Google has become the latest major electronics manufacturer to announce that it will sell some smartphone repair parts to consumers, meaning many of the largest companies in the world have at least partially reversed course on right to repair. Google says that, like Samsung, it will partner with iFixit to sell repair parts to consumers.
“We want you to have a great experience with your Pixel phone, and that includes easy access to high-quality and safe device repair if your phone is ever damaged,” Google wrote in a blog post. “That’s why we’re working with iFixit to make it easier for independent repair professionals and skilled consumers with the relevant technical experience to access the genuine Google parts they need to repair Pixel phones.”
Google said it will begin selling repair parts for Pixel 2 through Pixel 6 Pro phones, as well as parts for any future Pixel devices. Google’s parts program is slightly more expansive than that of other manufacturers: Notably, it will sell original replacement batteries, which can have the effect of significantly extending the life of a smartphone. It will also sell cameras, replacement displays, “and more,” the blog post says.
Google wrote that it is also looking to expand the repair program to other devices it sells, and has pushed manufacturers of Chromebook to sell replacement parts for those devices, too.
In recent months, companies like Apple, who spent years saying that letting consumers repair smartphones is a dangerous endeavor that would void your warranty and cause widespread hacking have softened their stances amid a right to repair push that increasingly has momentum from consumers, state lawmakers, and, perhaps most crucially, the Joe Biden administration and his Federal Trade Commission. Perhaps fearing strict regulations or a right-to-repair law at the state or federal level, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and now Google have all announced that they will begin selling repair parts directly to consumers. Motorola also sells parts to consumers and has for years. The Samsung, Google, and Motorola programs are all run through iFixit.
The announcement also shows a willingness to compromise and partner with iFixit, which has sold (largely) third-party repair parts on its website for years and has created independent repair guides for thousands of devices. iFixit has been one of the leading advocates for right-to-repair, pushing for repair laws in states around the country alongside consumer rights groups like US PIRG and repair trade groups like Repair.org.
“It’s straightforward for iFixit to help these companies out because we’ve been doing this for years, and we’re the best in the world at it,” iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens told Motherboard.