One of the biggest names in the smartphone game is embracing the customer’s right to repair their own devices.
Samsung announced Thursday that it’s partnering with iFixIt, the premier online destination for tech repair information and parts, to make a few recent Samsung devices easier for tech-savvy owners to repair without paying a professional to do it. The Galaxy S20 and S21 smartphones, as well as the Galaxy Tab S7+, will be the first devices to get this support when the program rolls out this summer.
The specifics are still a little unclear, but Samsung says people will be able to get their hands on authentic parts, the proper tools for repair, and easy-to-understand repair guides for these devices if they so desire. The company said display assemblies and charging ports will be among the first things people will be able to repair this summer. Users who opt to do this can also send their used parts back to Samsung for proper disposal.
You may have noticed that Samsung’s most recent flagship, the Galaxy S22, won’t be supported when this program launches. When asked about that, a Samsung spokesperson provided a statement that made it sound like you can expect expanded device support eventually, without saying exactly when.
“Currently, Samsung is focused on launching the self-repair program in the United States with support for the Galaxy S20 and S21 family of products and the Galaxy Tab S7+,” the statement read. “Samsung plans to expand the range of products, parts and self-repair capability as the program matures.”
Samsung jumping on the self-repair bandwagon is important for a couple of reasons. First, the common cycle of buying, wearing out, and replacing a smartphone every three to five years is terrible for the environment, with discarded devices contributing to 57 million tons of global e-waste, per an estimate from the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Forum. If people can simply install a new charging port themselves instead of buying a whole new phone after the old port becomes faulty, that’s one less phone added to the e-waste pile.
Second, it brings Samsung up to speed with Apple, which introduced a similar self-repair program late last year. For years, smaller startups like Teracube and Framework have made smartphones and laptops (respectively) with sustainability and repairs in mind, but now the biggest tech companies on the planet are making it easier to fix devices, too. Everyone wins here.
Except for people who may overcharge a bit for phone repairs, I suppose. It’s not great for them if suddenly regular folks can fix their own charging ports.