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iFixit is sadly ending its partnership with Samsung

ByYasmeeta Oon

May 24, 2024
iFixit is ending its partnership with Samsung

iFixit is sadly ending its partnership with Samsung

iFixit and Samsung have ended their partnership, marking the conclusion of a collaboration that began two years ago. This move comes after the two companies failed to renegotiate their contract. Kyle Wiens, CEO and co-founder of iFixit, attributes the breakdown to Samsung’s lack of interest in supporting large-scale repairs.

Wiens points out that, unlike their successful deals with Google, Motorola, and HMD, the partnership with Samsung was fraught with challenges from the start. “Samsung does not seem interested in enabling repair at scale,” Wiens told The Verge. He emphasizes that the dissolution of the partnership shouldn’t significantly impact iFixit’s customers. Instead of relying on Samsung for genuine parts and approved repair manuals, iFixit will proceed independently, as it has done with Apple’s iPhones.

While Wiens refrained from disclosing which party ended the partnership, he highlighted that pricing was a major sticking point. Samsung’s parts are priced prohibitively high, and its phones are notoriously difficult to repair, deterring customers from purchasing repair parts. A particularly contentious issue was Samsung’s policy of only shipping batteries pre-attached to an entire phone screen, forcing consumers to pay over $160 for a simple battery replacement. In contrast, iFixit’s iPhone and Pixel batteries cost around $50.

Comparison of Battery Replacement Costs
Phone ModelBattery Replacement Cost

Additional Constraints in the Partnership

Moreover, the contract with Samsung limited iFixit’s ability to assist local repair shops. The agreement imposed an artificial cap, restricting iFixit to selling no more than seven parts per customer within a three-month period. “We haven’t been able to get parts moving at the volumes needed to move the environmental needle,” Wiens stated.

After The Verge published the initial story, another potential reason for the breakup surfaced: Samsung’s requirement for iFixit to share customers’ email addresses and parts purchase histories, along with a waiver before buying. “We do not require this information for any other partnerships, and do not share customer information with any other OEM,” Wiens added. 404 Media also reported that Samsung’s contracts require repair shops to report on their customers.

iFixit also struggled to obtain official parts for Samsung’s newest devices. The last genuine parts added to iFixit’s inventory were for the 2022 Galaxy S22 lineup. Despite Samsung adding the S23, Z Flip 5, and Z Fold 5 to its self-repair program in December, iFixit was excluded, with Encompass becoming the new provider.

Wiens acknowledged that iFixit was aware of these constraints from the beginning. This isn’t the first time an iFixit-Samsung deal has fallen apart. While he couldn’t confirm if Samsung had promised any changes, the company still plans to stock aftermarket Samsung parts and publish repair guides. However, these manuals might lack the detail that came with the partnership.

The partnership officially ends on June 17th, according to Wiens. He believes Samsung won’t violate any right-to-repair laws once the partnership concludes. In California, for instance, Samsung must provide repair tools, parts, software, and documentation for seven years for any device sold after July 1st, 2021, starting from July 1st, 2024.

Wiens mentioned that iFixit had been publishing documents for Samsung, but now Samsung’s Self Repair Services page at Encompass has some official repair guides, although not all are comprehensive. These guides mention a Samsung Self Repair Assistant app, which isn’t available in the Google Play or Galaxy Store and must be sideloaded in the US. The downloadable APK is available on Encompass’s website.

In a blog post titled “We’re Ending Our Samsung Collaboration,” iFixit announced the end of the partnership without accusing Samsung of “repairwashing” or malicious compliance. Instead, iFixit admitted:

  • “We clearly didn’t learn our lesson the first time, and let them convince us they were serious about embracing repair.”
  • “We tried to make this work. Gosh, we tried. But with such divergent priorities, we’re no longer able to proceed.”

Samsung declined to comment on specific details but confirmed that Encompass’s is now its primary self-repair provider. “We’re proud of the work we’ve done together with iFixit. We can’t comment further on partnership details at this time,” said Mario Renato De Castro, Samsung’s head of mobile customer care, in a statement to The Verge.

  • High pricing of Samsung parts
  • Limited availability of new parts
  • Restrictions on parts sales to repair shops
  • Required sharing of customer information
  • Lack of access to detailed repair manuals

iFixit remains committed to supporting Samsung device repairs through aftermarket parts and existing stock. While the manuals may be less detailed, iFixit believes it will ultimately sell more Samsung parts. The partnership’s end marks a significant shift but also an opportunity for iFixit to continue its mission independently.

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Featured Image courtesy of Slashgear

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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