Tech companies haven’t always made it easy for consumers to repair their products. Without the manuals, parts, and tools we need, there aren’t many options available, and lobbying paid for by many big companies has worked to keep it that way.
Thankfully, the right-to-repair movement has picked up momentum over the past couple of years, putting pressure on giants like Apple, Samsung, Google, and even John Deere to make it easier for both consumers and independent repair shops to repair their devices. While both Apple and Samsung now have self-repair programs that let customers fix their own devices, there’s still a long way to go to make them more widely applicable, available, and cheaper.
In a handful of US states, lawmakers have signed right-to-repair laws pressing companies to improve the repairability of their products. New York passed a right-to-repair law last year, but it went into effect with amendments that introduced OEM-friendly loopholes. Meanwhile, other states, including Minnesota and Colorado, have been more successful recently in passing right-to-repair laws of their own.
You can catch up on all the latest right-to-repair developments in the stream below.
John Deere has finally committed to giving farmers the tools they need to fix their own equipment. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the agricultural lobbying group, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), on Sunday, an agreement that’s also supposed to ensure that farmers can take their machines to third-party repair shops, as reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.Read Article >
For years, John Deere has been at the center of the right-to-repair debate, and not in a good way. The company put software locks on equipment that only authorized dealers can disable, preventing farmers or an independent repair shop from diagnosing and fixing a machine. It can also remotely shut down machines at any time (like it demonstrated when Russians stole Ukrainian farm equipment last year). These limitations have led some fed-up farmers to hack their tractors, something this new agreement is supposed to remedy.
Apple is raising the price of getting a new battery installed in most iPhones, iPads, and Macs, starting on March 1st. The company made the announcement on the devices’ repair pages, in small text under its price estimators, which was noticed by 9to5Mac.Read Article >
How much the price hike is depends on what device you have. For iPhones, it’s simple — Apple’s site says “the out-of-warranty battery service fee will be increased by $20 for all iPhone models prior to iPhone 14.” For phones with a home button, that means the price will be going from $49 to $69, and for Face ID phones that means it’ll be going from $69 to $89. Those prices, by the way, were put in place in 2019, after Apple ran a year-long promotion where you could get a new battery for $29, to make up for its battery throttling controversy.
Dec 29, 2022
New York governor Kathy Hochul signed the Digital Fair Repair Act on December 28th, 2022, and the law will go into effect on July 1st, 2023 — a full year after it was originally passed by the NY State legislature. The bill establishes that consumers and independent repair providers have a right to obtain manuals, diagrams, diagnostics and parts from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in order to repair their own devices. However, the bill was meaningfully compromised at the last minute by amendments that give OEMs some convenient exceptions and loopholes to get out of obligations that many right to repair advocates had been hoping for.Read Article >
One of the most controversial adjustments in the signed law is that it allows OEMs to sell assemblies of parts instead of individual components if they choose to. The bill also won’t require OEMs to provide “passwords, security codes or materials” to bypass security features, which is sometimes necessary to do to save a locked, but otherwise functionally fine device.
Dec 20, 2022
Apple’s self-service repair program has just been expanded to include the company’s lineup of M1-powered desktop Macs. As noted by Six Colors, customers in the US can now order genuine repair parts for the iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Studio. The Studio Display has also been added to the program.Read Article >
You can browse the collection of repair manuals for all of these products on Apple’s website; in fact, you must go through the manual if you want to take advantage of the self-service repair program.
Dec 15, 2022
Almost a year ago today, Dell announced the “Concept Luna”, a fully repairable and upgradable laptop incorporating sustainable materials. With everything removable and replaceable, from the memory and SSD to the keyboard and the screen, it looked to be a similar concept to the groundbreaking Framework Laptop — and potentially a huge win for both sustainability and right-to-repair advocates. The problem: it was not anywhere close to a real thing you could buy.Read Article >
Well, it’s been a year. Concept Luna is still not on shelves. Dell still has no concrete plans to put it on shelves.
Dec 6, 2022
Apple’s self-service repair program, which is designed to let customers repair their own iPhones and MacBooks, is launching in Europe. The company announced today that genuine Apple parts, tools, and manuals will be available to customers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK to perform their own repairs.Read Article >
Spare parts are available via Apple’s self service repair store, which features a drop-down menu in the top right to select the correct country. As with the service’s launch in the US earlier this year, customers will be able to rent tools to perform the repairs rather than needing to purchase them outright, and receive discounts by sending in their replaced parts to Apple for refurbishment or recycling.
Nov 29, 2022
It’s a good day when you get a free replacement for something broken. For me, it was a new controller. My old controller had its right joystick snap off in my bag. Despite the protruding nub snapping off, the analog mechanism still worked — so I reached out to the manufacturer for a replacement stick, and instead, they sent me a very nice and very new replacement. The thing is, like Carrie from Sex and the City, I didn’t want a replacement Blueberry iBook, Aiden! I just want my PowerBook fixed.Read Article >
Don’t get me wrong. Of course, I am just as grateful for the replacement as I was for the Thanksgiving turkey I’m still digesting. But my request to customer service wasn’t for a replacement — it was for a part. I inquired again about the part, but they said to just dispose of the broken controller. Not a fan of wasting a good controller, I headed over to eBay and found a broken one I could source parts from. Once I got that in, all it took was 11 screws and I was able to harvest my joystick.
Nov 28, 2022
Samsung seems to be working on a new self-repair app to aid customers looking to fix their own devices. The company’s submission at the US Patent and Trademark Office for “Self Repair Assistant” includes a blue Samsung-style Android app icon that has a gear and a wrench within it (via SamMobile).Read Article >
Samsung’s application describes the Self Repair Assistant as a “computer application software for mobile phones” for self-repair, self-maintenance, and self-installation of devices including smartphones, smart watches, tablet computers, and earbuds. The Trademark Office is currently waiting to examine the application.
Nov 7, 2022
Thanks to a partnership with Google, the right-to-repair champions at iFixit have begun stocking parts for Google’s midrange phone, the Pixel 6A. While iFixit has stocked genuine parts for just about all of Google’s Pixel phones since June, replacement parts for the Pixel 6A have only recently become available.Read Article >
While you can purchase the parts you need piecemeal through its site, iFixit also offers kits that bundle all of the necessary parts and tools you’ll need to solve a specific issue. The most expensive kit, priced at $99.99, is meant to repair the screen, but other kits are also available to replace the battery ($39.99), wide-angle camera ($56.99), and ultrawide camera ($36.99). The tools and other supplies provided can vary depending on the kit you’ve purchased but largely mimic iFixit’s $19.99 10-piece iOpener tool kit.
Sep 19, 2022
A new iPhone 14 teardown video from iFixit shows a major repairability improvement: removable back glass. The video demonstrates how you can lift the rear glass panel with ease, using only a heating mat, a suction handle, and an opening pick — a huge deviation from the past few generations of iPhones that weren’t so repair-friendly.Read Article >
iFixit describes the process in more detail in a post on its site, noting that the back glass is “simply secured with two screws and a single connector.” Apple appears to have used an adhesive that isn’t so strong, making it a lot easier to take off the back panel without any expensive tools. iFixit also points out that removing those same screws will give you access to the screen in case you need to repair that as well.
Sep 9, 2022
If something’s broken with your Steam Deck and you don’t want to try to fix it yourself, Valve now has a new option for you: you can send your handheld gaming PC to one of the company’s new repair centers to get it fixed.Read Article >
Repairs for anything that’s covered by the Steam Deck’s warranty (which is one year in the US) will be free, Valve says. If your device is out of warranty, the company will offer to fix it up for a cost. If you don’t want to pay that fee, you can decline the repair and ask to have your Steam Deck sent back.
Aug 24, 2022
On Monday, Apple expanded its DIY repair program to include MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops equipped with M1 chips (including the Pro and Max). At least, in theory. The repairability experts at iFixit, who regularly dissect Apple’s gadgets, have taken a look at the new program, and their outlook is...mixed.Read Article >
iFixit’s Sam Goldheart writes that the new MacBook Pro guides “threw us for a loop.” The issue: the documentation “makes MacBook Pros seem less repairable” than they have been in the past.
Aug 23, 2022
Yesterday, Apple revealed it would expand its Self Service Repair program to let you fix your own MacBooks, and today the program is here. You can now download full repair manuals for your 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and the 2020 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro and M1 MacBook Air — and shop for parts you might need.Read Article >
But what will Apple actually let you buy, and how much will you really have to pay? That’s not obvious until you enter your serial numbers and root around the company’s entire store — so we did it for you.
Apple’s expanding its DIY repair program to include MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops equipped with the M1 chip. Once the program officially opens tomorrow, you’ll get to purchase genuine parts for the 2020 M1 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the 14- and 16-inch 2021 M1 MacBook Pros from Apple’s Self Service Repair Store.Read Article >
This expands on the repair program Apple launched earlier this year, which initially included parts for the iPhone 12 and 13, such as the display, battery, and camera. While the program is currently only available in the US, Apple plans on bringing it to Europe next.
Aug 11, 2022
Epson gained some scrutiny on Twitter in recent weeks after the company disabled a printer that was otherwise working fine, leading to accusations of planned obsolescence. Epson knows its printers will stop working without simple maintenance at a predictable point in the future, and it knows that it won’t be cost-effective for many owners to send their home printers in for service. So why not build them to be user serviceable in the first place?Read Article >
The inciting post from @marktavern mentions that his wife was unable to use her “very expensive Epson printer” after an end-of-service error message appeared.
Aug 2, 2022
Samsung and Fixit have launched their repair program that lets Galaxy S20, S21, and Tab S7 Plus owners buy replacement parts for their devices and access guides on how to do DIY fixes. The program still has most of the caveats that my colleague Umar Shakir pointed out when it was announced in March — it’s not launching with parts for Samsung’s latest flagship devices and there’s a limited number of repairs you can do — but it’s good to see that at least some Galaxy owners will now be able to do their own repairs at home. Samsung also says it’s planning to expand the devices and types of repairs that are covered in the future.Read Article >
You’ll be able to buy the parts and tools for screen, back glass, and charging port replacements through iFixit as well as at Samsung retail and service locations, according to Samsung’s news post on Tuesday. If you buy a display replacement kit, you’ll also get a return shipping label to send the old parts back for recycling.
Jul 8, 2022
My Weber grill came with a warning: “The use and/or installation of parts on your WEBER product that are not genuine WEBER parts will void this Warranty.”Read Article >
That’s not cool. In fact, it’s been illegal since 1975 — and soon, Weber won’t be doing it anymore. According to a new settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Weber Stephen Products will not only have to strike phrases like that from its warranty terms within 90 days, but it’ll have to proactively, clearly, and conspicuously tell customers via mail, email, websites, and apps that the exact opposite is true.
Jun 29, 2022
In April, Google announced plans to join the expanding list of tech companies that work with iFixit. The repair mavens distribute parts and tools for people interested in performing DIY electronics repairs, and starting today, iFixit’s store offers genuine Google parts for a number of Pixel phones.Read Article >
You can order what you need to repair everything from the Pixel 2 to the latest Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, as well as the tools to install them and step-by-step guides to walk you through the process. (Aftermarket parts are also available if you’re looking to fix an OG Pixel or Nexus device.)
Jun 23, 2022
The US Federal Trade Commission has ordered Harley-Davidson and generator company MWE Investments to stop voiding customer warranties over repairs, marking a new step in the FTC’s fight over right-to-repair issues.Read Article >
The order covers Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles and Westinghouse outdoor generators and related equipment, which is manufactured by MWE. Both companies must remove illegal terms in their warranties that discouraged customers from using third-party parts and repair services, and the warranties must inform consumers that they can make third-party repairs without affecting their coverage. They also have to proactively inform buyers of their rights and order officially authorized dealers to avoid deceiving customers about the warranty or promoting official parts over third-party ones.
Jun 6, 2022
iFixit regularly performs dissections of the latest Apple gadgets, but this time, the repair resource site pitted its tools against other tools by taking apart Apple’s new iPhone self-service repair kit (via iMore). The take-apart process on Apple’s repair tools was documented and posted on iFixit’s YouTube channel, giving an inside look at the display press, battery press, and heated display removal contraptions.Read Article >
The video starts off with a take-apart of the display press, which has a really smoothly operating handle that the iFixit host was most fond of, describing it as a “swan takes flight every time it glides up.” The handle is smooth because it uses ball bearings that move on a circulating track like a conveyor belt as the press moves up and down. It also houses an easily removable AA-sized Lithium battery that is held in a C-sized shell, powering a small control board that activates the countdown timer screen.
Jun 3, 2022
The New York state legislature has passed the United States’ first “right to repair” bill covering electronics. Called the Fair Repair Act, the measure would require all manufacturers who sell “digital electronic products” within state borders to make tools, parts, and instructions for repair available to both consumers and independent shops.Read Article >
Having passed the legislature, it is awaiting signature by Governor Kathy Hochul, who is expected to support the measure. The measure will take effect one year after it passes into law.
May 21, 2022
Apple must be joking.Read Article >
That’s how I felt again and again as I jumped through hoop after ridiculous hoop to replace the battery in my iPhone Mini. Part of that was the repair process — mostly, it was how difficult Apple makes it to even get there.
May 9, 2022
Last fall, Ford began parading around a fully electric 1978 F-100 pickup truck that could accelerate 0–60 mph in around three seconds. The company brought it to YouTubers, automotive trade shows, Jay Leno, and even us. And we all agreed: we want this truck in our own garages.Read Article >
But for Ford, this car was far more than a pretty old new truck — it was a way to show off its new electric crate motor, the M-9000-MACHE, or the same electric motor that is in Ford’s all-electric Mustang Mach-E GT.
Apple is now selling replacement iPhone parts directly to customers, allowing them to repair their own devices rather than paying a professional. But if you were expecting a DIY repair to be a way of saving money, then you might be a little disappointed. Apple’s pricing for some of the most common replacement parts is very similar to what it’ll charge you to do the repairs at an Apple Store, even when you’re the one delicately taking your phone apart to swap out a broken part. Only once you factor in the credit you get for sending in a replaced part do you stand to see a more significant saving.Read Article >
Take battery replacements. Apple is charging $69 for a Battery & Screw Kit for iPhone 12 or 13 models and $49 for the same kit for the third-generation iPhone SE. But look at Apple’s site, and an out-of-warranty battery replacement costs exactly the same: $69 for the iPhone 12 or 13 and $49 for the iPhone SE. Apple’s press release says it’s selling these parts at the “same price” as what it charges its network of repair partners.
Apple is launching its DIY phone repair service in the US today, making spare parts available for the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and third-generation iPhone SE. When the company announced its “Self Service Repair” initiative last year, Apple said it planned to sell over 200 “individual parts and tools” to customers. They’re only available in the US for now, but Apple plans to expand the program to other countries as well as additional devices, like Macs equipped with M1 chips, later this year.Read Article >
Parts are available through Apple’s Self Service Repair Store. Tool rental kits will also be available to rent for seven days at a cost of $49 for customers who don’t want to buy tools outright, the company said in its press release.