How Tech Giants Are Making Cell Phone Repairs a Tall Order!

by James Martin

Ever heard about “planned obsolescence?”

Let us enlighten you. Conceptualized initially in the automobile industry, it is a strategy how manufacturers make it hard for you to repair your cellphones from the third-party repair shops by reducing their lifespan.

Take Apple, for instance. It has the largest market cap of $2.941 Trillion. And for quite some time now, it has been complicating the repairs, consequently making your devices last shorter. Thus, you’d have to buy a new cell phone a lot earlier if you had got it repaired.

This is how tech giants utilize the “planned obsolescence” approach to keep selling more because we keep tossing the old ones – either battery life had diminished, or maybe a more advanced model came out.

So if such big companies have their say, it will only become harder for you to have your phone repaired. They do that by either soldering the screen to the motherboard, unnecessarily gluing components together, or using pentalobe screws that keep third-party technicians at bay.

Without further ado, let’s explore how your phone’s manufacturer is making it hard – if not impossible – for you to mend your phone.

Gluing Parts Together

Manufacturers use glue to hold cell phone parts together instead of screws, and they defend this practice as an effective waterproofing technique. (Yeah, right!)

Whether it is Galaxy ribbon cables or iPhone’s panels, removing components that are glued together is extremely difficult and risky to repair.

But still, how are these glued components separated? You will need heat to loosen the glue to detach the parts. On the flip side, heat can sometimes damage these complex components, so you should be extremely careful.

Expensive Spare Parts – If Ever Available

The unavailability of spare parts is another roadblock in the path of repairing your cell phone. To make it harder for third-party repair stores, cell phone manufacturers either make limited spare parts or do not provide these parts to them.

Even when repair shop POS software intimates that these parts are available in the inventory, they aren’t cheap.

In an ideal world, cellphone repair parts should be readily available for third-party repair stores at an affordable price.

Phones Are Getting More Fragile

Ever wondered, despite advancement in technology, there hasn’t been a decline in shattered phone screens? In fact, broken screens are still the most common damage.

You’d be amazed to learn that the most recent smartphones are built with an expansive glass front. But, unfortunately, this means that these smartphones are prone to breaking. For example, Samsung’s latest S8, designed with edge-to-edge glass on the front and back, has been called “the most fragile phone ever made.”

Where Are the Repair Manuals?

Tech giants go at any length to make their repair manuals unavailable for third-party repair shops. They provide these repair manuals only to their authorized service centers (typically with cell phone repair shop software). Resultantly, costs of repairs go up, which makes it hard for independent repair shops to compete.

Soldering Components Together

Another roadblock that your cell phone repair manufacturers use is batteries are soldered to the motherboard along with fused front panel and display assembly – this roadblock is almost impossible to overcome.

This method makes repairing even more expensively risky – if one component breaks, you have to replace the other one as well. Even worse, there is always a danger of breaking the component during the process. The expense makes it not worth the effort.

Not Offering Replacement Parts

You damaged your phone and need a replacement. What if the option of going to the official repair center is too expensive?

You’ll probably head over to a third-party repair store which can save you a lot of bucks.

But what if it ends up costing you a lot more? – A typical scenario of penny wise pound foolish, isn’t it?

The problem is that the market is flooded with low-quality imitations that don’t perform well. Believe it or not, a cheap battery can even destroy your device or burn down your house.

After you’re done with this ordeal, you’d eventually return to your official repair service center for replacements.

Claiming Repairs Are Impossible

Don’t underestimate your manufacturer’s determination. They are hellbent on reducing your phone’s life.

This time it is their reluctance to repair your device altogether. Their excuse? That certain repairs can’t be done, even when independent shops are perfectly capable of performing them.

For example, Apple won’t help you recover data on a water-damaged iPhone, and they won’t refer you to third-party repair shops that can. In other cases, they may quote a repair price that’s high enough that most customers will just throw up their hands and buy a new device. 

The Path Ahead…

Until the push for the right to repair legislative reform gathers pace globally, consumers will have little choice but to pay up to big companies to access their authorized repair services.

Ideally, phone companies (and others) should assist customers with the repair process by providing replacement parts, repair documentation, and diagnostic tools to third-party repairs, along with keeping the best cell phone repair shop software for better customer service.

Fundamentally, it begs the question; will these tech giants start valuing their customers more than their revenue? I don’t think so!



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