Apple’s “Black Stick”

In all the official Apple Service Source guides, where detailed take-apart information for every Apple product is listed, they make references to a tool called only the “black stick.” It’s used for prying open plastic cases without chewing up the edge like a metal screwdriver would. However, they don’t mention what this tool really is or where to obtain one. RadTech, makers of my favorite iPod cases and polishing solutions, sells what seems to be the tool Apple uses. However, they sell this nylon pry tool for a ridiculous $7. For a strong plastic stick. Being in need and not knowing where else to get it, I ordered one not too long ago. After receiving it and noticing some information stamped on it, I did some searching and found out they’re manufacured by Menda, makers of various lab tools. I also managed to find an online distributor with a website that works. So, if you’re in need of an iPod opener that won’t mark up the case, and which doubles as a handy soldering tool, get your “black stick” from ESD Systems for $1.59.

Update: Buy this stick from Stanley Supply (mentioned in the comments). It’s sturdier than the pointy stick and makes opening iPods and Mac hardware a breeze.

Apple’s “Black Stick”

28 thoughts on “Apple’s “Black Stick”

  1. […] from Command-Tab In all the official Apple Service Source guides, where detailed take-apart information for every Apple product is listed, they make references to a tool called only the “black stick.â€? It’s used for prying open plastic cases without chewing up the edge like a metal screwdriver would. However, they don’t mention what this tool really is or where to obtain one. RadTech, makers of my favorite iPod cases and polishing solutions, sells what seems to be the tool Apple uses. However, they sell this nylon pry tool for a ridiculous $7. For a strong plastic stick. Being in need and not knowing where else to get it, I ordered one not too long ago. After receiving it and noticing some information stamped on it, I did some searching and found out they’re manufacured by Menda, makers of various lab tools. I also managed to find an online distributor with a website that works. So, if you’re in need of an iPod opener that won’t mark up the case, and which doubles as a handy soldering tool, get your “black stickâ€? from ESD Systems for $1.59.   […]

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  2. tachyon says:

    Apple calls them the “nylon tool” and sells them in Australia in a 4-pack for outrageous amounts of money.

    Indispensable. Before they told us about them I tried using a spatula.

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  3. Hi,
    I found that you can get the tool included when you order a battery replacement from ipoddoctor.co.uk . They also give another for opening other parts of the ipod.

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  4. Mike says:

    The stick that is mentioned at the top for $2.00 (http://www.stanleysupplyservices.com/product-group.aspx?id=10980) is different from the one that is mentioned a few comments below it for $1.25 (http://www.stanleysupplyservices.com/product-group/9752) … they are different sizes and have different notches… the more expensive one (only .75 cents difference!) is longer and has more/better notches, one important one at the back for tucking the small wires in. Just like everything in life and my motto: “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!”… thanks for the links though!! I am going to spend the .75 cents more to get the better one (in my opinion)

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  5. @Mike: I totally agree. While the shorter, more flexible stick is the one Apple uses, the longer one is much sturdier and more durable. I use the longer ones more often.

    Occasionally, though, the short one comes in handy when you just know it’s going to be destroyed in the opening of the device ;-)

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  6. goramit says:

    You can get a *pair* of them on ebay (shipped) for about what the $2 each vendors want for them WITH shipping. In other words, when you go price shopping, don’t forget to add the shipping – on such a tiny item it can add right up. PS to international buyers like lovefool – ebay sellers ship international for not much more than the US charge.

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  7. John says:

    Old post I’m reviving here, but relevant because it comes up pretty high on a Google search. Anyway, these items are available over at ifixit.com at the following web addresses:

    Spudger – http://www.ifixit.com/Apple-Parts/Spudger/IF145-002
    Heavy Duty Spudger – http://www.ifixit.com/Apple-Parts/Heavy-duty-Spudger/IF145-013-1

    I don’t know the difference, but they’re both $2.95, and two of each of them (4 total) was “only” $14.80 shipped. After going to all the local hardware stores, I was ready and willing to pay it.

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  8. Where I work, we do a lot of Dell repairs, and Dell sends us what I believe is technically known as an “ass-ton” of spudgers. One with every laptop keyboard.

    Are these spudgers the right size and thinness (at the flat end) to use in iPod repairs? I’m sure my boss would be glad to be rid of one (or twenty) of the damnéd things. His pencil cup overfloweth.

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  9. Deborah says:

    Thank you so much! I have an iPhone case that’s really tight, which is wonderful but I need one of these to get it open. Anyone know if the eBay ones are as good as the other two sources mentioned?

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  10. MotoDC says:

    I was just in an Apple Store talking to a sales guy who had one of these in his hand (from the last customer he just helped). I was purchasing some items and asked him if they sold those tools; I mentioned I had an old macbook I wanted to upgrade the hard drive in. He just gave it to me! He mentioned that they have 100’s in the back with all the work they do on gear. This was a busier store, so maybe it wouldn’t be missed. Anyway, just my $0.02

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  11. Zilog Jones says:

    I used to assemble Dell laptops in Ireland. Menda 35619 sticks were one of the standard issue tools there – we called them “black sticks”. I’ve never broken one of these (haven’t used the 35622 pointy stick Apple use), but the ends did wear out after building a few hundred laptops!

    They’re great for disassembling laptops, routing cables, soldering, etc.

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