Update: That went fast! We blew threw 1,776 liberation kits as fast as a gaggle of kids with a box of sparklers. But there are a lot more people that need liberating! So we’ve dropped the price on our remaining stock of Liberation Kits to $0 + shipping.
Scenario: You’re rushing to work. Hurriedly you park and step out of the car. In that instant—pulling bags out and pushing doors closed—you drop your iPhone. Despite months (or years) of diligently protecting it, your iPhone slams onto the pavement. The display instantly shatters.
Although you may want to open your damaged iPhone—maybe to replace the display, dry out water-damage, or replace a battery—you realize you can’t. Your tools won’t open up the odd five-pointed screws holding the device together. You are locked out of your own phone.
iFixit doesn’t like this. In fact, we’re completely against it. Since you’ve bought your phone, you should be able to fix it easily, quickly, and affordably. But unless you have the proper tools, these five-pointed screws—better known as pentalobe screws—won’t allow you access to your own device. Instead, you’ll likely go back to Apple, putting down even more money, because they are the only ones who have the ability to open your iPhone. And although we are big fans of Apple’s consistently beautiful product designs, we’re not fans of iPhone imprisonment.
We are combating the problem in the best way we know how—through tools and knowledge. We are fighting for freedom. We are giving away tools. We are having Liberation Week from July 1st-5th!
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.
The cracked iPhone screen, with its web of glass shards that turn the digitizer into a kaleidoscope, is now practically as iconic as the iPhone itself. Phones slide out of pockets and slip from our butterfingers onto unforgiving concrete and cold, hard tile. The latest rumors predict that the next iPhone’s back panels will be made out of liquidmetal, a zirconium, titanium, nickel, and copper alloy that may make drop damage less of an issue. But for now, with a few good tools and a bit of repair know-how, you can make a tidy business out of replacing people’s shattered glass panels and bent bezels.
Jonathan Edwards (no, not this one or that one) of Shickshinny, Pennsylvania (and yes, that’s a real place), has managed to quit his “day job” and is now self-employed, doing phone hardware repair full time.
Steve Berl’s bag has two important repair staples—WD-40 for things that don’t move when they should, and duct tape for things that move when they shouldn’t. He’s carrying some iFixit gear, too: a 54-bit driver kit and helping hands. The FasTrak toll tag and Maker Faire badge add a dash of Bay Area local flavor.
I wouldn’t have thought that the Allied forces could have been stalled by a lack of wrenches and hammers—just as I wouldn’t have expected that American soldiers in Iraq would have to make their own Humvee armor. But in both America and Britain, during WWII, basic hand tool shortages regularly slowed down troops.
At the Lajpat Rai electronics market in Delhi, secondhand tools wait for customers. The drills are so artfully displayed—I wonder how much packaging material it would save if Home Depot took a cue from Lajpat Rai and set up displays like this (though if I pulled out that bottom drill, they might all come tumbling down).