Apple got dinged by fans of user-repairable technology for soldering storage into MacBook Pros earlier this year, and its AirPods earphones seem to continue that trend. A new report states the earbuds are as impossible to repair as it gets, with components so tightly packed that you'll need to destroy them to see inside.
This news comes to us via iFixit, which slices, dices, pokes and pries inside devices to see if you, or a third-party repair service, can do anything to fix them. The AirPods earned a score of 0 out of 10 (where 10 is the easiest to repair) because accessing internal components is "impossible without destroying the outer casing."
AirPods got the lowest score possible thanks in part to Apple using only glue to secure the casings on the headphones. If latches or screws of some kind (in the past, Apple has used its own for its laptops) had allowed you to open the earbuds, maybe AirPods would be easier to manage. But in this case, iFixit needed a curved razor blade with scalpel-like precision in order to get up in the buds.
So since nobody can fix AirPods on their own, you'll wind up relying on the included 1-year warranty that Apple provides. An Apple customer support agent told us that the AirPods warranty covers manufacturer defects only, so we're pretty sure iFixit's investigation isn't covered. The rep also told us that the company doesn't offer any of its extended-warranty AppleCare plans for the accessory.
While the earbuds and case can be expensive to replace if lost, we gave AirPods a score of 8 out of 10 in our comprehensive AirPods review. The buds may offer limited controls, but they won us over with their lightweight, wireless design, great audio quality and easy pairing to iOS devices.