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Samsung launches self-repair program

Users can now order genuine parts to fix their Samsung Galaxy S21 and S20 phone models, as well as Tab S7+ tablets.

The Korean tech giant has partnered with iFixit, a leading self-repair webshop, to allow users to take product repair into their own hands. Customers can order parts through iFixit or Samsung's retail and service locations. Parts come separately or in Fix Kits with necessary tools and step-by-step guidelines.

While the service is currently only available in the US and to a select few models, Samsung says it plans to expand self-repair to more devices and parts in the future.

Hopes of sustainability

Customers can send used parts to Samsung to recycle. The company promotes the initiative as a step toward a circular economy, which could offer greater sustainability and reduce e-waste by prolonging the life of the devices.

"It's a big step toward better sustainability. It's not uncommon for people to throw out broken phones and get new ones. This is not good for the environment, which is why people should consider repairs instead," John Webber of Carved, a company specializing in wooden phone cases, said.

With spare parts prices ranging from $67 for a replacement Galaxy charge port to just under $230 for a new screen repair kit, it is still a fraction of what a new phone would cost. It could also save a visit to a professional repair shop. On that part, Samsung is also introducing a Repair Mode which users can switch on before handing their devices to repair technicians.

The Repair Mode update will first be available to the Galaxy S21 series. When enabled, it will retain sensitive information on the phone but will lock it out from any prying eyes, essentially resetting the device to a default mode. The owner can regain access to their data through a PIN or a fingerprint. The Repair Mode first launches in South Korea, with dates for other regions unclear.

Joining the bandwagon

In joining the self-repair drive, Samsung follows in the footsteps of Apple, which already enables users "experienced with the complexities of repairing electronic devices" to fix their iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and 3rd generation iPhone SE lineups at home, with some Mac computers to follow.

The Self Service Repair program launched in the US in April and will expand to additional countries in Europe later this year. Users can choose from more than 200 individual parts, including displays, batteries, and cameras, on Apple's online store, which also offers how-to manuals.

Long averse to the move, tech companies are heeding the public pressure and legislation aimed at ensuring the right to repair in the US and within the EU.

"Tech companies have long been associated with sanctions and crackdowns related to environmental pollution," Amber Morland, a founder and marketing manager of Softwalla, noted.

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