Turn Your Broken Device Into a Repair Manual

February 29, 2012 Activism, Hardware, Site News — Miro

Our goal at iFixit is simple: to provide manuals for how to fix every device in the world. Why? We believe that if you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.

Yet, even if our in-house team of writers spent the next hundred years creating repair manuals for devices, we’d only hit the tip of the iceberg. There are so many electronics, vehicles, and appliances out there that it’s not conceivable for the iFixit team to write repair manuals for everything. That’s why we’ve enlisted some help from technical writing students around the country. It’s a triple-win: college students practice and hone their technical writing skills, people from around the world gain a comprehensive set of repair guides, and more devices are kept out of the landfills.

But we’re encountering a new problem: as the program grows, the demand for new devices for students is also exponentially increasing. We have been fortunate to receive gracious donations from organizations such as Green CitizenReCellular, and ERI. However, we still need more devices.


A student taking off the LCD from a Samsung SGH-X495 cell phone.

Device donations

We’ll welcome with open arms any cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, or tablets you’d be willing to part with. Just send us your old electronic device, and we’ll have a team of students create repair guides for it. We kindly ask that the device doesn’t already have guides (a quick search on our site can easily confirm this), that it’s intact, and manufactured after 2005. In fact, we set up a top-50 wish list for our most-requested devices. The devices don’t have to be functional, and they don’t have to be in perfect shape.

To sweeten the deal, anyone who sends us a device will receive a $5 off iFixit coupon. However, if the device is on the top-50 wish list, you’ll receive a $20 off coupon instead! We understand that these are high-value devices, and we hope our humble coupon code will be a token of our gratitude.

A student removing the back cover from a Game Boy Advance.

So how can I help?

Grab your device and some packing materials; fill out this form and get the device packed up. We’ll email you a packing slip that you can put on the package. Once we receive the device, we’ll put it in our to-be-done queue, and email you a coupon code for your efforts!

Once your device is used for guides, we’ll either keep it for future guide improvements (in case changes need to be made) or properly e-recycle it on our own dime. You’ll never have to worry about sending it to a landfill, and we’ll never sell the device to anyone for profit. That’s our promise for your generous contribution.

Announcing iFixit.org: The People Who Are Fixing the World

January 19, 2012 Activism, Repair Stories, Site News — Kyle Wiens

iFixit has been helping people fix their stuff since 2003, with free, easy-to-use, step-by-step repair guides for all sorts of hardware—from electronics to automobiles. We believe in taking control of the devices you own by opening them up and tinkering with their insides. Our vision? A world where everyone has free access to repair manuals for everything. We make it easy, with our guide-creation software, for people to share their repair knowledge with the world.

On this new site, we, the iFixit team, will share the philosophy behind our work, some of the repair stories that we’ve historically been posting on iFixit.com, as well as posts from guests on similar sustainability issues.



January 18, 2012 Activism, Site News — Bob

Many of you are already aware that many of your favorite websites have gone dark or posted censorship warnings today. Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, Imgur, and Craigslist, among a slew of others, are protesting U.S. legislation that would significantly impact the freedom of the internet.

iFixit stands with them.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are pieces of legislation currently under consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, respectively. Both bills lack the correct technical language to do what they intend (you know, actually stop piracy), and instead are vulnerable to overly broad interpretation that could seriously impact the innovation, freedom, and secure operation of the internet.

There are plenty of places where you can get an in-depth analysis of what’s wrong with the bills, so we’ll keep it simple. These are the ways in which SOPA and PIPA would directly impact our operations here at iFixit:

  • Blocking our free, open-source content.
    For censorship purposes, SOPA/PIPA define sites as “domestic” or “foreign” based on their domain name, not their actual base of operations. While iFixit.com is a U.S. domestic domain name and company, we use a Content Distribution Network (CDN) to serve you images and other page content when you view a guide. The CDN finds the geographically-closest server to you so the page loads fast. Based on the loose definition in the bill, some of your guide may be “domestic” and some of it may be “foreign.” Guide images and other content could be inadvertently blocked by blanket domain blacklisting.
  • Teaching repair could be rendered illegal.
    According to the language in the bill, facilitation of criminal violations are enough to get you in trouble. This means that helping users with troublesome DVD region restrictions or tearing down an FBI tracking device could get us in legal hot water. Worse yet, we’ve opened up our site for users to submit and edit their own guides, and we’ve built a community of people who love to help others fix things. All of the work, content, and contributions would be put in jeopardy if the two bills are enacted. Since teaching the world how to do stuff is kind of our bag, this would significantly stifle our mission of teaching the world how to fix everything.

In fact, it’s questionable that iFixit could have even succeeded in a post-SOPA world. We started in a dorm room in 2003 by writing repair manuals for electronics made by a certain big Silicon Valley company because they weren’t publicly available. If we’d chosen a hip “Web 2.0” domain like iFix.it (FYI, not us!), our site would be considered foreign even though it hails from the U.S. If a certain big Silicon Valley company didn’t like what we were up to, they could have filed a complaint and had our website blocked in the U.S. Game over.

Please take the time to call or write your representatives and let them know how you feel about SOPA and PIPA. It’s difficult for them to make the best decisions for us if they don’t know how we feel, so take a step back from the keyboard (Reddit’s down anyway), pick up your phone, and SPEAK UP!