Our Scariest Repair Moments, Surface Laptop 3 and Pixel 4 Teardowns — Repair Radio Episode 16

On this episode of Repair Radio, we tell our scariest repair stories in celebration of Halloween, and iFixit teardown engineer Taylor Dixon makes another appearance to talk about our Surface Laptop 3 and Pixel 4 XL teardowns.

How to Listen

Hosts: Craig Lloyd, Kevin Purdy, and Whitson Gordon
Special Guest: Taylor Dixon
Music: Gypsy (@ArchaicsHipHop), Biz Baz Studio

News Topics

  • The Battle of Boston: Manufacturers War With Fixers at Repair Bill Hearing: Jacquilyn Gonzalez-Johnson’s family has broken two iPhone XRs in the last three months. But even though her husband runs a professional repair shop, she had to drive two hours, without phone service, to the nearest Apple Store that could fit her in. Gonzalez-Johnson spoke at Monday’s hearing on a Right to Repair bill in Massachusetts. Her story was the one that, if you don’t have 3 hours for all the hearing’s testimony, you should hear.
  • Here’s the Secret Repair Tool Apple Won’t Let You Have: No mere mortal, lacking Apple’s stamp of approval, can completely fix the company’s products. You can do a lot, but in the newest iPhones, you can’t restore Touch ID, install a new battery, or replace a screen without a warning. Trying to replace core Mac parts can trigger a lock-out. No sacrifices or incantations can overcome this.
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Teardown: Surface Laptop teardowns have historically been a painful business—but with the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft hinted that something is very different. Is it a good idea to try this again? We say put away your tools and let the professionals try this one first. Oh wait, that’s us.
  • Google Pixel 4 XL Teardown: This year’s Pixel phones were leaked into oblivion, so when the keynote finally came, the internet gave a collective shrug. But you know what wasn’t leaked? The insides! And there’s only one way to get to get to those—with a teardown!

Listener Questions

John K. on Twitter asks: “Is contact cleaning a thing still? Recommendations?”

It is a thing! Dirty contacts isn’t as much of a problem in newer phones, but in general, making sure not to get finger oils on contact surfaces is a good idea. If you need to use a contact cleaner, a bit of isopropyl alcohol goes a long way.

“PH000” asks in an email: “What is the chip under the display in the iPhone 11 Pro that you showed in the live teardown?”

That is a Samsung display power management integrated circuit. We’ve updated our teardown with that information!

Have a Question You Want Answered on Repair Radio?

You can email your repair questions to repairradio@ifixit.com, or tag us on Twitter and include the hashtag #RepairRadio in your tweet. Your question can be anything repair-related, whether it’s how to fix something, tools you should buy, maintenance advice, or anything in between. We’ll pick some of our favorite questions and answer them on the podcast! And if you have general feedback about the podcast, we’d love to hear that as well!