’ ease of repairing the device on their own.

“No, we don’t think Apple had repairability in mind when they designed her, Fixers.”

Because components cannot be removed and replaced easily, Apple Watch Sport is likely not upgradable, according to iFixit. It is definitely not repairable without an expert’s help, which is probably music to Apple Support’s ears.

The real issue with the Watch Sport is the combination of limited space and the components being extra small to accommodate that limited space, not to mention Apple’s choices in terms of raw parts.

“As we work our way to the S1 SiP, we encounter the tiniest Tri-wing screws we’ve ever seen.”

According to iFixit, these tri-wing screws were so small that the team had to modify one of their already customized tools to fit and loosen them.

This was definitely a “repair hindrance – especially when Torx or Phillips could have been used,” iFixit noted. Phillips and Torx are more common, and the average Watch owner is more likely to have a set of tools that would fit them.

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The S1 chip, which ArsTechnica called, “a glued-in octopus of cables that’s hard to remove without breaking stuff,” holds the motherboard and other guts that make the watch work.

According to iFixit, after an extremely “destructive process,” with the team embroiled in the battle of “ripping out some soldered connecters,” and removing glue, the chip finally came out.

They concluded after this process that replacing anything in the S1 is impossible. This alone makes it impossible to upgrade the Apple Watch Sport.

iFixit Modifying Tools For Apple Watch
iFixit Modifying Tools For Use With Apple Watch

On the bright side, the Watch Sport does have some good points in terms of repairability, according to ArsTechnica.

The screen and battery are parts that need replacing much more so than any other parts. That the battery and screen are relatively easy to remove (once the cables are disconnected – which they aren’t, says iFixit) is a good thing.

The battery itself is a 205 mAh and only a tiny bit of glue holds it in. After applying some heat, the battery comes out easily. However, being that it is minuscule compared to Android Wear watches, it is likely to need replacements more often than Android Wear devices do.

To put the 205 mAh Apple Watch Sport battery into context, PC World reports that the upcoming LG Watch Urbane for Android Wear will have a 410 mAh battery.

Overall, to put the Apple Watch Sport’s iFixit Repairability Score into perspective, Apple’s other devices typically score between a six and an eight.

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The iPod Nano 6th Gen is the only Apple device other than the Apple Watch Sport to score a 5, while the 2nd Gen Apple TV and the Mac Mini Mid 2011 both scored an 8 – the highest scores ever achieved by Apple devices.

On the other end of the spectrum, the recently torn down Retina MacBook 2015 scored a one, according to Inquisitr. This version of the MacBook received the lowest Repairability Score of any Apple device.

The Apple Watch started arriving at consumers’ homes on Friday, and the initial wave of Apple Watch shipments will continue to arrive until May 8, which is the end of the first delivery window, according to Apple.

View the entire Apple Watch Sport Teardown at iFixit, and expect to see the teardown for Apple Watch and Watch Edition soon.

[Photo Credits: iFixit Apple Watch Sport Teardown, Apple Inc.]