Apple may never open-source their technology, but ifixit.com has announced that they’re releasing their entire collection of guides and illustrative images for Apple computer repair under a Crative Commons licence. The specific license they have opted for means anyone can copy, publish and adapt the guides as long as they acknowledge the original source and don’t use them for commercial purposes. The same will apply to any future material listed on the site.
While the guides have always been free to use, the site hopes the licensing will make it easier for people to put forward improvements and corrections to the details inside. It also says the license is a message that it’s not only OK to translate the guides into other languages, but that doing so is actively encouraged.
As well as the instructions themselves, the license also covers more than 150,000 images designed to make it easier to be sure you are carrying out every step of the repairs correctly. That still doesn’t mean carrying out your own repairs is for everyone, but the guides certainly provide a viable option to paying a hefty sum for an official repair, particularly for something relatively simple such as replacing an iPod battery.
The site’s reasons for making the information available in this way isn’t necessarily what you might expect. It says the idea is to make it easier for people to repair their products rather than needlessly throw them away and buy replacements, thus cutting down unnecessary production and bringing about environmental benefits.
While the information is given away without charge, the site makes its money by selling spare parts. It says this is why it has chosen to block commercial use of the guides as it can’t afford to risk losing business to fellow parts sellers.
As well as producing the repair guides, the site also hosts a series of “teardowns“: a comprehensive project taking an Apple device apart and detailing exactly what parts are inside and where they come from. It’s also great for picking up some nerdy trivia such as the fact that on the latest iMac models, the Apple logo (being the only plastic area in the casing) houses the Wi-Fi antenna.