Introducing Answers: A Collaborative Repair Community

November 3, 2009 Answers, Site News — Kyle Wiens

I am proud to announce iFixit Answers, a collaborative repair community of people helping people make devices work longer. We are launching the private beta today, but we will be inviting more people throughout the testing period. To get an invite, add your name to our list (we’ll be sending out invites to people on the list as we have room) or, if you want to be bumped to the front of the list, write a teardown!

The world has a problem with rapidly consuming devices and tossing them aside, ignoring long-term environmental impact. With your help, we are going to change that. I’m confident that we can change our culture of ephemeral ownership.

Fixing a Mac, the iFixit way

iFixit has helped hundreds of thousands of people fix Apple hardware. Just last month we shared our repair knowledge with over a million people in 175 different countries. Our internet-scale troubleshooting and repair documentation has made electronics repair accessible to people all over the world. In this new and exciting time, you can leverage your knowledge about hardware to make a difference not just to people next door, but to communities halfway around the world.

Answers is a natural progression from our successful forums. The community will have complete control over the content on Answers, and the system will be collaboratively managed by you, and other people like you. Every question and answer can be voted on by anyone and edited by members of the community.

As we were designing Answers, we had four guiding imperatives:

  1. It’s important that posts get more useful over time. It’s not uncommon for a traditional repair forum response to become the canonical source for an answer to a problem, only to get outdated and stagnant as technology changes.
  2. It’s important that we recognize expertise. It matters if the author of an answer is a professional technician, or has helped 200 people fix their problems.
  3. It’s important to make helping people fun. There’s a rush that comes from helping someone solve a tricky problem, being recognized by people for the research you put into a question before asking it, or testing your hardware diagnosis mettle against others.
  4. And most important, we need to close the feedback loop between the people answering questions and those asking them. Repairing things is uniquely tangible — when you use a solution proposed by someone, you know for a fact whether or not it worked. Finding out that the answer you gave someone actually fixed their problem is one of the greatest feelings in the world.


  1. Howdy,

    I fixed cameras for 25 years, then moved to a small town, intending to do independent repair. I was stopped in my tracks when I realized the extent I depended on my shop’s junker collection.

    Although knowledge and skill are vital and necessary to fix stuff, you’re out on a limb if you don’t have dead units to look at, pull from. Each junker is a (virtually) complete parts inventory, wiring diagram, assembly chart.

    If repair is going to flourish, I recommend investigating the idea of collecting data on who is collecting what equipment, and facilitate an exchange system.


    Comment by Kent Tenney — November 3, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Richard Lai, Armin Talić,, Kyle Wiens, Nat Welch and others. Nat Welch said: Oh goodness. The cats out of the bag. […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Introducing Answers: A Collaborative Repair Community « iFixit Blog -- — November 4, 2009 @ 7:01 am

  3. That’s a good point, Kent. It’s something that we’re definitely considering. But first-thing’s-first: we need to get more people acting like you and considering to fix their stuff.

    Comment by kyle — November 4, 2009 @ 9:47 am

  4. Excellent idea ! Arnaud from France.

    Comment by harnelbe — November 4, 2009 @ 10:04 am

  5. […] love making teardowns, but we’re preoccupied at the moment with trying to change the world and just don’t have any spare time!  We’re turning our preoccupation to your benefit: […]

    Pingback by Wanted: Motorola Droid Internals « iFixit Blog — November 4, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  6. This is a great venue for companies like mine who do repairs for people who try and wind up in over their heads in a repair. I also am a source for recycling Apple products as I see a lot of people just throw out say an older iPod and just buy a new one. I have recycled over 5000 iPods to date and will eventually use the leftovers for some art projects. I actually took apart a new iPod the day after they came out, that’s when I founded iPodfixit (you guys had already acquired ifixit LOL) so good to see a face with the company and I’ll be adding my 2 cents here and there.


    Comment by Dan — November 4, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  7. Welcome to the community, Dan! You are doing a wonderful thing fixing that many iPods. We strongly encourage repair companies to participate in Answers. It’s a great way for you to show off your knowledge and build your company’s reputation.

    Comment by kyle — November 4, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  8. Hi, My thing is to buy old macs and refurbish them to donate to kids who need but can’t afford computers. I started with Wallstreets then moved to Lombards and Pismos but am finding the supply of these shrinking so am moving to early G3 iBooks. I started with PC’s but operating software got so expensive I switched to Mac. I always make sure I give the software with the unit–don’t want to start them out as pirates. Even Mac operating systems are becoming a problem because of the need for the kids to have access to a modern browser so I may be going to Linux soon. Ralph

    Comment by Ralph Myrick — November 4, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

  9. […] stellt “Answers” vor iFixit hat eine neue Community mit dem Namen “Answers” vorgestellt. Anwers ist eine “Collaborative Repair Community”, also eine Community zum […]

    Pingback by Notizen vom 5. November 2009 — November 5, 2009 @ 1:11 am

  10. Creating a virtual community of people that repair their own stuff could generate a lot of answers and resources over time. It will be very important to create a way to effectively organize and index this material so that answers and suggestions can be easily found even by casual folks that are looking to repair their electronic products.

    You may also want to consider finding resources and tools that could be useful and making mutual links with the companies and organizations that are offering these items.

    Comment by Tom Coughlin — November 5, 2009 @ 3:25 am

  11. ”’Is there or ”will there be” a way to search or create a FAQ or sticky?”’Especially for what to do/not to do about liquid spills (an all to common problem)?

    Seems to me many people who use electronics have no clue about what happens when you mix lisquids and current, many think that “letting it dry for an hour or two” is sufficient time to wait to “see if they did any real damage”.


    Comment by Machead — November 5, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  12. @Machead: Yes, absolutely. Every question can have up to five tags, and I expect that liquid damage will be one of the more popular tags. You can browse each tag across devices or within a specific device. The system also works quite well to create FAQs, and we’ll be working hard to prevent duplicate questions and point people at the already existing solutions first.

    Comment by kyle — November 5, 2009 @ 11:53 am

  13. Like the site feature very much. Great resource before; now even better! Thanks.

    Comment by Danno — November 5, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

  14. well, I am excited to say that i have taken repair photos of most of my macs and am ready to opst them when answers is ready!

    Comment by Chris Green — November 13, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

  15. There is a power issue caused by a faulty logic board. There for the hard drive was removed. In order to fix the logic board the price quote was from $700-800. The model of this computer is an imac early 2006 addition with a 20inch screen.
    The Sn # is sros-13697

    Comment by Kate Connell — November 17, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  16. I’ve got iFixit’s tools etc but have yet to get my Gen 3 ipod open. Any better ways to open one than in iFixit’s instructions?

    Is this question too early?

    Comment by Bob Berman — November 18, 2009 @ 2:08 am

  17. I’ve got a stockpile of used Mac hardware that I’m looking to unload. Almost all of it works and is in good shape, very little of it dead but I just don’t have the time to list everything one at a time on Craigslist or eBay. My stockpile ranges from Mac II, Performa, PowerMac, G3, G4 etc. If anyone is seriously interested in a blanket offer for all the stuff, let me know and I’ll send a list. It’s a perfect starting point for a tear-down repair depot…

    Comment by Pete Nelson — November 18, 2009 @ 10:36 am

  18. ,..] is another great source of information on this issue,..]

    Comment by Trackback - Cheap Internation Call >> How to make cheap international call — November 19, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  19. […] New Launches, gadgets Author: admin has just announced a beta version of iFixIt Answers, which is a collaborative repair community for gadgets. It may be the answer to all your gadgets […]

    Pingback by iFixIt Announces Answers: Do It Yourself | Take A Plunge — November 24, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

  20. Very Good site, thank yo mister, it’s help’s me!

    Comment by Bitdouffimi — June 22, 2010 @ 6:51 am


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