Fairphone and iFixit are glad to announce that the Fairphone 3 has received the top repairability score of 10/10. The recently released modular phone is—besides the Fairphone 2—the only phone worldwide to receive this score from iFixit. At a time when the ICT sector is becoming an increasingly large contributor to worldwide CO2 emissions iFixit and Fairphone highlight the environmental benefits of being able to repair smartphones and the importance of companies working towards that goal.
The Fairphone 3 is designed to be a long-lasting companion that’s easy to care for. It’s as modular as its predecessor—which was, in fact, the world’s first modular phone design concept that became reality. iFixit gave the Fairphone 3 the same top marks as for the Fairphone 2 due to a number of reasons:
- Fairphone 3 sticks with the company’s principles of modularly designed phones. Besides the battery and screen, the phone consists of another five modules, which makes it easy to repair the phone. They can all be removed with a Phillips screwdriver. Plus, the back cover is slightly easier to remove than it was in the Fairphone 2.
- No glue involved: The display of the Fairphone 3 is fixed with Phillips screws. While Fairphone left out product accessories most people have at home already, like a charging cable, they included the one screwdriver needed to ease the opening process.
- It takes slightly longer to open the Fairphone 3 compared to its predecessor, which had a sliding mechanism instead of screws, but the display being fixed with screws results in a more robust phone.
Being able to open a phone quickly is just one aspect of its repairability though. Other key aspects are openly accessible repair information and spare parts. The lack of repair documentation provided by manufacturers was one reason why iFixit was founded, and the collaboration of Fairphone with iFixit and other local partners is a rarely seen commitment of a company to make it as easy as possible for users to buy spare parts online, and to have access to repair guides and high-quality repair video tutorials. Ifixit published a teardown of the Fairphone 3 online.
iFixit’s Managing Director Matthias Huisken concludes:
» Made for service and repair, the Fairphone 3 is easily accessible to everyone. It provides a bold alternative to smartphone business as usual. It is no less than a beacon for much-needed change in the electronics industry. And as someone has said so very well: If it exists, it is possible. «
Keeping smartphones longer has clear environmental benefits
Both companies highlight the fact that repairability helps users to keep their phones for longer, which in turn also has environmental benefits and reduces CO2 emissions. This was initially exemplified by the Fairphone 2, which was Fairphone’s first modular phone. The life cycle assessment of the Fairphone 2 showed a 30% reduction of global warming potential due to the fact that it is easy to keep Fairphone 2 longer by maintaining and repairing it. Even with conservative repair scenarios, that involve changing the battery multiple times and repairing parts of the phone during these 5 years – keeping the modular Fairphone 2 longer still enables a reduction of 30% emissions. This is due to the fact that most of the emissions are caused during the production phase. Therefore, increasing the lifespan of the Fairphone 2 resulted in saving emissions.
Most smartphones are still very difficult to repair and the ICT sector is now a major contributor to CO2 emissions. While the ICT sector represented 1% of the global carbon footprint in 2007, it has about tripled in recent years and is on the way to exceed 14% by 2040. That would represent half the amount of carbon output that the entire transportation industry is emitting. Making smartphones easier to repair and enabling longer use times, for instance by making them modular, could help to counteract this global trend.