If you’ve never seen a tri-point—you’re probably not alone. They’re pretty rare, even in electronics. Tri-points look a lot like Phillips screws, only with three points to the Phillips’ four. And unlike the tri-wing, which has a small triangular hole at the center where the offset slots meet, the tri-point’s slots meet straight on and dead center.
From iPods to Fitbits, gizmos keep getting smaller. So, we’re introducing a new toolkit to better handle modern devices. Armed with data from thousands of teardowns and repair guides, our engineers designed our most precise toolkit yet. We’re calling it the MicroTech Toolkit.
The iPad 5 bucks the Air 2’s slimming trend and brings back the thicker, more repairable screen of the original iPad Air. That makes the new iPad cheaper to make (good for Apple) and cheaper to fix (good for consumers). Which should earn it some extra credit with enterprise buyers, like—you know—schools full of kids who have a tendency to break things.
Stepping behind the display cases of Ali Athari’s watch and jewelry store is like changing dimensions. Watches and jewelry glisten in their cases only feet away, but they are only a facade—intricate disguises designed to hide the real artistry: the watchmaker’s workshop. Ali is a lifelong student of watch design and repair, and it shows. The shelves of his workspace are lined with antique tools, calibration machines, and measurement devices—all designed for the repair of ailing timepieces.
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.
March is Women’s History Month and today is International Women’s Day—so we thought we’d take this opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the great women who work at iFixit and its sister company, Dozuki. When you go to a website like iFixit and scroll through the guides, it’s easy to forget that real people keep all those bits and bytes running smoothly. We’re an incredibly diverse team, split between two continents—but we’re united by a love of tinkering and repair.
When you’re designing a portable console, you need a huge battery, you need to keep it cool, and you need to be ready for the inevitable tumble. If you carry something around, you’re gonna drop it. The Nintendo Switch seems to hit all these points and more. The lion’s share of space is given to the batteries and the heat dissipation system. The fan is vibration-dampened to let it quietly run as much as needed.