iFixit’s new “debonding” tool that helps cut the adhesive holding Surface screens. | Image: iFixit
iFixit announced that it has begun selling official Microsoft Surface repair tools — but only for certain service partners. Known for its extensive online tech parts store, the company now manufactures and distributes the Microsoft-designed tools in a partnership that will give businesses and schools more options to fix the popular Surface devices.
This new partnership is not the first OEM deal for iFixit. Motorola has used iFixit as an official source for its OEM smartphone parts, and so has HTC with its Vive — but for the Microsoft Surface, the tools are available only to members of iFixit Pro (the company’s free wholesale program available to businesses) and Microsoft’s partners.
Available tools include a battery cover to protect batteries from getting punctured during repair (preventing fires), a “debonding” cradle to help cut the adhesive holding the screen glass (and prevent accidental over-intrusion), and a weighted frame vise to properly re-adhere a replaced screen.
A weighted frame that helps to bond the adhesive when reinstalling the Surface screen. Works like a vise.
Microsoft Surface tablets and laptops have not been particularly easy to fix in the past. “We’ve given their machines 1’s on our repair scorecard,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens in an email to The Verge. Wiens mentioned how vocal iFixit had been criticizing Microsoft’s designs and irreparability over the years but said Microsoft reached out to the company stating it wanted to improve. This comes at a time when companies like Apple are also working to improve repairability options for customers.
“We were skeptical,” Weins told us, “but Microsoft has consistently stuck with it, and they have systematically worked to improve the repairability of their products.” He also says Microsoft shared best practices for repairing its Surface products and that the knowledge will be shared in the repair guides.
These tools are, unfortunately, only for newer Surface devices like the cracking-prone Surface Laptop 3 (2019) and newer, the easier-to-fix Surface Pro X (2019), the business / education-exclusive Surface Pro 7 plus (2021), and Surface Pro 8 (2021).
When asked if iFixit plans to sell the tools to all customers, Wiens responded, “Our hope is to make these available to the general public, but we don’t have timing that we can announce right now. We’re still trying to gauge demand from the professional community.”
Wiens tells us that the tools are ready to ship worldwide.