Chances are you, or at least someone you know, has had an Apple product conk out on them. Unfortunately, AppleCare doesn't cover liquid damage, drops, or other accidents that occur during daily usage. So, what do you do when your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook suffers from accidental damage? Fix it yourself! According to iFixIt, most common problems can be fixed without spending a fortune on a new device or paying an expert.
As the name implies, iFixIt doesn't actually "fix" your device, rather they provide thousands of step-by-step manuals that enable anyone - including children - to fix their iDevices. iFixIt is an online community of tech-savvy users who contribute guides for Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads, and game consoles. Their website contains an extensive question and answer section, where over 1,000 experts provide knowledgeable and friendly information.
iFixIt was founded in a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo dorm room in 2003 by owners Kyle and Luke. Their company began by trying to put together an old iBook. They didn't have instructions, so they tinkered, fiddled, broke a few components, and lost some screws until the iBook was reassembled - and working! Unlike today, back then easy to use instructions didn't exist. Their company was founded on the notion that repair manuals don't exist for common products, such as the iPhone.
Admittedly, iFixIt notes that there's something inherently "fun" about fixing products, noting "it's fun to take stuff apart." Based on the smiles of attendees who were fixing their own phones and laptops with iFixIt's help, it is fun! They say it's "gratifying to fix it with your own hands." Kyle and Luke believe "everyone should have the right to maintain and repair their products."
Fixing iPhone 4/4S Rear Panels
One of the most common accidents with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S is the shattered back glass. According to iFixIt, the front is less likely to break because it is glued to the display, whereas the backing does not have any support. In fact, the iPhone backing is 10 times more likely to shatter than the front. Fortunately, iFixIt has a transparent back replacement kit, which they installed in less than 20 minutes. It was simple enough for a high school student to do unsupervised.
Water Damage - Drying Out Your Phone
Water damage remains one of the most common problems across the board. According to the fix-it gurus, there are a few solutions that can squeeze the water out of the phone. When your phone gets wet, immediately kill the battery or force it to shut down. The first method involves submerging the device into rubbing alcohol. Then, after a day or so, remove the phone and let it dry completely.
iFixit sells a "Thirsty Bag" that is designed to extract moisture from your phone following a spill. Inside the bag are two Molecular Sieve packets, which are engineered to grab water molecules. According to the panel, the Thirsty Bag can reduce the humidity inside the bag to 1 percent overnight. However, they claim in order for the bag to work, it needs to be used immediately following the accident.
In addition to fixing devices, iFixIt claims their guides can be used to upgrade components, such as RAM, hard drives, and optical drives. Inherent in their DNA as a company is the ability to customize your device, evident by their own MacBooks, which run two hard disks rather than an optical drive. The company claims we are living in a "throwaway culture," in which rather than maximizing our device's lifespan, we simply replace them.
Through their upgrade guides, they encourage people to breathe new life into their existing products rather than purchasing new hardware. Interestingly, they are against Apple's MacBook Air line of products, which they claim currently outsell the 13-inch MacBook 10 to 1. It's nearly impossible to upgrade the MacBook Air, as the memory is soldered onto the motherboard, rather than user serviceable like traditional MacBooks.
iFixIt claims we are moving towards a culture where devices last shorter and shorter, as manufacturers find ways to "block" upgrades, forcing customers to purchase the next iteration of the product rather than fixing the faulty component.
For more of Allvoices' coverage of Macworld | iWorld 2012, check out allvoices.com/macworld2012.