Edition 119, May 2022

Manufacturers are Joining the Fight for Repair

By Sam Goldheart, iFixit

We have long said that repairability is good for the planet, good for consumers, and good for business. And it’s always been true. Repair reduces e-waste and makes recycling easier. You may have experienced the empowerment and budget-friendliness of repair yourself. But do repairable products make sense for manufacturers, too? Yes.

Truth is, repair really is universal. It helps companies fix manufacturing problems more quickly, allows them to refurbish and resell products, and builds brand loyalty—ensuring repeat customers. A survey commissioned by Samsung found that 80% of French consumers would give up their favorite brand for a more repairable product. And despite years opposing the Right to Repair, these companies are finally starting to come around to the idea. How do we know? They’ve been asking for our help, and we’ve been happy to do what we can—from running repairability workshops for designers to selling repair parts.

Consumer electronics leaders didn’t get where they are by ignoring trends. On the contrary, they are expert cool hunters and are  usually right on top of big paradigm shifts. The Right to Repair has become a swell worth noticing. With bipartisan US bills and international regulations gaining steam, presidential endorsement, and even internal calls to action, these companies need to move fast to catch this wave before it crests.

Samsung and Apple are pledging to make parts and tools available to the public. Valve is launching the Steam Deck with spare parts in mind. And in a turn from their legacy of glue, Microsoft has been redesigning products to be more repairable. This makes good business sense, even if some of these “features” will soon be legally required—they’re just getting ahead on their homework.

The Right to Repair consists of three main tenets: 1) codifying the foundational right to open, fix, and alter a device, 2) requiring that repair documentation be publicly available, and 3) requiring the sale of spare parts and repair tools. When repair legislation happens, manufacturers will be required to create systems to maintain, sell, and ship parts and tools, as well as clear layperson-readable instructions. We’ve got some experience with … all these things.

After nearly two decades, thousands of guides, and millions of hours of research—and contributions from tens of thousands of fixers around the world—iFixit has become the foremost resource for repair information and product life extension. We operate internationally and have a deep knowledge of what is needed for electronics repair—know-how, trustworthy parts, purpose-built tools, and repairable designs. Our mission is to make every person able to repair every thing. And it’s great to have some new allies for this fight.

Our earliest allies might worry about iFixit’s impartiality. Can we stay committed to our calls for repairability while joining forces with the manufacturers we’ve been fighting for decades? We think so. iFixit is lending our experience to those late to the party, but we are not here to hand out stamps of approval. Implementing the Right to Repair will require not just forward-thinking legislators, international standards makers, and lawyers, but also voters and fixers like you—and yes, manufacturers willing to make changes. We will continue to score device repairability and take manufacturers to task for unrepairable designs. We’ve pledged to remain objective—we have processes in place to ensure it—and our partnerships have transparency in mind. iFixit will always remain iFixit—April Fools jokes aside. We want you to be part of the fight, and we need to maintain your trust to do so.

We’re really excited about existing collaborations and even more excited about some of the brain-meltingly cool stuff we’re about to announce—think you can guess? If you’ve got ideas for new allies, let us know! We can’t do this without you, and we can’t do it without folks like Samsung listening—and acting. It’s dangerous to go alone, and we’re in this together.
Let’s go fix the world.

Originally published at: https://www.ifixit.com/News/58484/manufacturers-are-joining-the-fight-for-repair


Sam Goldheart
I started at iFixit way back in March 2013 as a Technical Writer, I eventually ended up leading the Tech Writing team. As Lead Teardown Engineer I traveled the world to help iFixit be the first to tear down new products like the Xbox One, the first “Plus” iPhone, and the first Apple Watch. I also spent time as a Repairability Assessor, grading products for Greenpeace and electronics manufacturers. As a Blog Writer I specialized in channeling frustration at the state of repair into punchy editorial pieces. These days I’m a full-time mom, so I tend to do more advisory work and special projects, while still helping out on teardowns and editorial content.