Samsung today announced a new self-repair program that gives Galaxy customers access to parts, tools and manuals to repair their own devices. The program is in partnership with popular repair manuals and parts website iFixit, which has worked with manufacturers such as Motorola and Steam on similar ventures. The Galaxy S20 and S21 series phones and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus come first in line for the spares, but not Samsung’s latest S22 family of phones.
“We’re working with Samsung to improve their repair manual and do-it-yourself parts offerings,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens. The edge† The new program follows Apple’s recent change of heart with the announcement of a self-service program and Microsoft’s work with iFixit to produce Surface tools. “Clearly manufacturers recognize that they need to embrace repair,” Wiens said.
Consumers who use the program will have access to “intuitive, visual, step-by-step repair guides” and the necessary tools, according to the Samsung press release. Wiens says that the manuals for the Galaxy S20 series are already complete and that iFixit is actively writing the manuals for the S21 series and Galaxy Tab S7 Plus.
We asked Samsung if there are any plans to make parts available for newer phones or cheaper ones like the Galaxy A series. A spokesperson replied, “Samsung plans to expand its range of products, parts and self-repair capabilities as the program matures.” But for the devices confirmed at launch, the initial parts list consists of displays, rear window, and charging ports.
The press release makes no mention of battery replacement options, but Wiens said the Samsung displays would have pre-glued batteries. This simplifies the repair process for the Galaxy S20 and S21 devices, as releasing the battery in those models requires large amounts of isopropyl alcohol to dislodge the battery and gentle, heavy force to pull it out.
Aside from the batteries, this self-healing program is another step the company is taking towards its sustainability goals. The company recently expanded the timelines for Android software support on its phones, and for the new self-repair program, you can send the old broken parts back to Samsung for free recycling.
But Samsung has a lot to make up for. You may remember the phone “upcycling” repurposing program it worked with iFixit before. Instead of opening the bootloaders for older Samsung devices to allow for fully reprogrammable reuse of old Galaxy devices as initially thought, Samsung turned it into a more limited program that allowed some people to turn a Galaxy S9 into a sensor for a Samsung. SmartThings smart home system.
“The original Galaxy Upcycling was absolutely fantastic and the ability to install sustainable operating systems on smartphones is something the industry desperately needs,” said Wiens. We asked Wiens if this new self-repair program had any connection to the Galaxy Upcycling pitch. “I honestly have no idea,” Wiens responded.
It appears that Samsung and iFixit have put aside their previous commitments to this venture and are looking forward to launching the program this summer as another option that will help extend the usable life of older Galaxy phones. Details remain small, but a Samsung spokesperson tells us we’ll hear more once it’s available. It will bolster Samsung’s growing portfolio of repair services, including more than 2,000 official and authorized repair locations, as well as mobile service and mail-in service options.