iFixit: Championing a world of repairers

A repair culture is beginning to become the norm rather than the exception as more and more people become knowledgeable about living more sustainably. iFixit is a wiki-based site which is empowering a whole new generation of the DIYers.

iFixit is a global community of people helping each other repair things. The online site offers free wiki-based repair manuals for consumer electronics, and troubleshooting technicians.

Anyone can create a repair manual for a device, and anyone can also edit the existing set of manuals to improve them.

The iFixit site, which also sells parts, empowers individuals to share their technical knowledge with the rest of the world while making it easier for the average person to disassemble and repair their electronics.

iFixit’s main business is selling specialised tools and replacement parts specifically for teardowns (taking things apart) and repairs.

iFixit was started in 2003 by Luke Soules and Kyle Wiens in a dorm room at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. On their blog, the friends wrote:  “We started out fixing an old iBook together. There were no instructions on how to do it, so we started the way everyone does, the hard way. We broke some tabs and lost a few screws. But we fixed it!”

The pair then attempted to fix some other laptops, but had trouble finding parts, so they bought a broken computer on eBay to cannibalise parts from – and iFixit was born.

iFixit currently offers over 950,000 solutions in 25,000 free manuals to over 7,400 devices, from a MacBook to a car. The manuals also come in various languages including English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Chinese and Japanese.

iFixit founders Luke Soules and Kyle Wiens add: “You have the right to improve the things you buy. If you want to paint racing stripes on your car, go for it! Ownership means you should be able to open, hack, repair, upgrade, or tie bells on it. Once you’ve paid money for a product, the manufacturer shouldn’t be able to dictate how you use it—it’s yours.

“But that’s exactly what some manufacturers intend to do. It’s common practice to refuse to make parts, tools, and repair information available to consumers and small repair shops. Apple created a special screw specifically to make it hard to repair the iPhone.”

iFixit has become infamous for its teardowns of Apple products, putting the consumer’s right to fix their iPhones, iPads and MacBooks and any other product first before purchasing new.

Apple continues to refuses to sell consumers integrated batteries or other internal repair parts for their products. iFixit currently sell DIY battery install kits, giving consumers all the tools you need to open up and swap your own battery.

iFixit

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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