You may have heard the term “spanner” used for wrenches before, but it also refers to security screws with multiple pinholes or slots on the screw head. The pinholes and slots act a bit like a lock. A specific bit is required for removal, making them difficult for hooligans and ne’er-do-wells to tamper with. (You also can’t jam a common flathead into the screw to turn it, as you might with a pentalobe or security Torx screw.)
The pentalobe is a five-pointed, flower-shaped screw—and it’s famous for being Apple’s tiny security screw of choice. Mechanically, the pentalobe tends to be inferior to other screws. It has a shallow draft that makes the screw prone to stripping out. And back when it first started popping up, the pentalobe was pretty good at locking down Apple devices.
Trusty. Iconic. As all-American as Ma’s apple pie. Yes, the Phillips screwdriver. Bearing the name of a Portlandian businessman who didn’t even invent it, the Phillips is the reigning standard in most American toolboxes. Henry F. Phillips bought the screw design from inventor John P. Thompson, who wasn’t able to muster up any commercial interest for his screwhead. Phillips was obviously a better (or luckier) salesman—or we might all have Thompson screwdrivers in our toolboxes now.
We’ve gotta hand it to you, y’all made this Valentine’s Day one for the iFixit history books. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Cupid’s favorite holiday than by swapping repair tales with all you beautiful people. We received so many wonderful photo contest entries that we couldn’t pick just one winner—so we picked 5!
The flathead is unapologetically utilitarian. Which makes sense, because of all the drivers, it’s apparently the oldest—dating back to the Middle Ages. It’s gone by many names over the years: the standard, the common blade, the flat-blade, the slot-head, the straight, the flat-tip, and, of course, the “flat-head.” Learn more about the history of bits on our blog!
“Tools are your good friends. Why? Because they make it possible for you to do hundreds of jobs that you couldn’t with your own hands. They are extra hands—and eyes—which give you countless new skills. If you treat the tools you use as friends, they’ll always be ready to help you when you need them most.”
Sometimes, repairing electronics requires more than just swapping out the offending parts. Sometimes batteries are soldered to the motherboard. Other times, the connectors themselves need to be replaced. And that means you’re gonna need to be break out the soldering workstation. Fear not, intrepid repairer! We get it: Waving a molten lava wand over your prized possessions can be intimidating, but soldering is actually pretty easy. And it’s an essential skill to have in your repair toolkit.
iFixit is combating the Pentalobe screws of iPhones by having Liberation Week from July 1st-5th! We will give out two iPhone Liberation Kits to the first 1,776 freedom fighters to sign up. But why two? We don’t think that freedom should be contained—it should be spread. So when you sign up, you will be gifted a kit for yourself and a kit to pass on to a friend. We are enabling you and your comrade during this fight for freedom! Because if you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.
Component-level repair cell phone repair is becoming increasingly uncommon in the west. But in Delhi, any good mobile repair worker knows how to solder. I took this photo in a Delhi cell phone repair school. This student has decorated his soldering iron with cell phone speakers, held up by the same magnets that make the speakers work.