Is repairability a swing factor for you when you shop for gadgets?

Is repairability a swing factor for you when you shop for gadgets?
iFixit’s latest teardown of the iPad revealed an unconvenient truth for Apple and its design. It’s nothing new - the iPhone and the iPad suck at repairability. From the simple action of changing the dead battery to more complicated manipulations like replacing a shattered display, the iPad is probably the worst gadget to break. It’s your cash spent for a fragile, but what’s more important - hard to repair product.

This prompted repair masters from iFixit to act - the new iPad and iPad 2 got repairability scores of only 2. That’s the lowest repairability score and it means that basically all repair work on the iPad is so complicated, that even Apple would simply replace your old iPad with a new one if say there’s something wrong with the battery. iFixit rightly blamed Apple that it could have done a better job. Even if that means sacrificing a point of an inch to make an easier to repair though a hair thicker. 

Shortsighted Apple apologists cried foul, arguing that Cupertino is doing this as an intentional genius marketing trick forcing users to upgrade every two years. Which of course could be true  from a corporate stand point - the OG iPhone was probably among the first smartphones with a non-replaceable user battery. But the implications of having such disposable gadgets are terrible for the user who doesn’t need to upgrade in 2 years. They are also terrible because of the long-term effects for people in developing countries which strongly rely on used gadgets.

If you can’t easily replace the battery or change the screen on an iDevice that means that it has a very short lifespan equal to that of its battery. For the iPhone that’s 500 cycles and for the iPad - 1,000. This means that active users will get 3 to 4 years life of their iPad, after which the gadget has to go to the junkyard. At the same time, you can easily see 10 year old and older devices flood underdeveloped countries and giving them access to the wonders of technology, even though with a huge delay.

We strongly recommend you check out iFixit’s brilliant defence of the importance of repairability in gadgets and are curious to see what’s your current attitude when you’re buying gadgets. Are you thinking whether this very cutting-edge product you’re about to get will still be fully functional after you choose to desert it for the next state-of-the-art gizmo? Could your kids or parents use it, or is it just going to the junkyard and you don’t care? Don’t hesitate to give us your honest opinions in the poll below and let us know whether this realization could somehow affect your purchase habits.

source: iFixit

Is repairability a factor for you when you buy a gadget?

Yes, I want to know my kids/parents/friends will be able to use gadgets after me.
No, I don't really care.

Related phones

iPad 3
  • Display 9.7" 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Apple A5X, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 11560 mAh



1. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011


2. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Ive very careful with my phones and all the phones Ive had had have a two year warranty anyhow so repair hasnt been an issue really. But from day to day experience instore however it is quite evident how apples one year warranty cause so much grief for Ifans as a large percentage of iphones have the inherent trait of going faulty after the one year warranty has expired,problems like home button stops working,speaker/Mic failures and not turning back on following itunes syncs being the biggest culprits to name a few. Repairs ouside apple one year warranty are very expensive and seeing as most customers are in 18 or 24 month contracts upgrades are often not an option. Looking at this buyers should be very savy as to what warranties are in phones and what repair factors are and companies which only offer basic warranties for high expense products should be thought over

11. drtech

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Funny because data shows iPhones have the lowest failure rates out of any phone. Meanwhile android phones have failure rates as high as 40%. You're irrational hatred is not supported by the real world.

15. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Thats a nice figure you just made up in 40%,seeing as you are lying you should have made it more extravagant and said 60%,you'd still have looked as stupid mind you. Sony recently stated their return rate was around 2%,Samsung similar. If you have read the PA article correctly and also my comment its not about phones which are classed as first day 'doa' but rather repairs over the lifetime of the device. You have no experience of iphones and repairs after the one year warranty has expired and apple sure as hell doesnt release those figures as: 1. They have given only a one year warranty and dont care about any faulty products outside this period unless the Ifans has 'purchased' second year warranty and 2) Apple doesnt actually recieve these out of warranty phones as networks simply know out of warranty phones dont get repaired with out a large fee and in 99% of the cases the customer refuses the repair. Most of these people with iphones faulty after 12 or 13 months have to rely on insurance claims or buy a replacemnt phone till the next upgrade is due. Many just buy a non contract iphone. You of course with much phone industry experience know all this of course

24. JeffdaBeat unregistered

Actually, the Genius Bar will repair/replace a device even if it's out of warranty. If there is physical or liquid damage to the phone, Apple will usually replace the phone for the same price that you paid for your upgrade. Unless the phone is damaged beyond repair or lost, you can usually get a replacement for far cheaper than buying the phone full price new. Any other manufacturer or carrier would direct you to paying full price to replace the device or, like you said, wait until the next upgrade. But even given that, I do feel like some part of this has to be a user's responsibility. If I break my TV, Best Buy and Sumsung aren't going to replace it for cheap. It's my fault and I have to pay for it. Same with my car. Personal responsibility...

35. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Yes they Will repair the device outside warranty but as you said you said like i pointed out there is a charge and its generally around 199,which as you said is less than the cost payg price of a new handset but alot to ask when the device should have the 2 year warranty. Asking a customer to pay 200 bucks for a phone to be repaired when they still nearly a year left to their upgrade does not get a nice response as the repair should be free with a proper 2 year warranty. It is a good point against people signing 2 year contracts though

26. drtech

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Every phone maker gives a 1 year warranty. So how is it a negative that Apple has the same warranty as others. Also as Jeff pointed out, Apple is the only company that still helps you even if you're out of warranty.

31. hepresearch unregistered

In the past, I have always been more interested in being able to fix something myself... I have done impromptu repairs on an HTC Dash, a couple of old Nokias, a Nokia 9300, and software updates and custom mods on several others. I find that I still like the idea of being able to "DIY" it the way I want in terms of both software and hardware (I have a funny story about an old Nokia S40 featurephone that I managed to take the chipset and GSM radios from one and splice it into the chipset and CDMA/Analog radios of the other... I'll tell ya about it if I can ever get it to properly roam in all modes from the same boot-up... lol), but in today's atmosphere all electronics are becoming more disposable all of the time. It may be worth it to fix HAM radios and PC's or Mac's, but mobile devices seem to have become more expensive to fix than to just replace. I voted that I like to be able to fix things, but in reality it hardly makes sense any more with the kind of mobile devices we see these days, and the one-year warranties seem sufficient to satisfy the repair-security needs of most people before they are planning to move to the next device.

34. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

2 year warranty is European law anyhow,apple makes itself an exception on that. There are even 19.99 priced phones available with 2 year warranties. Apple actually has been brought before the courts in Italy for example recently for not providing the legal 2 yr warranty and also for trying to charge ifans for actually getting a 2 year warranty.

3. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I personally do, not much tho but I give my stuff away, I want it to operate properly

4. rhinoceros

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

HAS always been a huge weakness for apple devices but doesn't stop the sheep. Carriers aren't allowed to trouble shoot their devices and they are never easy fixes. Hence their need to warranty swap for even minimal issues. Not great customer service but only option. Then after swapping you are sent to your carrier to swap esn numbers. Work at a Verizon near an apple store and you'll learn quick their customer service is trash because the so called geniuses constantly drop ball

8. MobileCaseReview

Posts: 242; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Apple devices are just as simple to fix as Samsung devices. Not complicated to change parts or change batteries. If you follow simple DIY's its cake for any smart phone. Most are built similarly in terms of engineering. Just saying. Also, I've had the same experience with VZW in the past, and the same goes for service at AT&T. Every store is different and has different facets of people. The same applies to all companies who offer customer service. With that being said, one store does not define the rest of the company. In other words, if the VZW store near me offers crap service, does that mean your store offers it too?

33. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

@MobileCaseReview: iFixit would disagree with you. Granted, I've taken apart my sister's ipod touch 3 times to replace defective or damaged screens, but it's still pretty dumb how it's set up

9. drtech

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Apple always has the highest customer satisfaction ratings

23. JeffdaBeat unregistered

So...none of that is true... Carriers are allowed to trouble shoot problems and will often try to do so if there is a software problem. Hardware issues are a different story, but are often handled the same way that the carrier would handle any other phone. For example, when I worked for AT&T, we had to call our warranty department and the customer would be mailed a phone. If they had an iPhone, we could send them to the local Apple Store. In the case that there was no Apple Store, there would still be a mailed replacement done by Apple. So at the very least, you got your phone at the same time anyone else would. At the most, you got it before. The only company I know that repairs phone is Sprint. Both Verizon and AT&T have moved far from repairing the phones themselves, instead offering insurance through Asurion. If you get your phone fixed or swapped in the Apple Store, Apple also switches the service over so you don't have to go back to your carrier to reactivate your phone. Plus, we are talking about repairability. Most folks who carry a smartphone don't know how to set up their email let alone fix their phone. So this is a non-issue for most.

5. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

wow Apple I know you want to make your devices durable but in truth Some people drop Ipads some times rethink your device construction technology

30. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

You just have to take care of your phone. I still have a first generation iPhone and a blackberry curve that runs perfectly. On the other hand, I had a Samsung focus that I didn't take care of, the screen is totally shattered an parts of glass have fallen out, but since the screen is built in with the digitizer or something, it cost 190$ to fix the screen.

6. maier9900

Posts: 272; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

It's because they're no experts when it comes to repairing an apple product. And no consumer should be able to repair their gadgets unless they know what they're doing... How many people know how to repair their cars ( not a lot ) they take it to a mechanic shop. How many people know how to fix their broken tv ( not a lot ) they take it to a tv repair shop. This story is ridiculous...makes no sense that the consumers' phones have to be easy to repair. Just take it back and voila, you either get an exchange or they'll repair it for you.

13. wumberpeb

Posts: 453; Member since: Mar 14, 2011

That review was written by people who's entire career is based on taking things apart, so how are they not qualified? Their website doesn't say, but i'm sure they've got an entire industry of other brands and devices as a comparison, so if they rate it a 2 in terms of repair ability, how can you say they're not knowledgeable in Apple repair? Does it matter that they haven't worn an Apple Genius uniform and replaced a bad speakerphone? Some folks were born to take things apart, and it doesn't take specific training to start to understand any mechanical or electrical object. Some work for iFixit, because I'm sure as hell not THAT good.... Also, consumers should not have to know how to repair their own devices. There's trained staff for that. However, Apple has designed some of their products to be so unfixable that something relatively simple to fix on an HTC Evo is an extreme undertaking on an iPhone (just an example). So they're forcing you to buy the extra AppleCare because after one year, with one year left on your 2 yr contract, should anything important break like an earpiece, its a lengthy and expensive repair. Making a device more repairable either makes the repair less expensive out of warranty OR it doesn't force the consumer's hand into purchasing extended service contracts for fear or having a DOA product at the 18 month mark

10. drtech

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Personally I don't care. I get Apple care and any issue I have is taken care of quickly and painlessly by Apple.

14. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Okay Mr.ApplePR

17. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Good for you,you pay apple for what is the legal free right of a 2 year warranty. Congradulations!

25. MobileCaseReview

Posts: 242; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

2 year warranty's don't cover user damage such as water or dropped phones. Most of the time it covers hardware malfunctions or manufacturer defects. Which is why companies like ascurian offer their insurance services to carriers. Apple care is the the same type of insurance.

37. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Water damage is indeed the ultimate enemy of phones,and the main problem is people think its okay to answer their phone in the rain for instance then complain when their phone Is 'somehow water damaged'! It Will be interesting to see how apple much apple still charges for its apple care when it incorporates the likes of liquipel into their phones

27. drtech

Posts: 135; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Who gives a 2 year warranty? Not one company does free.

28. stealthd unregistered

There is no "legal free right" to a 2 year warranty.

36. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Just checking it there it does seem Americans dont have that legal right,its an Eu Law and directive and as such all phones in Europe come with a 2 year warranty except of course the iphone which apple only supplies one year with (you have to buy the second year) and the resulting problems from the iphones short warranty i have highighted.

12. JonBjSig

Posts: 176; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

I'd like it to be easy to repair in case it broke for some reason, I replaced the display of my tablet when it broke.

16. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I'd rather have a more sturdy phone than one that fixes easier. It's better to not break the device in the first place. I'd much rather invest $15-30 in a case upfront than $150-200 for insurance over the course of two years just to end up paying a deductible IF you end up using it or $100 to fiz a screen. I've fixed a few screens myself as well and an hour of my time and $30 is still not worth it. Get a case. Get a screen protector.

20. lvnmsamsng

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

You got that right Captain! Invest in some protection/accessories and save on the repairing.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.