Environment Minnesota Research and Policy Center
Minneapolis, MN – Today, Environment Minnesota Research and Policy Center released a new report, “What are Minnesotans Fixing?,” which analyzes data from the popular repair instruction website, iFixit.com. The report looks at what items people in Minnesota are trying to fix, and why that can be harder than it should be. Among the report’s top findings were:
1.2 million residents in Minnesota visited iFixit.com last year.
The most popular products people used iFixit to repair were cell phones, laptops, automobiles, and tablets.
Of the 10 most popular manufacturers, 6 don’t provide access to spare parts or technical service information like a schematic.
“With over 20% of residents using iFixit, it’s clear that Minnesotans just want to fix their own stuff. After all, repair cuts waste and saves consumers money,” noted Environment Minnesota Research and Policy Center’s State Director Tim Schaefer. “But too many of the things we are trying to fix have unnecessary barriers because most of the top manufacturers won’t provide access to spare parts, repair software, or service diagrams.”
The report highlights the growing call for “Right to Repair” reforms, which would require manufacturers to make much needed parts and service information available.
“iFixit.com has many guides for problems that manufacturers have told people are unfixable, and that they need to replace the device—for example, you can easily change the battery in an iPhone yourself,” explained iFixit’s co-founder, Kyle Wiens. “And while we can provide spare parts for that repair, sometimes, we just can’t get the parts: Only the manufacturer has access to what we need to fix the device.”
The most viewed repair guides on iFixit among Minnesota residents were for cell phones, and Apple was the most popular manufacturer. Among personal electronics, battery repairs were the most common guide type.
“Throwing out a $1000 smart phone because it needs a $40 battery is absurd,” added Schaefer. “No wonder people are starting to try and fix things themselves instead. But manufacturers need to help us by providing better access to parts and information. And if they won’t, state leaders should step up.”