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Be a little tinker - Fix your computer/phone yourself

Last Updated 2022/04/12

Built-in-obsolescence is a frequent complaint about smartphones. The advent of the glued in battery confirmed our deepest suspicions about tech companies attitude towards this: Apple started the trend, and while acknowledging that batteries are ‘consumable’ items they did very little to make replacing it a simple process, and even recently admitted they expect consumers to replace their phone every two years.

Personally, the development of smartphone technology has stagnated to the point where the distinction between a three year old smartphone and the latest-and-greatest is not sufficient to pique my interest. I would rather maintain a perfectly good iphone SE/7/8 than invest in an X/XS/ XS Max.

So what do you need to do this?

The right attitude

Don’t be afraid of breaking things. Yes this might happen, but you can always practice on an older, less valuable phone to reassure yourself first. Also, as long as you are careful and thorough in your preparation you should be absolutely fine. Don’t get impatient and yank at anything!

Tools/Parts

There are multiple tools that you will need, but once you have a set of jewellery screwdrivers, a spudger, suction cup, and maybe one or two torx screwdrivers (for those hexagonal weird looking screws!) you should be all set.

Parts can come from a number of sources, some of which can be found on Amazon or Ebay, but I find these untrustworthy and unreliable most of the time. A site such as iFixit has higher quality parts for all kinds of equipment, and even though it is a little bit more expensive it tends to be worth it for the reliability and warranty.

Websites/Manuals/Videos

iFixit also has comprehensive videos, instructions and walk-throughs. Youtube has lots of alternative videos that I have found useful however, and it may be worth a look if you are unsure or the item you want to repair isn’t available elsewhere.

Warranty

If your device is still under warranty (or even insured) , I would recommend getting it repaired by the manufacturer if it’s not prohibitively expensive and the type of damage is covered. This means that you are not culpable for any mistakes that the technician may make and your warranty is not voided by their repair. Newer phones are getting harder to repair thanks to the excessive amounts of glue and the obsession with thin-ness, which is part of the reason I am reluctant to upgrade. I have never bought insurance for a phone, as I always felt I could repair any damage, but I also made sure to have the phone in a protective case as I knew how frustrating and needlessly expensive it could be to replace a screen!

Around 80% of the repairs I have done for phones of friends/relatives has related to the screen. This can be attributed to the under-engineered aspects of the phones: they are simply not fit for purpose if they can not survive a three foot drop! However, I am persistently puzzled by the insistence of consumers to use their phone unprotected, even after several repairs to the screen.

Please let me know in the comments if you have an explanation for this behaviour!

Adam Sykes