Two years ago, iFixIt was best known for providing useful self-repair guides and shaming companies for making their products deliberately hard to fix. Indeed, the laptop I’m writing this on now has a repairability score of 0/10 — probably even lower for mine, as I made the bold decision to cover it in wood to hide a curry stain.
But I digress. This bad press — along with the growing right-to-repair movement in the US — has changed how companies build their products, and some are actively cooperating with iFixIt to provide genuine parts and guides so people can fix their own stuff. Microsoft — the company with that 0/10 repair score — is amongst them, alongside HTC and Valve, and now Google has joined the party, providing bits and pieces to repair six generations of Pixel phones.
(Yes, the tweet says Pixel 2 onwards, but the site has some original Pixel parts. It even has some Nexus 4, 5, 5X, 6 and 6P spares if you’re feeling especially retro.)
The parts range from US$2.99 (~NZ$4.80) battery spacers and graphite tape up to US$192.99 (~NZ$309.95) replacement digitizer screens. The screen and camera repair kits come with all the tools you need to crack them open as well, so you won’t be looking through your draws wondering if a pizza cutter could do the job in a pinch.
Those prices don’t account for shipping, of course, and there’s good news and bad news on that score. The good news: iFixIt will ship to New Zealand! The bad news: I tried a dummy address and shipping hit NZ$74.84 on a NZ$7.99 rear panel. I’d be inclined just to keep it cracked, personally.
Still, whether or not this is directly good for readers of TheBit or not, the move to repairability is undeniably a good thing, given the finite number of planets humans reside on and the serious need to reduce carbon emissions to keep it that way.
And while you can question the seriousness that some major players are treating repairability with (Apple’s much hyped solution doesn’t seem to be designed with ease of repairs in mind), at least sustainability is something that companies feel the need to acknowledge nowadays.