Creating a Repair Guide

So you want to write a repair guide on iFixit? That's great! We're trying to teach the world how to fix every thing, and we absolutely need your help. We'll try to keep this short, and get you on your way to documenting your first repair ASAP.

You've probably found yourself here while trying to fix something, and, sadly, not finding a guide on iFixit. Well, these guides are all written by people, just like you. So saddle up and get your camera, and get ready to help out the next person with a broken Flimflamulator 2300.

Creating a Guide ¶ 

Go here and start your new guide. You can access this page from the drop-down under your name in the top right of any iFixit page, once you're logged in. After you've selected that you're making a guide, type in the name of your device. If your device already exists in the autocomplete drop-down, just click on it when you see it. Don't modify the name after you've clicked on it, as that will separate your new content from any existing work other users may have done. Hit "Next" to move on to...

The Intro Page ¶ 

  • The top of the page will ask you to Choose a guide type. Select the verb that best describes it. If you're not sure, choose 'Replacement'."
  • If it is not already filled in, put the name of your device in the Name your device field. Make sure your spelling and capitalization are correct. If your device page exists, then your device should show up in a drop-down menu.
  • Type in the hardware component that you are replacing in this guide in the next field.
  • More than 90% of repair guides will not need a custom title. Leave the auto-generated title alone, unless it doesn't convey what the guide is doing. Remember, even though you are removing parts, the end goal is usually to install new ones.
  • Include a short summary for your repair guide. You can even be funny if you want. A perfectly acceptable summary, for instance, would be "Replace your dying battery to bring the power back to your iPod." The summary is used in search results, so keep it brief (one or two sentences), and include any terms or phrases that your readers would be likely to search for.
  • Write a short introductory paragraph for the repair that you are performing in the Introduction field. This section is hidden under the "Show More" break.
  • Once you click "Save," you will be taken to the edit page for the first step of your repair guide.

The Step Page ¶ 

Fill in your pictures and text, and document your repair!

Treat each step as a single process, like removing a panel or disconnecting a few connectors from a circuit board. Treat each bullet as a single action, like flipping a connector or prying along a seam.

Keyboard shortcuts available while editing a Guide step:

  • All shortcuts can use 'ctrl' or 'alt' interchangeably.
  • escape: render current
  • ctrl+n: render current, move to next
  • ctrl+p: render current, move to previous
  • ctrl+shift+n: render current, insert and move to new line below
  • ctrl+shift+p: render current, insert and move to new line above
  • tab: indent current
  • shift + tab: dedent current
  • ctrl+d: delete current
  • hit 'enter' to move to the next line, or create a new line if you're at the bottom.
  • if you hit enter while on an unmodified, fresh line, it'll be removed.
  • So, if you're on the last line, you can hit enter twice to stop editing.
  • shift-enter will behave like enter, but in reverse (going up the list of lines).

The Details Page ¶ 

On our guides you will see a lot of information that doesn't yet appear on your repair guide. Some of these include prerequisite guides, difficulty level, and tools. Within the edit page, there is a tab that says "Details." Clicking this will bring you to a new page with many important fields.

  • Keep track of how long your repair takes. This should be the time from when you touch your screwdriver to the device until the last component is removed.
  • Tell users how difficult your repair was. When you open the drop-down menu, there will be text to the right that gives an explanation of what each difficulty level includes. Most PC laptops, for example, would have a "Very Easy" guide to remove the battery, whereas replacing the battery in an iPod Touch would be "Very Difficult."
  • Most repairs are impossible without tools. List any tool that you used in the process of making that guide. Even if a tool is only used once to remove the battery, it must be listed for all guides that use the battery guide as a prerequisite (more on these later!) If the tool you're using doesn't already exist in the database, see How to create new items.
  • Most guides can be concluded with a "To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order" message. If this is not the case (which is a rare occurrence, but it happens), then explain any additional details necessary to reassemble the device.
  • Details is also the place to list prerequisite guides (see next section). Simply start typing the name of the part that is being replaced in a guide you have already made that you want to use as a prerequisite. As long as your guides are for the same device, it should appear in the drop-down menu for you to select. You can drag prerequisites to reorder the list.

Prerequisites (Advanced) ¶ 

If you're making more than one guide for your device, each guide should be a completely independent step-by-step tutorial, showing all the steps to complete a repair, from start to finish. That sounds like a lot of extra work! And it would be, if not for the prerequisite system.

Prerequisites add the steps from existing guides to the beginning of your new guide, so that they show up before any new steps. This allows you to break your guides up to be specific to one component, without recreating or re-uploading a lot of content. For example, in most devices you'll want to remove the battery early in the repair process. Instead of having to create a step explaining how to remove the battery at the beginning of every guide, you can write the battery removal guide once, then select the battery guide as a prerequisite in future guides. Here's a guide for replacing an iPhone 5 battery. The battery removal guide is a prerequisite for the iPhone 5 Volume Controls guide. You can see that before you even get to the volume controls, you must go through the same steps that are found in the battery guide.

Block Image

Click to enlarge image! Compare it to the iPhone 5 guides on our site.

Effective use of prerequisites can be a huge time saver, but there are potential pitfalls. You can only use prerequisites for portions of the disassembly that are sequential. Let's consider an imaginary laptop, where the components can be removed in the following order:

1. Battery

2. RAM

3. Keyboard

4. Hard Drive

4. Optical Drive

4. Display Assembly

Notice that the hard drive, optical drive, and display assembly all share the same number. This means that once you've removed the first three components, you can choose to remove any of the next three. The hard drive is not a prerequisite for the optical drive because you do not have to remove the hard drive to take out the optical drive. This can get tricky to keep track of in your head, so drawing a tree diagram showing the order components are removed from your device may be helpful.

Another thing to watch out for when using prerequisites is prerequisite-only guides. Sometimes you'll end up taking something out of your device that isn't a single component, but rather a subsystem of many other small components, such as a display assembly or motherboard assembly. Prerequisite-only guides are incredibly important to proper guide flow, but having them show up with your other guides may confuse readers. That's why these particular guides will not actually be viewable to anyone except your team and site admins.

Still confused? How about a concrete example of prerequisite-only guides to help you out. Both the iPhone 5 Lightning connector and logic board guides use a "logic board assembly" guide as a prerequisite, but that doesn't show up in the guide list on the iPhone 5 device page. This is to keep users from getting mixed up because there is a "logic board assembly" guide, as well as a "logic board" guide. The logic board assembly includes a number of key components, but by itself isn't of much use to someone trying to fix their iPhone.