Samsung recently announced that it will partner with iFixit to make it easier to repair your own phone, and now Google is following suit. The Android maker says that its Pixel phone will soon have their own iFixit repair kit. It goes a little further than Samsung, offering kits for almost all Pixel phones, including the latest Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Today’s smartphones are much harder to repair than the devices of a few generations ago. Whereas one of the earliest Nexus phones had an easily detachable plastic body and a removable battery, phones like the Pixel (or any other modern Android device) are basically metal spaghetti when you open them. Even something as simple as replacing the battery, which will run out long before the rest of the hardware, requires special equipment and enough patience.
Like Samsung, Google has said that their repair kits will be available later this year. You’ll find all the official tools, instructions, and tools you need to safely tinker with your smartphone. To get started, Google and iFixit will offer battery, display and camera modules for all Pixel phones from Pixel 2 to 6 and 6 Pro. Google says it will ensure that parts of the pixel are also available in the future. Considering Google doesn’t even make software updates for Pixel 2 and 3, the availability of repair kits is a pleasant surprise. Samsung, meanwhile, won’t offer the iFixit kit for the latest S22 family, but it does have a few more features like a charging port.
Google notes that those who do not feel comfortable opening their own phones should continue to visit uBreakiFix’s repair partners in the United States, although I have long seen reports that these stores run out of components for Google phones just a year or two after release. In my experience this is exactly what happens when things start to break down. Also, repair kits will only be sold in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and EU countries where Pixel is available.
The tide seems to have turned for the right-to-repair movement in recent years. Apple has long strongly opposed user repairs, even going so far as to change its screw to open phones. Its devices can make a fuss if it detects non-authentic parts installed. Late last year, it also announced a self-repair service with OEM parts and equipment.
Motorola was actually ahead of the curve here, partnering with iFixit several years ago to offer repair kits. However, it did not live up to that promise, and no kits are available for the company’s new phones. We can only hope that Google and other device makers will stick with their guns better because there is no reason why you should toss a perfectly good phone with too much pain to repair. Although, it will never be easy.