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You Can Soon Repair Galaxy S21, Other Samsung Devices Yourself

Samsung is launching a program to send out parts, tools and step-by-step guides for Samsung device owners to repair their own phones and tablets.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If your Samsung Galaxy S21 is acting wonky, Samsung says it wants to help you avoid spending lots of money at a repair shop. This summer the company will launch a new program to ship you the parts, tools and repair guides to let you fix your own device.

The program is starting small: Only owners of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 range of devices, and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus tablet, will be eligible at first. The company plans to add more devices, but it declined to say when or which gadgets, like its latest Samsung Galaxy S22 family, would be added first.

Self-repair website iFixit is consulting with Samsung to improve iFixit's repair guides and parts offerings, though the extent of the partnership is unclear. Still, bringing iFixit on board lends the program some cachet given the site's guides and support for consumers' right to repair their own devices. 

Eligible device owners initially will be able to replace their front screens, glass backs and charging ports, with more repair options added at some point in the future. Once new parts are installed, customers are encouraged to return the used parts to Samsung for recycling.

Read more: Samsung's Eco-Friendly CES 2022 Pledge: TVs, Appliances Will Pack Recycled Materials by 2025

Though Samsung is pitching the self-repair program as a more sustainable solution than buying a new phone, it's also convenient for people who want to tinker with their devices. For anyone who doesn't want to go through the trouble themselves, the company still offers a network of authorized repair shops across the US and a same-day repair service including vans that'll visit consumers to fix devices.

Samsung's program comes amid increasing pressure from advocates and governments pushing tech companies to let consumers fix their phones. More than a dozen US states have passed laws supporting right to repair, and US President Joe Biden issued an executive order in July for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the issue. And with the European Union passing a measure a year ago that requires manufacturers of some appliances to provide guides and parts for third-party repair shops, the tide is turning on right to repair. 

Big tech companies are responding to that pressure, and some beat Samsung to the punch. After years of allowing Apple product owners to fix their devices only at Apple Stores and authorized repair shops or have their warranties invalidated, Apple announced its own self-repair program back in November. Sometime this year (Apple hasn't confirmed a launch date), consumers can request their own set of Apple parts to fix their iPhones. 

Read more: Apple's new self-service repair program: What it means for you and your Apple devices