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.
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.
Apr 9, 2022
When I called up iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens, I figured he’d be celebrating — after years of fighting for right-to-repair, big name companies like Google and Samsung have suddenly agreed to provide spare parts for their phones. Not only that, they signed deals with him to sell those parts through iFixit, alongside the company’s repair guides and tools. So did Valve.Read Article >
But Wiens says he’s not done making deals yet. “There are more coming,” he says, one as soon as a couple of months from now. (No, it’s not Apple.) Motorola was actually the first to sign on nearly four years ago. And if Apple meaningfully joins them in offering spare parts to consumers — like it promised to do by early 2022 — the era of fixing your own phone may have well and truly come.
Apr 8, 2022
Google has become the latest manufacturer to partner with DIY repair specialists iFixit to offer spare parts for its devices, the search giant announced today. It’s a deal that should make it far easier for the average customer to get parts to repair their own Pixel smartphone if it breaks. Parts like batteries, displays, and cameras will be available to purchase in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and other European countries where the phones are sold. Parts will be available to purchase “later this year,” Google says.Read Article >
Spare parts will be available for an impressive range of Pixel phones, including the latest Pixel 6 devices and going all the way back to 2017’s Pixel 2. That means parts should be available for the kinds of aging phones people might actually want to repair this year. In contrast, Samsung’s equivalent partnership with iFixit will, at launch, only cover select devices dating back to the 2020 Galaxy S20 (though it says it plans to expand the program over time).
Apr 6, 2022
Apple reportedly will soon provide a new Face ID repair option for iPhone X that doesn’t involve replacing the whole device (via MacRumors). The option comes after Apple’s recent shift to soon provide a TrueDepth Camera service option that can fix the face unlock feature of the 2018 iPhone XS and newer models but didn’t previously include the 2017 iPhone X.Read Article >
Repairing just the Face ID component can be difficult since it’s a fairly complex system involving four components: a flood illuminator (a part of the display assembly, more on that later), dot projector, “TrueDepth” front camera, and IR camera. If any of these components malfunction, you could lose the face unlock feature and have to resort to entering a password.
Mar 31, 2022
Today, Samsung announced a new self-repair program that will give Galaxy customers access to parts, tools, and guides to repair their own devices. The program is in collaboration with popular repair guides and parts website iFixit, which has worked with manufacturers such as Motorola and Steam on similar ventures. The Galaxy S20 and S21 series phones and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus are first in line for the spare parts — but not Samsung’s latest S22 family of phones.Read Article >
“We are working with Samsung to improve their repair guide and DIY parts offerings,” iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens tells The Verge. The new program follows Apple’s recent change of heart in announcing a self-service program and Microsoft’s work with iFixit to manufacture Surface tools. “It is clear that manufacturers are recognizing that they need to embrace repair,” Wiens says.
Mar 8, 2022
Laptops and smartphones made by Apple, Microsoft, and Google are considerably less repair-friendly than those made by competitors Asus, Dell, and Motorola, according to a new report. These findings may be unsurprising to people who like to fix gadgets, but the data to back them up comes from an unusual source: the companies themselves.Read Article >
The report, released today by the US Public Research Interest Group’s Education Fund, draws on data companies are now releasing in France to comply with the government’s world-first “repairability index” law, which went into effect last year. The law requires manufacturers of certain electronic devices, including cell phones and laptops, to score each of their products based on how easily repairable it is and make that score, along with the data that went into it, available to consumers at point-of-sale.
Feb 4, 2022
Google announced today via its Google for Education blog that it's starting a repairability program to help schools fix Chromebooks in-house, and turn it into a valuable training opportunity for students looking into the IT field.Read Article >
Google says 50 million students and teachers are using Chromebooks while raising bold claims of the sustainability these laptops bring to the table via efficiency and extra durability. A Google-commissioned study cited on the page says its manufacturer partners build hardware that uses 46 percent less energy than competing products.
Nov 19, 2021
Apple’s newly announced Self Service Repair program, set to launch in early 2022, will finally provide individual customers access to genuine Apple OEM parts and manuals for DIY iPhone (and eventually Mac) repairs. Although this program has limitations, and there are many lingering questions about how it will be implemented, it is an opportunity for Apple to improve relationships with its customers by making repairs easier. If Apple prices the parts right, the program could also be a way for motivated customers to save money on repairs by going DIY while allowing independent repair shops to remain competitive.Read Article >
Until now, access to factory OEM parts for iPhones and Macs has been restricted to several Apple-blessed places, including Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP), Apple Stores, and Apple Independent Repair Providers (IRP), a program that allows independent shops to gain access to genuine Apple parts, tools, and training guides for common out-of-warranty Mac and iPhone repairs. Apple’s new self-service program — just like the IRP program — is focused only on screen, battery, and camera repairs when it comes to iPhones.
Nov 17, 2021
Wednesday morning, Apple announced that the company will soon make parts and repair manuals available to the general public, reversing years of restrictive repair policies. The new policy represents a seismic shift for a company that has fought independent repair for years by restricting access to parts, manuals, and diagnostic tools, designing products that are difficult to fix, and lobbying against laws that would enshrine the right to repair.Read Article >
But Apple didn’t change its policy out of the goodness of its heart. The announcement follows months of growing pressure from repair activists and regulators — and its timing seems deliberate, considering a shareholder resolution environmental advocates filed with the company in September asking Apple to re-evaluate its stance on independent repair. Wednesday is a key deadline in the fight over the resolution, with advocates poised to bring the issue to the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve.
Nov 17, 2021
Apple is opening up iPhones and Macs to DIY repairs. The company plans to start selling parts and tools and offering instructions on how to repair Apple products at home, without having to bring them into a store or a third-party repair shop. Apple plans to start with the iPhone 12 and 13, followed by Macs with M1 chips. You’ll be able to replace the iPhone’s display, battery, and camera using parts from Apple at first, with other options coming later.Read Article >
This is a huge shift from Apple, which has historically been resistant to the right-to-repair movement and from any repairs happening outside of its own stores. Even this week, Apple was walking back software that prevented Face ID from working if customers replaced their own screen.
Oct 27, 2021
The US Copyright Office is expanding a legal shield for fixing digital devices, including cars and medical devices. This morning, the office submitted new exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bars breaking software copy protection. The resulting rules include a revamped section on device repair, reflecting renewed government pressure around “right to repair” issues.Read Article >
The Register of Copyrights recommends Section 1201 “anti-circumvention” exemptions every three years, a process that has offered legal protections for everything from unlocking cellphones to ripping DVD clips for classroom use. In addition to renewing these and several other exemptions, this latest rulemaking adopts repair-related proposals from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, iFixit, and other organizations. The Librarian of Congress adopted the recommendations in a final rule that will take effect tomorrow.