Phone companies usually want to stop you from repairing your own devices or even going to a third-party repair shop. But Motorola is taking a different approach: it’s partnering with iFixit, the repair guide site famous for its device teardowns, to offer battery and screen replacement kits for a number of its phones.
The kits range from $40 to $200 and include key replacement parts — either a battery or a display and digitizer — along with many of the specialty tools you’ll need to complete the repair, like angled tweezers and screw bits. Each is paired with an online guide that takes you through the steps involved to complete the repair yourself.
iFixit says that Motorola is the “first major smartphone manufacturer ever” to supply official parts for its repair kits. You’ve long been able to buy parts from iFixit to help you repair your own device, but those parts haven’t been sourced directly from the company. That isn’t a problem as long as the parts work, but there’s certainly an added guarantee when they come straight from the source.
Other companies are trying to stop DIY and third-party repairs
It’s great that Motorola is willing to offer these parts through iFixit to help out customers who want to repair devices themselves. But there are a number of caveats here: for one, it would appear that you’ll void your phone’s warranty if you attempt a repair and mess up, despite using official parts. So these kits are for people who want to hang on to a phone for long after Motorola is still willing to service it. (The kits are mostly sold for old phones anyway, so that may not be a problem.)
The kits are also more expensive than comparable kits for the iPhone, for example, quite possibly because of this partnership. For the iPhone 7, a battery replacement kit costs $29 and a screen replacement kit costs $70. For Motorola, battery kits cost $40 and most screen kits sell for $100.
You might save money doing it yourself, but you might also come across a warning like this in one of the online guides: “Injury may result if this procedure is not followed properly.” You’re accepting a certain amount of risk (for your phone and also yourself) by trying to complete a repair on your own.
iFixit’s site lists 17 Motorola repair kits (though not all of them are on sale right away), covering devices including the Moto Z Force, Z Play, Droid Turbo 2, G5, and G4. Ultimately, even if DIY repairs can be a little tricky, it’s great that Motorola is supporting consumers’ ability to repair devices themselves at a time when other companies are trying to lock people out.