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Apple Watch Ultra Gets Good News: iFixit Teardown Hints At Easier Future Repairs

It may be easier to replace the battery in your Apple Watch Ultra than in previous Apple Watches.

Apple Watch Ultra
Apple Watch Ultra repairs are possible but "ultra tough," according to iFixit's teardown.
James Martin/CNET

Your Apple Watch Ultra may be more repairable than earlier Apple Watch models, iFixit said Tuesday in its teardown of the new smartwatch. The repair-guide website pointed to visible screws on the outside of the $800 wearable as an indication that the Apple Watch Ultra will be better suited to repairs than the company's devices have been.

On the back of the device are four pentalobe screws that secure the rear case, covering what iFixit revealed to be Apple's "system in a package" -- an enclosed capsule containing the sensor and all the internal guts of the watch. With those being the only screws on the outside of the device, it means the sensor can be replaced relatively quickly and easily, but also that the battery can be accessed only by prying open the display on the front of the device.

Prying open the display is difficult and there's a high risk of separating the display from the glass while doing so, iFixit said in its report. Behind the display, the battery itself is protected by a metal casing that's secured with four screws -- rather than adhesive -- making a battery replacement much easier.

If you want Apple to repair your Watch Ultra, a battery replacement will cost you about $100. Apple will repair "other damage" to the device (which iFixit suggests would be for sensor replacement) for about $500. 

Apple didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

The Apple Watch Ultra was announced at Apple's "Far Out" event in September. It's the latest addition to the line of Apple Watches and is the largest and most rugged Apple Watch available. Apple designed the watch primarily for people who participate in extreme activities like mountain climbing, diving and marathon running. But it's also a viable option for "anyone who wants a bigger, tougher Apple Watch with a battery that lasts twice as long as the other models," said CNET's Lexy Savvides in her Apple Watch Ultra review.