How Does the JRC Approach to Repairability Scoring Differ from iFixit’s?


On the subject of repairability scoring, iFixit isn’t the one recreation on the town anymore. Along with the French Repairability Index, the European Fee’s Joint Analysis Heart (JRC) additionally supplies a set of standards and a rubric for scoring the repairability of many gadget sorts, together with shopper electronics. It’s doubtless that the JRC methodology will turn into the norm for smartphone scoring in Europe in 2023, and thus can have an vital function in how we talk about repairability.  

However not all repairability scores are created equal. So what’s the distinction? Let’s evaluate iFixit’s scoring method with the JRC repairability scoring methodology for smartphones and tablets. 


iFixit’s scoring methodology and the JRC’s methodology have comparable targets: each intention to assist customers make knowledgeable buying choices. At iFixit, we inform folks on how shortly and simply an finish consumer may restore their very own gadget at dwelling, and our scores additionally assist producers of their efforts to design extra repairable merchandise. In distinction, the objective of the JRC’s scoring methodology is to evaluate to what diploma the European ecodesign necessities for smartphones and tablets are met.

The Scoop on Scope

As all the time, scoring repairability is complex—there’s lots to contemplate, and multiple legitimate method. The iFixit and JRC scoring strategies differ in scope: every considers completely different repairability features, precedence components, restore brokers, and timelines in calculating a rating. So whereas each scores characterize general product repairability, they issue in several components alongside the best way.

By way of restore features, each strategies issue within the product design, the availability of spare components, and restore info. The JRC methodology additionally contains the provision of software program updates over time—which, on the time of this writing, iFixit’s rating doesn’t. 

In each strategies, merchandise are assessed primarily based on their precedence components. These are parts with a excessive probability of failure all through their lifespan, that are vital to the performance of the product. Each strategies think about the next precedence components for smartphones: the show meeting, battery, again cowl or enclosure, entrance and rear cameras, exterior charging port, and mechanical buttons. For foldable telephones, the JRC additionally considers the hinge meeting a precedence half. These variations end in completely different weights—every system weights the precedence parts otherwise—and the larger the variety of precedence components assessed, the much less every particular person half contributes to the ultimate rating. 

The restore brokers—that’s, who performs the restore—thought-about in every scoring system overlap, however are barely completely different. At iFixit, we consider the restore ecosystem accessible for self-repairers, on the idea that DIY restore allows all ranges of restore (in-house technicians, licensed service suppliers, impartial restore outlets, and so forth.). In distinction, the JRC methodology explicitly considers each customers {and professional} repairers.

One closing notable distinction in scope is the timeline. Each iFixit and JRC use knowledge accessible on the time of the evaluation. Moreover, the JRC considers the producer’s dedication to make info, spare components, and software program updates accessible over time. Producers should attest to the provision of data, spare components, and software program updates that align with the minimal necessities (e.g. 5 years for all precedence components in smartphones). At iFixit, seeing is believing, so we attempt to confirm what’s truly accessible to us and different would-be DIYers. When the scenario is in flux, comparable to close to a brand new product launch, we generally award provisional credit score for OEMs who’ve a robust monitor file of constructing components and knowledge accessible, or who’ve made credible commitments to take action—however the rating isn’t closing till we are able to order an element and full the restore ourselves.  

The Devils within the Particulars—Standards, Subcriteria, and Weights

At a excessive stage, the iFixit and JRC strategies are considerably comparable in that they each stem from the European standard EN45554, which supplies a framework for assessing repairability. Nevertheless, the scoring rubrics—together with the weights of every standards—are completely different. iFixit’s aggregated rating is a quantity from 0 to 10, the place 10 signifies the most effective rating and a straightforward restore. The JRC rating is completely different, starting from 1 to five—the place 1 signifies that the minimal necessities are met, and 5 means the necessities are exceeded. Determine 1 depicts the standards and weighting for every scoring methodology. 

iFixit vs. JRC
Determine 1 – Visible overview of iFixit’s and JRC’s scores, predominant standards, and subcriteria

Product Design 

Product design accounts for 80% of iFixit’s rating. It’s assessed by disassembling and reassembling the product to exchange every precedence half, whereas recording common time intervals—often known as proxy instances—related to every motion required alongside the best way.. Every proxy time is multiplied by a correction issue for the kind of instruments required, and extra time is added for every instrument change wanted. The ensuing instances are weighted and scaled for every precedence half, after which mixed with different elements within the general rating.

The JRC methodology assigns a weight of 55% to product design, which is additional divided into three subcriteria: disassembly depth (25%), sort of fasteners (15%), and the kind of instruments wanted (15%) for every precedence half. Disassembly depth is measured by the variety of “steps” to achieve the precedence half, and a rating is assigned primarily based on the variety of steps. The best ranking, a rating of 5, is assigned when there is just one step. Greater than 15 steps would rating 1 level. The sorts of fasteners are categorized by whether or not they’re reusable (5 factors) or solely detachable (1 level). Lastly, the sorts of instruments wanted to disassemble the product to entry the precedence half are sorted and scored in keeping with particular classes, starting from no instruments (5 factors), to primary instruments, instruments equipped with alternative components, instruments equipped with the product, and commercially accessible instruments (1 level).

Spare Half Availability

Accessing the damaged part is just half of a restore—to achieve success, you even have to have the ability to set up a suitable alternative. For a full rating for spare components availability, iFixit appears for components provided on the market to the general public on the producer’s help web site (or for a hyperlink the place OEM components could also be bought elsewhere). Elements availability accounts for 10% of the iFixit rating. The best rating is awarded when replacements for all precedence components are on sale on the time of study, with no particular person half costing greater than 25% of the retail worth of the gadget. The bottom rating is assigned when none can be found. 

The JRC methodology takes a barely completely different method, assigning the bottom rating (1 level) to the minimal ecodesign requirement, which is that each one precedence components can be found to skilled repairers and the show meeting can also be accessible to finish customers. The rating will increase in tiers primarily based on further components being accessible to all customers. If the show and battery could be bought by finish customers, then the rating is 2 factors. If the again cowl can also be accessible, it goes to three factors. When alternative components for cameras may also be bought, 4 factors. When all precedence components can be found to each finish customers {and professional} repairers, the rating is 5 factors. Spare components must be accessible for five years (6 years for tablets) after inserting the final unit of the mannequin available in the market, and are required to be delivered inside 5 working days. Producers are additionally requested to reveal the pricing of the spare components, and can’t increase the worth of components after inserting the product available on the market. 

Restore Info

One other 10% of the iFixit rating goes to restore info and documentation. iFixit assesses whether or not restore info is free and publicly accessible on the producer’s help web site. Restore documentation ought to comprise an exploded view of the product, a listing of numbered or suitable components, and restore directions for every precedence half. iFixit additionally checks for instruments lists, troubleshooting info, and schematics. The best rating is assigned when all info is full, and the bottom when no info is publicly and freely accessible. 

The JRC scores restore info primarily based on the variety of restore brokers to which it’s accessible, the associated fee, and the content material. Restore info is anticipated to be accessible for 7 years after the final mannequin is available on the market. A rating of 1 is assigned when restore info is on the market at a “cheap” worth to registered skilled repairers. A rating of three means the knowledge is on the market to registered skilled repairers without spending a dime. The best rating, 5, is assigned when restore info is free for each skilled repairers and finish customers.  

The JRC system additionally requires a listing of needed restore and take a look at gear, diagnostic fault and error info (together with manufacturer-specific codes), part and prognosis info (together with min and max theoretical values for measurements), directions for software program and firmware, info on entry knowledge information of reported failures, process for consumer authorisation of components alternative when required for a restore, and the software program instruments, and firmware.

Different Elements

Restore is a solution to lengthen longevity, giving your gadget a brand new lease on life—however it could nonetheless be short-lived if software program help dries up prematurely. So despite the fact that it’s not strictly a part of the restore course of, the JRC additionally checks the length of software program updates from the producer—each for performance (i.e. new OS and have updates) and for safety. The JRC’s minimal requirement is for five years of safety updates, and three years of performance updates. The utmost rating is reserved for gadgets with safety updates for a minimum of 7 years and performance updates for six years. iFixit doesn’t at present consider software program updates when calculating repairability scores, but it surely’s an space of lively curiosity and we might incorporate a scoring methodology for this sooner or later.

One latest main addition to the iFixit scoring rubric is for components pairing and calibration points. Ideally, putting in an similar alternative half ought to be sufficient to finish your restore. But when it doesn’t work appropriately as a result of the producer withholds the instruments wanted to initialize, pair, or calibrate the brand new half, it’s typically the identical as no restore in any respect. Units that exhibit no components pairing points in iFixit’s exams won’t see their scores affected—however the penalty could be extreme if a number of repairs are hobbled by these sorts of issues.

Conclusion: It’s Difficult 

The iFixit and the JRC scoring strategies share many features, however are two completely different methods. They each stem from the EN45554 customary, and so they each think about product design, the provision of spare components, and restore info as key features in assessing the repairability of a tool. Each are nice instruments for evaluating a product’s repairability. Nevertheless, their targets, scope, standards, and emphasis (weights) differ. Additionally they differ in how they really implement the calculation of the rating.  They usually combination into completely different ranges, presenting completely different scales for the buyer to contemplate: iFixit’s ranges from 0 to 10, with 10 being greatest or best to restore, whereas the JRC scores from 1 to five, the place the bottom signifies that solely the minimal necessities specified by the ecodesign regulation are met.

TL;DR: whereas iFixit and the JRC each rating repairability, the scores and outcomes usually are not comparable between strategies.  They serve completely different functions.

iFixit’s scoring methodology, with its larger emphasis on product design and DIY restore, could also be extra informative each for product designers and for customers who’re eager about buying {hardware} they will doubtlessly repair themselves. Whereas the JRC methodology produces scores within the vary of 1-5, iFixit’s 0-10 scale supplies further granularity which will higher assist customers consider roughly comparable gadgets when making buying choices. However, the JRC methodology considers some further standards comparable to length of software program and safety updates that could be extremely related for long-term buying choices, which aren’t at present folded into iFixit’s repairability scoring methodology (however may definitely be thought-about sooner or later). The JRC methodology additionally considers a minimum of some restore sources which are solely accessible to skilled restore technicians, which is exterior the scope of iFixit’s DIY-centered scoring methodology.

The professionals and cons of every methodology may very well be debated indefinitely, however in the end, each are helpful instruments for studying about how repairable a tool is. Like all complicated methods, there isn’t a good solution to seize all the weather of restore in a single system. These methods proceed to evolve—keep tuned for updates—and refine how they deal with restore matters and distill that info for public consciousness. 

We’ve made it our ongoing mission to coach customers round repairability and to empower them with instruments and knowledge every time we are able to. As our information and expertise grows, we’ll proceed to share what we study that can assist you make extra repairable decisions and repair the world.  


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