Apple isn’t exactly known for making its products repair-friendly, at least not by unauthorized third-party service providers. There are, however, times when it does seem to diverge from that path and throw technicians and enthusiasts a bone. The Apple TV has been one of its more repairable devices and it doesn’t seem to have changed this year. Unfortunately, iFixit’s teardown does reveal one wart in that image and it isn’t the Apple TV 4K 2021 at all.
The Apple TV box itself is actually a pleasure to open up and take apart, especially if you’re familiar with how difficult it is to do that with other Apple products. All it takes is some gentle prying to open up the bottom plate and then the usual Torx screwdriver to slowly take out the large fan, logic board, heat sink, and power supply.
There were a few pleasant surprises inside as well as from an IR scan. iFixit discovered that the opaque box is actually transparent to infrared light, which means that you don’t have to be precise when pointing the remote. The Apple TV’s fan was also surprisingly connected only by gold contact points with no cable in sight.
In contrast, the new Siri wasn’t actually that easy to teardown. The screws at the bottom barely did anything and iFixit was forced to remove all caps and the navigation pad before trying to pull out the board which contains the battery. Fortunately, that battery was only glued lightly so it didn’t take much force to pull it out.
While the Apple TV 4K 2021 itself got an 8 out of 10 from iFixit, the remote, which wasn’t graded, would have probably scored a dismal 2. Given how the remote’s small battery is likely to die out before any other component, it’s disappointing but unsurprising that Apple made it very difficult to replace.