Google Announces Pixel Phone Repair Kits with iFixit Partnership
Samsung recently announced that it would partner with iFixit to make it easier to repair your own phone, and now Google is following suit. The Android maker says its Pixel phones will have their own iFixit repair kits soon. It’s going a little further than Samsung, too, offering kits for almost all of its Pixel phones, including the latest Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Today’s smartphones are much harder to repair than devices just a few generations ago. Whereas one of the early Nexus phones had an easily separated plastic body and a removable battery, phones like the Pixel (or any other modern Android device) are basically metal spaghetti when you open them up. Even something as simple as swapping the battery, which will wear out long before the rest of the hardware, requires special tools and ample patience.
Like Samsung, Google says its repair kits will be available later this year. You’ll get all the official components, instructions, and the tools you need to safely tinker with your smartphone. To start, Google and iFixit will offer batteries, displays, and camera modules for all Pixel phones from the Pixel 2 through the 6 and 6 Pro. Google says it will also ensure future Pixels also have parts available. Considering Google doesn’t even produce software updates for the Pixel 2 and 3, the availability of repair kits is a pleasant surprise. Samsung, meanwhile, won’t offer iFixit kits for the latest S22 family, but it does have a few more components, like the charging port.
Google notes that people who are not comfortable opening their own phone should continue to go to its repair partners at uBreakiFix in the US, although I’ve long seen reports that these shops run out of components for Google phones just a year or two after release. That’s right around the time things start breaking, in my experience. In addition, the repair kits will only be sold in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and EU countries in which the Pixel is available.
The tide seems to have turned for the right-to-repair movement in recent years. Apple has long been staunchly opposed to user repairs, even going so far as to change its screws to make phones harder to open. Its devices can also make a fuss if they detect non-authentic parts installed. Late last year, it too announced a self-repair service with OEM parts and tools.
Motorola was actually ahead of the curve here, having partnered with iFixit to offer repair kits several years ago. However, it has not kept up with that commitment, and there are no kits available for the company’s newer phones. We can only hope that Google and other device makers stick to their guns better because there’s no reason you should have to toss a perfectly good phone just because repairs are too much of a pain. Although, it will never be easy.