Tools of the Teardown: Pro Tech Toolkit

Using the right tool for the job is often the difference between a repair and a hack. A good hack is fun, but a good repair is next to godliness—or necromancy. But having the right tool for every fix, build, and craft is a big ask. Who’s got the time to source all those tools, buy them, and find a place to store them? Our product engineers, for one. They’ve been doing their homework for the last decade to bring you the best we’ve found for fixers, builders and crafters.

The closest we’ve come to the right tool for most jobs is the Pro Tech Toolkit

Pro Tech toolkit used for a MacBook repair.

Not only has the Pro Tech been my primary toolkit at home for the past seven years, it’s also gotten me through six remote teardowns in three countries. When you’ve got roughly 48 hours notice between iPhone announcement and preorder, you’ve gotta get plane tickets and pack fast. There’s no time to pick out tools and plan for contingencies. So the Pro Tech is always the first thing in my bag—well, in every bag (we take around four) to minimize fallout from baggage loss.

We’re no stranger to hacks. We’ve made do for photos (often using conference tables, but we have pulled a hotel headboard off the wall); we’ve dealt with bad lighting; we’ve de-soldered in a bathroom sink; we’ve hot-spotted just so much data when Wi-Fi sucked. But we’ve never compromised on our tools.

There’s a reason the Pro Tech is our emblematic kit. The heart of the Pro Tech is the Mako driver kit. Built with our premium aluminum driver handle, selection of the 64 most common drive types found in electronics, and the handy sort-friendly, magnetic, polymer case, the Mako is a worthy core.

The quality and selection of bits is definitely important, but we’re not the only ones making screwdrivers, so perhaps even more appealing are our custom designed prying tools. Every time I think I have a favorite tool—it was our redesigned plastic opening tool—the tool team comes up with a new tool for a new niche that’s too good to pass up. 

Guitar picks are nice, but can be thin, sharp and are hard to clean; our opening picks are the ultimate evolution. There are three corners to dirty and dull before you need to clean or sharpen the tool. The material has the right flexibility and grip, and has a thin profile making them great for that first insertion. 

The teardown team hard at work in Australia.

Our spudger is a slim, strong, smooth improvement upon the standard spudger, but the halberd spudger stole my heart, even as a prototype. The hook is great for disconnecting antenna cables. The handle and thin profile make this my go-to opening tool for both Android and iPhone. Pair that with our beefier suction cup handle—no thin metal keyring to cut into your fingers—and time-sensitive teardowns suddenly feel much more viable.

For more aggressive action, the Jimmy and metal spudger have your back. For gentler maneuvers, the anti-static wrist strap is ready to protect. Need tinier fingers for micro-scale connectors and screws? We’ve got three flavors of tweezer. The metal tweezers are robust and fine-tipped, but my non-standard use (removing soldered shields from boards in a teardown frenzy) has cost me a few pairs, so the swappable nylon tips are a nice renewable option.

When the end of a teardown sees my canvas tool roll emptied out, the Pro Tech’s neatly slotted and shaped carry case is almost comforting. Unlike most electronics these days, it’s easy to reassemble that tragic post-teardown Pro Tech—A place for everything, and everything in its place. Even sleep-deprived, we can return the conference room (or hotel room) to its normal state. Teardowns may be a heck of a 16-hour sprint, but the Pro Tech makes them possible. Well, the Pro Tech and regional snacks.