Ah, darn. Your phone, laptop, or tablet is on the fritz. What now?
Depending on which company made it, you might be able to avoid the hassle of dropping it off and paying for repairs. That is, if you’re brave enough to bust that device open and fix it yourself. Over the past couple of years, some tech companies have made it easier to do self-repairs on certain devices. Microsoft, Samsung, Google, and others come to mind.
Why are these companies doing this? Years of persistence by the “Right to Repair” movement, mostly. Right to Repair activists have pushed laws over the years requiring tech companies to offer resources for self-repair, winning legal victories in places like New York in 2021. Sure, repairing your own devices might be fun in and of itself, but it’s also good for the planet; billions of electronics are simply thrown away each year, contributing to massive amounts of e-waste. A repaired device is a device not thrown away.
If you’re in need of a quick fix for your device, there’s a chance you may be able to buy authentic repair parts and find easy online instructions to make it happen. Here are how some of the biggest tech companies (as well as one nifty startup) handle self-repairs.
Credit: Molly Flores/Mashable
Microsoft was one of the first big companies to allow self-repair of its devices, back in late 2021. At the time of writing, this exclusively applies to Microsoft’s Surface line of tablets and laptops, and only certain models.
Thankfully, there’s an easy way to find out if your device is eligible for self-repair. Microsoft has a website with downloadable PDF service guides for every eligible device. These include, but are not limited to:
Surface 2 and 3
Surface Laptops 3, 4, and 5
Surface Pro 7+, 8, 9, and X
As for where to get parts, the online device repair hub iFixit is going to be your best friend, be it for Microsoft or any of the other companies on this list. Screens, batteries, kickstands, and more components for various Surface devices are available via iFixit.
Credit: Zlata Ivleva/Mashable
Last summer, Samsung launched its official self-repair partnership with iFixit. There’s a page on iFixit’s site dedicated solely to this partnership, offering easy access to repair tools and guides for the small handful of supported devices.
And by small, I mean small. At the time of writing, iFixit only supplies parts for the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S21 smartphone lines, as well as the Galaxy Tab S7+. You can buy replacement screens, batteries, and charging ports for these devices, but only these devices. If your Galaxy S22 Ultra breaks, you’re out of luck, for now.
Credit: THOMAS URBAIN/AFP via Getty Images
Google Pixel fans are going to love this.
Google also partnered with iFixit last year to provide repair tools, parts, and information for Pixel phones. Unlike Samsung, however, there doesn’t appear to be any major holes in the program. Every Pixel phone up through the excellent Pixel 7 Pro (including the budget Pixel A-series models) looks to be supported with genuine replacement parts from Google. These include replacement screens and batteries.
Oh, and iFixit has helpful guides for each device, too. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.
Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable
Apple usually prefers to do things its own way, and that’s no different when it comes to self-repairs.
Rather than working with iFixit like everyone else, Apple has its own self-repair website with tools, parts, and manuals for your perusal. Right now, the list of supported devices is pretty limited. You can order parts for each variant of the iPhone 12 and 13, as well as the latest iPhone SE, but not for any version of the iPhone 14 just yet.
The same goes for desktops and laptops. You can order parts for the 2020 and 2021 models of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, but not the newer M2 MacBook Air. For desktops, your options are limited to the 2021 iMac, the 2020 M1 Mac mini, and the 2022 Mac Studio.
Still, it’s better than nothing.
Credit: Molly Flores/Mashable
This last one isn’t a big name brand like the others, but it’s super cool anyway, so it’s on the list.
The Framework Laptop is a laptop that’s designed for laypeople, like you and I, to swap out parts as needed, without requiring a great deal of expertise. It comes with a tool for opening up the laptop, and the individual parts inside are labeled with QR codes that link to repair manuals. There are even four slots on the laptop where you can put in whatever ports you want.
Need four USB-C ports? Just order four of them from the Framework store and you’ve got that. The same goes for replacing basically any part of the device, from the battery to the motherboard. Don’t get me wrong, the repair instructions still look pretty daunting if you have zero experience with self-repairing devices, but you probably won’t find anything more easily repairable on the market.