back to article Fancy fixing your own mobile devices? Just take the display off carefu...CRUNCH !£$%!

Out of 17 IT brands, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft have taken the crown for devices that are the hardest to repair or upgrade – and their displays are the fiddliest bits of all. It's all about the complex designs, adhesives and proprietary parts such as screws, Greenpeace discovered in a repairability survey (PDF) of 40 popular …


    1. Anonymous Coward

      "He also tried to explain why the EU's 2 year warranty didn't apply to Apple stuff."

      Then point the bearded "Genius" here:

      And say he is correct, the two year EU one does not apply, but the UK SIX year one does.

      1. Gordon Lawrie

        Not to be pedantic but...

        There is no such thing as a statutory EU 2 year minimum warranty. There is also no such thing as a statutory UK 6 year warranty, (or statutory 5 year warranty in Scotland.) These don't exist and haven't ever existed. Ever. Promise.

        Directive 1999/44/EC where this myth originates says that where a country limits the length of time the seller of consumer goods is liable for lack of conformity with the contract, that period of liability where the seller can be pursued must be at least two years. That is not the same as saying there must be at least a 2 year warranty. Article 2 of the directive spells out what conformity means but essentially it means that the goods must be accurately described and fit for purpose. Article 3 then gives the consumer rights against the seller where goods do not conform at the point of delivery and Article 4 gives the seller rights against the next guy in the supply chain all the way to the original producer of the goods.

        This is all a directive though, an instruction to E.U. member states to make sure that their consumer laws comply with this as a minimum standard. If a member state doesn't bother to comply Joe Citizen can't go to court citing the directive, there needs to be national legislation incorporating these minimum standards in law.

        The UK has the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which exceeds the requirements of the directive, but it still doesn't magically create a 2, 5 or 6 year warranty for all consumer goods.

        What the Consumer Rights Act 2015 DOES say is that goods must of satisfactory quality, fit for a particular purpose and as described. Fitness for purpose does incorporate factors such as durability. Specifically the reasonableness test is used, goods must meet the standard a reasonable person would consider satisfactory taking into account elements such as price. Realistically that means that a retailer is going to have a hard time claiming that a £1000 iPhone which develops an antenna fault after 13, 19 or even 26 months is of satisfactory quality regardless of what any warranty may or may not say. You may have to litigate to argue that point if the seller is intransigent though.

        As for the 6 years, (5 in Scotland,) those are simply the times after which contract claims become time-barred under the Limitation Act 1980 or the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973. They don't mean you get a warranty for that period. Frankly if you bowled up in court and tried to claim a £50 generic phone didn't conform to contract because it conked out after 4 years the judge would be likely to give you an earful and send you on your way. A £7.5K Vertu phone with the same issue at the same time on the other hand may be a very different matter.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      RE: iPhone 5S

      Tesco were flogging them on a 2yr contract a few months ago. I had to stop and read the sign twice as I didn't believe it. A 3 or is it 4 yr old phone. At least it will run iOS 11 and updates but beyond that??? who knows eh

      The Apple boys wanted you to buy an new shiny (unless it is matt black) iPhone 7 whatever. However there are plentiful supplies of iPhone 6's and 6S's at your local Pawn shop. Far cheaper than Apple's gouging.

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    We could just buy older tech that is easily repairable?

    Wouldn't that be easier?

    Guys? Guys it's lonely here!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      If you are reusing, cannibalising and repairing old gear, you're not buying new gear.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Edit: I do use older audio gear. Very good speakers (1980s Wharfedale etc) can be had for absolute peanuts from charity shops and local newspaper classified ads, and will sound very good. Amplifiers similarly, or use a new inexpensive yet good Tripath Class D amp if you don't need to shake the room. Add a 15 quid Chromecast dongle to bring some 21st century convenience to the set up.

        1. djstardust Silver badge


          I have Wharfedale satellite sub systems from the early 90s and Wharfedale still have the cones in stock. Coupled with JVC or Technics amps from 1989 / 1990 and it's the best sound system ever.

          Far better than that expensive Sonos pish.

        2. Robert Moore

          Older audio equipment

          A couple of years ago I set myself the task of building a killer component stereo from charity shops. With no single component purchased to cost over $20 CAD. +TAX (Just to make it a little more challenging.)

          It took a couple of months, and a lot of self control regarding the price, but I achieved what I set out to do, and the results are amazing. The sound quality is so far beyond what I had come to expect from years of headphones, and earbuds, that I was literally stunned by the difference.

          The only downside, is my dog runs and hides every time I go near the stereo. :)

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Older audio equipment

            > The only downside, is my dog runs and hides every time I go near the stereo. :)

            Everybody is a music critic


          2. wolfetone Silver badge

            Re: Older audio equipment

            I'm glad I'm not the only one who uses old audio tech.

            I bought a National Panasonic music centre (the ones with the turntable, tape deck and radio) and it came with some 1980's spec Amstrad speakers. The guy selling it said it comes on, the tape player moves, the turntable moves, but theres no sound. It cost me 99p.

            A bit of a fiddle and an hour later, it was working. Sounded a bit funny, but I plugged it in to an Arcam amp from 1984 that I was given for free and a set of Mordant Short speakers, and bloody hell! It sounds awesome.

  2. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Scope of the study?

    Anyone tried to open a kindle? Not a happy memory.

    I guess those weren't included in the study?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Scope of the study?

      No, but it can't have been messier than dismantling the Etcha Sketch that it resembles!

  3. DougS Silver badge

    According to ifixit

    Repairability score of the last three generations of iPhone is 7, and the ones before that (except the first gen) were a 6. Only one phone made in the last five years scored higher than an 8 - and Samsung, who was responsible for most of those 8s four to six years ago, went down to 3s and 4s with their last three year's worth of phones!

    Other than the special screwdrivers, which are generally included when you buy e.g. replacement batteries or screens, iPhones are simple to fix. Their recent tablets and laptops on the other hand, are down at the bottom of the repairability list. I've never tried to take apart an iPad, but you'd think it would be a 'big iPhone' and assembled/disassembled in a similar manner. Guess not!

    I bought a new laptop last fall (HP 17t) and swapped out the hard drive it came with with an SSD. Had to take the whole thing apart, and it was hard enough I had to go to the web for instructions and it still took a half hour! The days of having access covers on the bottom held by a couple of eyeglass screws for the hard drive and RAM are past, I guess.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "Right to repair"

    Well, if you'd get off your butts and fight for a right to repair your objects, like we're trying to do on this side of the pond, you'd be in a much better position to complain. At least we've got Apple nervous enough to spend serious money trying to counter it.

    However, I haven't had a device since the Palm III that was easy to repair. It kind of comes with the form factor and low-cost mass assembly.

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I can understand

    making the device out of glue, impossible screws and general borking any attempt to change the screen/mb/case....... but why the need to glue the battery in and make that impossible to swap out too?

    I mean the battery is the first component thats going to wear out (assuming you dont drop the thing)

    And its full of ikky chemicals too..............

    Or is it a scam designed to force us to buy the latest shiny when an easily replacable part goes titsup

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I can understand

      See above comments.

  6. PhilipN Silver badge


    So don't buy a thousand dollar phone.

    Buy a knock-off and throw it away after a few months

  7. joed

    "As is the case with many products, Surface is built by professionals and is intended to be serviced by professionals." - what a load of BS. This device is for true MS fanboys and/or corporate suits that like to look smug but can't stomach Apple kit. And if the Surface won't power on, MS' response is that user should had used OneDrive for all data. I'd never buy one with my own money or use it to store critical but confidential data. The drive can eventually be pulled out but not without utter destruction of the kit. Overpriced, stupid device with flappy keyboard.

  8. Richard Parkin

    Apple warranty page

    It's already been quoted above, but it bears repeating since Apple's warranty page is one of the simplest and clearest:

    Personally I've bought 2 iPhones and 4 iPads all either used or refurbished and all are in the family and still working and with OK batteries.

  9. bed


    If the youtube video of someone else repairing the same tablet/phone as you have looks too complicated, it probably is. However, if it looks doable, with the appropriate tools it might be. The USB port on my phone needs replacing (it charges OK, but the data pins are probably bent) but access requires an almost complete dismantle. The same problem on a Samsung tablet was, in comparison, an easy fix. Replacing the screen on a Dell laptop involved an almost complete dismantle (hinges buried inside and various ribbon cables need detaching) an HP laptop was a quick fix. Eventually, when we get used to not having headphone or USB sockets (bluetooth, wireless charging, data synced with cloud), I dare say the devices will become completely sealed and disposal will be the only option.

  10. Conundrum1885

    Re. stubborn phones

    Changed USB port on an S3 Neo, though it charges the data pins do not work.

    One thing I would like to see is genuine batteries available for older devices as these are getting hard if not impossible to find.


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