You Have the Right to Repair


Master disassembler iFixIt is promoting the Self-Repair Manifesto. The slogans are music to the ears of anyone who believes in the joy of discovery, whether you're learning about nature, abstract properties, or technological artifacts. They're giving away 1,500 posters of the above image at no cost; you can also download it as a PDF. The theses:

Repair is better than recycling.

Repair saves the planet.

Repair saves you money.

Repair teaches engineering.

If you can't fix it, you don't own it.

I've repaired a number of my devices in recent years, from washing machines to Apple laptops, and felt that I've learned, saved, and greened, all with the smug little pleasure of defeating The Man. Whoever That Man is.

iFixIt has a vested interest in this campaign worth noting: the company sells spare parts and upgrades, mostly for Apple equipment. On the flip side, iFixIt is assembling a giant directory of free repair manuals for all manner of manufactured goods. The company also publishes near-instant dissections of popular new electronics, like Microsoft Kinect and the iPhone 4, as a combination of promotion and exploration.


  1. OK, how about if I don’t do Twitter or Facebook? Anyone have a link to the PDF?

    (FWIW, I’ve tried both but stopped due to a combination of security issues and not having a sufficiently short attention span to stand either of them).

    1. The link above takes you to the page where you can click the image and download it as a PDF. Sorry for any confusion! I’ll add a link above directly to the PDF.

  2. The irony is that they sell parts for apple computers… one of the most user unfriendly companies when it comes to user repair.

  3. I had to replace my motherboard and debug a RAM issue on my main computer in the past year. I definitely saved money, but it was still hugely frustrating and if the computer was a few years older I would have just replaced the damn thing.

  4. One of my friends discovered her car battery is only available at the dealership, and uses proprietary tools to replace. This is the type of crap that needs to stop.

  5. typo on poster, second item in “we have the right” list has an extra -to on end of word. it’s okay, I fixed mine. :)

  6. nobody has the “right” to a warranty… and if you’re serious about fixing things yourself, you really don’t need one anyway!

  7. Speaking as a maker, a tinkerer, a lover of self-sufficiency and DIY in general I think this goes a bit far to be practical or even desirable for most people. Taking apart complex devices without some guidance or documentation is a quick way to ruin the device and void the warranty. The “If you can’t fix it, don’t own it” is laughable –good luck with that one. I would prefer to spend my precious free time making new things and generally being creative –not weeping in frustration over a half-hearted attempt to “fix” my laptop.

    1. I wrote the manifest, and I’d like to throw in a couple replies. Since most of the commenters are ‘Anon’, I’ll quote them specifically:

      “Repair might not make sense for replacing an inefficient old refrigerator.” This is absolutely true—the energy savings from replacing an extremely old refrigerator or clothes dryer can outweigh the captured energy embedded during manufacture. This is becoming less true, however. Talk to most appliance designer and they’ll tell you that appliances have hit an energy plateau where they aren’t seeing much energy savings in new models. So we need to recycle the inefficient models and get them out of the ecosystem, we should be making the appliances that are new *now* last twenty or thirty years.

      “I would prefer to spend my precious free time making new things and generally being creative –not weeping in frustration over a half-hearted attempt to “fix” my laptop.” That’s absolutely true—repairing these things can be complicated. I’ve got three responses to this:
      1) There’s nothing wrong with paying someone to fix it! Local repair technicians are a critically important part of our economy and culture.
      2) iFixit is working to make it as easy as possible to fix the things that are already out there. We provide free instructions, troubleshooting information, tools, and parts in one place. Our goal is to remove the pain from self-repair that you’re describing.
      3) Some things are just hard to fix, no matter how good the service manual you have is. Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew that before we bought something? It would be awesome if every product had a repairability score on the box!

      One other thing: repairable products are quite often quality products. Off-the-shelf coffee grinders only last about a year, and it’s impossible to find replacements for the small plastic parts. But coffee grinders used to last thirty years and were easy to fix. Appliances that last longer are more likely to have parts and service manuals available. Spending three times as much for a quality appliance seems like a lot, but it’s a huge savings if it lasts thirty times longer.

  8. I think most people will point out instances where the following three is not always true (e.g. replacing an inefficient old refrigerator)
    Repair is better than recycling.
    Repair saves the planet.
    Repair saves you money.

    I rather focus on the last point
    If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it.

    I think some may argue that the world is better organized if we don’t “own” things that we have to “fix” For example , renting an apartment instead of buying a house. Sure, somebody has to maintain the apartment, but that’s factored into the rent. People can use it and when they leave others can use it (try to do this with a house in a bad market). Since there are a lot of apartments to maintain, the cost of maintaining them also scales out better than individual repairs (did you save up for a new transmission?).

    Don’t get me wrong, I maintain/repair my car and my house, but I do it because i enjoy learning and DIY. However, I would love a cost-competitive model where I don’t have to own a car or a computer , etc. Yes, there’s leasing , but those programs never compete well with owning and repairing on your own perhaps b/c they’re always leasing the latest models. There needs to be programs where you pay low monthly fee , use the car, computer , etc. when it breaks exchange it and suffer no lost of service. perhaps they can keep the cost low by leasing non-latest models – old camry’s / civics / corollas, or 2-yr old laptop , etc.

  9. I love ifixit! It adds a lot of value to Macs, I have fixed 2 Macs over the years with the help of that site, that I would have had to write off otherwise. . .

    Many thanks…

  10. Sure you have the right to repair. But then don’t think you have to right to warranty service after you screw it up.

  11. I tried to sign up for the free poster in exchange for a facebook post.

    First time through the process I got this:

    Error: Whoops!
    We’ve already got an order for you. One per customer!

    I actually clicked through to try to buy one (I didn’t know that they were giving them away). Now I’m glad I didn’t try to.

  12. Self-surgery is better than reconditioning.
    Self-surgery saves your heart.
    Self-surgery saves you money, lots of.
    Self-surgery teaches Infectiology and Epidemiology.
    If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it, minus the complex and yet unknowable inter-workings of immunopathological microorganisms.

  13. I had a friend who refused to buy a piece of electronic equipment unless it came with a schematic. That was in 1964

  14. In my 12th summer I bought a used mini bike that started but would not move. I spent that winter in my dad’s workshop in our basement where I took every piece off of the engine and completely rebuilt it. I learned how centrifugal clutches worked and that mine had worn out plates. Because the bike was orginally pruchased from Sears, I was able to go to the Sears parts warehouse in Boston where they provided drawings and the parts list for my bike. They didn’t have the plates in stock, but ordered them and they arrived about 10 days later. The spring day that I turned the throttle and felt the bike lurch forward was one of the most exciting days of my young life. Best winter, evar.

  15. I actually find more satisfaction in fixing something that was not meant to be fixed by the “end user”.

    The most recent example being an electric can opener that didn’t exactly OPEN cans very well anymore. I had to drill out some formed plastic to access a screw that in turn gave access to other components that needed adjustment. The can opener functions just as good as the day I opened the box! Its now over 8 years old and works perfectly!

    there is a better manifesto out there. i may have read it on MAKE.

  16. I’ve been on a tear lately:

    1. Dismantled dryer and replaced door gasket, bearing, belt, and that little light that goes on when you open the door ($35 in parts ). Dryer runs like new. Did this on a Friday night before a party.

    2. 3 oven ignitors on 2 stoves. He who controls ignitors controls the world (of appliances at least — they’re the most common failure/wear out item).

    3. New kitchen faucet and water filter cartridge.

    4. Trying to figure out why the fire alarm keeps throwing a fault. This is where curiosity yields a fire alarm that won’t go off.

    It’s fun, and it saves money and resources, but it’s also a bit obsessive. Every device starts to look like one of those exploded parts diagrams. I’m now sliding back towards being a passive consumer for a while.

  17. Buy used, and repair! Even if it takes a decent amount of time, there’s plenty of personal enjoyment and fulfillment to take into account.

    If for no other reason, just to know how something works. It kills me to see a tool/object/gadget and not at least sort of understand it.

  18. I have several i-devices in need of repair. I find it frustrating that I got 24 months out of them. Looking forward to trying out the techniques in the book – got nothing to loose and several working devices to gain. Thanks

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