A Cal Poly alum is helping people repair their old phones in order to reduce e-waste –– here’s how


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In 2003, Cal Poly computer science freshman Kyle Wiens accidentally dropped his Apple iBook and broke it. He couldn’t find a repair manual online, so he figured out how to fix the laptop himself — then made a repair manual to share with others. 

Over the past nearly 20 years, Wiens has been co-founder and CEO of iFixit, a company that provides repair manuals, tools and parts for electronics. He has been helping customers repair anything broken ever since. 

“Our mission is to teach everybody in the world how to fix all their things, whether it’s an iPhone or a vacuum,” Wiens said.

Since he founded the company, Wiens has also continued to pressure manufacturers to help their customers do their own repairs and provide manuals as manufacturers try to divert consumers away from repairing their devices with liability and warranty threats.

Wiens’ vision is about to get a step closer to reality beginning in early 2022, as Apple will begin offering its first ever repair manuals, tools and parts to consumers who want to fix their own devices. 

Wiens said that after all the years without providing repair services, Apple finally caved in due to a threat of legislation inspired by the Right to Repair movement, which has gained momentum in recent years as more and more consumers, and organizations like iFixit, have been asking manufacturers and lobbying legislators to encourage manufacturers to give them the right to repair their own devices. 

“Apple puts a secret screw on the bottom of the phone and doesn’t provide any way to get inside,” Wiens said. “I think it’s really insulting to citizens to say, ‘yeah, this is magic and you can’t know what goes on inside.’”

iFixit’s website claims that Apple has the power to “decide when devices go obsolete,” making it more difficult for people to repair their phones and instead influences them to purchase new ones. 

Wiens said he is excited about the initiative and thinks that his company could potentially benefit from Apple’s new information to make their manuals better. 

“We’re excited to welcome Apple to the party,” he said. “We’ve been enabling…