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Repairing mobile devices and technology in general has always been a hobby of mine. As a child I was absolutely fascinated with desktop computers and how they functioned. I would spend all night assembling and disassembling them; learning each component and its function. Technology kept my interest and soon I became the person everyone calls for advice when their devices have slowed down, needed to be setup or repaired. These days the bulk of the jobs have shifted away from desktop PC’s and laptops to smartphones and tablets, but the work is the same. Disassemble the broken device, find the bad component and swap it out with a working one. It is an excellent feeling to bring a broken device back to working condition. It not only saves money, but it keeps waste of out landfills as well. It is currently a hobby, but one day I hope to make repairing mobile devices into a lucrative business.

The mobile device repair business has experienced rapid growth in the last few years. IBISWorld, a global business intelligence leader specializing in industry market research, procurement and purchasing research reports, reports there are 2,368 cell phone repair businesses in the United States, with an annual growth rate of 4.9 percent. With more than 20,000 cities nationwide, it can be concluded that there is plenty of room for more cell phone repair businesses. In addition, the online marketplace is virtually unlimited (flipsy.com). The rapid growth in mobile device repair has been largely created by the vast number of mobile devices out there. Nowadays everyone has or wants a smartphone and the market for these devices will not decline any time soon. For 2016, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 198.5 million (Statista.com). Those numbers are massive, especially when you take into account the fact that most are purchased on 2 year contracts and many users upgrade to newer models quite often.

The numbers are not only in smartphones. There has also been a huge popularity increase in tablets since Apple’s iPad debuted in 2010. The success of the iPad has created many competitors like the Microsoft Surface and various Android tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Google Nexus 9 and the Amazon Fire HDX. Another popular market that falls under device repair services are video game consoles. Nintendo currently supports the 3DS, Wii and WiiU, Sony supports the PSP Vita, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 and Microsoft supports the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. As you can see, there are millions of devices in circulation. In today’s technology immersed world, these devices are a big deal and they happen to break– a lot.

There are a number of training options for mobile device repair that include college courses such as Mobile Device Repair and Maintenance, specialized 5 day to a week long classes offered at Wild PCS and Wireless Device Training Center or being self-taught. It is important to know what you are getting into when repairing a device. You would never attempt to fix a car without at least reading the manual beforehand. It is the same for mobile devices. You must be aware of the disassembly process and where to find each component. The internet has simplified this process with websites like iFixit.com. iFixit.com hosts pdf manuals, repair/replacement guides and video tear downs for thousands of devices. It is essential that anyone in the mobile device repair field familiarize themselves with these resources. They are an excellent way to train yourself and keep up to date with current devices.

Once you decide you are going to attempt to fix a broken device the first thing you will need are the correct tools. A complete driver set is most important and frequently used. You will also need a plastic prying tool, razor knife, precision tweezers and a suction cup. All of these tools can be purchased in computer repair tool kits. The tool kit I recommend is called the iFixit Pro Tech Tool Kit. It can be found on the iFixit.com store or Amazon.com for $64.95. The Pro Tech Tool Kit is the industry standard for computer and mobile device technicians and businesses (iFixit.com). It has everything you need to tear down laptops, cellphones and video game consoles. Once you have the correct tools you can move onto the next step, researching your device.

Once you have located the manual for your device and read over the disassembly instructions it is time to begin. You will tear down your device until the bad component can be removed and replaced. This can sometimes be as simple as removing two Phillips screws and using a suction cup to remove the LCD screen, in the case of an iPhone. If you are disassembling a laptop the process can be hundreds of steps. Either way, you must follow each step of the disassembly guide until you have reached the point where you can replace the broken part. After your part has been replaced it is time to reassemble your device. It is important to be mindful and not miss a single step or your device will not work properly.

While mobile device repair can seem tedious and intimidating at first, if you keep at it and develop your technical skills, you will find it will translate into a rewarding and useful hobby or career. There are so many devices out there that a repair market has been created for them by default. Take advantage of it. The device repair industry is booming and there is more than enough room to carve out your niche.