Recently a number of big phone companies have started making it easier for customers to repair their own devices — rather than trying to make them rely on pricey first party repairs. Samsung U.S. got started with self-repair over the summer, and a new trademark filing (opens in new tab) suggests there may be some improvements on the way.
Samsung Galaxy S21 series
Samsung Galaxy S20 series
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+
The filing suggests that Samsung could be expanding its self-repair program (opens in new tab), part of which involves launching a dedicated support app. Called Self-Repair Assistant, the filing revealed that the app is to provide “consultancy and information services relating to [the] self-installation, self-maintenance, and self-repair…” of mobile devices.
From the sounds of things, that means the Self-Repair Assistant will be your go-to resource to figure out how to repair your phone yourself. Currently self-repair resources come from iFixit, a long-time advocate of home repair that has also partnered Google (opens in new tab).
It’s not clear what a dedicated Samsung repair app would mean for the company’s iFixit partnership. Given the site’s extensive library of repair guides, severing ties seems like a waste. However, being able to load up a repair app, assuming you have a separate device, might help simplify the process and help make the self-repair program more visible along the way.
Sadly, the filing is remarkably sparse on details, beyond a potential app icon that would appear on users’ phones. But we suspect that the bare minimum would see the app feature repair guides and features that lets users buy the tools and parts they need.
iFixit does offer all these services for a variety of handsets, Samsung included, so it’s not like Samsung would be offering something new and unique. Still, a standalone app could streamline the repair process for whatever Samsung products are included in the program.
The right to repair movement is gaining momentum
At the moment included phones are the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, the Samsung Galaxy S20 range and the Galaxy Tab S7+. But more options could be on the way, according to the trademark filing, including smartwatches and earbuds.
iFixit has previously noted (opens in new tab) that Samsung has a fairly good track record of repairable earbuds, but that's not true for everyone — least of all Apple. Here’s hoping that by offering resources to repair earbuds at home, it prompts other companies to take reparability into consideration on future offerings.
While a trademark filing is no guarantee this app will ever be available to the public, it is a very good sign. Phone companies have a reputation for resistance when it comes to the right for consumers to repair their own devices, with Apple being one of the most notorious opponents. The fact that Samsung could be putting more resources into its self-repair program means it’s not just giving us the bare minimum.
Given Samsung’s position as one of the most popular Android phone brands, it's easy to foresee rivals on our best Android phone list following suit. Maybe one day a phone’s ease of repair will be a feature that’s heavily featured in the marketing of flagship phones. Wouldn’t that be something?