Get involved in Repair Data with MobiFix! 🐳

We have a new way to get involved with community repair data in a new online task - fault categorisation, this time for mobiles :phone:.

Have a go here: MobiFix :whale: and read on for more info :arrow_down:

Volunteers collect data about the devices that are brought into our repair events. The data is uploaded to and shared as open data .

:bulb: To enable community repair to contribute to upcoming policy discussions on the right to repair for smartphones, we want to see what types of faults are commonly encountered.

So we’d like to analyse the data collected so far, to learn about key faults seen at repair events - and this is where you can help!


MobiFix is a web app that collects opinions about the type of faults in smartphones brought to community events such as Restart Parties and Repair Cafés.

What do I do?

MobiFix loads a single random record that describes a faulty mobile brought along to a repair event. Here’s what you can do:

  • First, read the info about the device and the recorded problem.
  • Then, click/touch the main fault type you think it might be. You are presented with suggestions that we think it might be based on the text - but you can also select another fault type from the list below.
  • Once you’ve selected the fault type, then press ‘Go with [your fault type]’’ or the ‘G’ key.
  • If you are not sure what the fault type is, press the ‘ I don’t know, Fetch another repair ’ button or ‘ F ’ key to load another one.

That’s it! Keep going through as many as you like - we think it’s a really fun way to discover the data. Remember - every single fault you see is an item brought to a repair event and looked at by a fixer. :hammer_and_wrench:

Why mobiles?

All kinds of small electrical and electronic devices are brought to repair events. Right now we are focusing on repair data about smartphones because the EU is currently conducting a “preparatory study” leading to proposed ecodesign regulation on smartphones’ repairability. The data we collect at repair events is unique, as it tells the story of real people attempting to repair their products. Sorted through MobiFix, it will provide policymakers with useful information which currently can’t be accessed anywhere else.

Read more about why we collect repair data.


click here to see Frequently Asked Questions

:question: Do I need an account?

No - you don’t need to sign up to to play MobiFix. We’d love it if you did create an account though, and tell us what you think. You can then also get involved in events, data collection and discussions about community repair.

:question: What if there’s not enough info to decide on a fault type?

Sometimes it can be hard to choose a fault type because there is not a lot of information recorded. The data has come from a lively, sociable community repair event where volunteers are busy trying to fix things and don’t always have the time to write down a lot of the detail.

Don’t worry if you can’t decide - just press “I don’t know”. It is in fact very useful for us to know where we lack information as we are looking for ways to improve our data collection.

:question: What do you do with my answers?

They are pooled together to see if we can reach consensus on the problem we saw during a particular repair attempt. Once we have a good level of confidence in the faults, we can use this information to help complement existing knowledge on why things fail and what are the barriers to repair.This will feed into campaign work for the Right to Repair.

:question: This is cool! Any other stuff I can do?

Yes! FaultCat :cat: and MiscCat :smirk_cat:. There are also lots of other ways to get involved with our data work.

:question: What if I find something weird or have a suggestion?

Please share it in this discussion :slight_smile: :arrow_down: (you will need an account to do so)


Nice! Could you add another category “physical damage other than screen” to cover e.g. “broken housing” and “liquid damage” to cover the ones dropped in a puddle/bath/toilet?


We have around 1200 mobiles in the Fixometer (where there’s enough problem text to make a choice on a fault type). If we can get somewhere around 3000 opinions in MobiFix we should be doing pretty well for consensus on the faults for them - let’s try and get there by the end of July!

Great question Ian! - indeed so, we’ll be revisiting the fault types after a first pass and more than likely be adding new ones in. So please do suggest new ones. We’ve started with a first set from a partner organisation with an existing set of fault types.

And can I downvote the suggestions which appear wrong, e.g. when the description of the problem includes “mic” why wouldn’t I choose “microphone”? image

The “suggestions” functionality is very simplistic, it’s not AI! Just searches the problem string for a set of words and pulls up the associated fault types in no particular order. In the above case it found “mic” and “card” - hence the three suggestions about “cards” (sim/memory/storage).

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First to say - MobiFix is very cool! Some suggestions on the few bugs I have managed to spot:

  1. It is only possible to select one option (on Chromium/Ubuntu), but sometimes multiple issues were identified and described. Would it be possible to enable multiple issues to be selected in the next version of MobiFix?
  2. Translate function opens in new tab, and doesn’t seem to translate either. Is it possible to have translation on-the-page. Also, provide option on which platform to use to translate (e.g. Bing Translate/Deepl), in addition to Google to give the competition a chance :wink:

Thanks Artur! :slight_smile:

While it is true that sometimes multiple faults are presented we are asking for the Main fault only. Sometimes there is a root cause with multiple side-effects, in which case if it is possible to identify the root cause then that should be selected. Sometimes there are distinct multiple faults in which case perhaps pick the “biggest fault”. In the first version of FaultCat there was an option to choose “Multiple” but really that value is about as useful as “Unknown” so we left it out this time and rephrased the question. The small number of secondary or tertiary faults would likely not be very useful in analysis and reports.

The Translate function was a quick and cheap solution. It seems to translate OK for most people, is it bugging out every time for you or just on some records? Which browser are you using?

If you hover over the Translate button you’ll see that it is only a link with the problem text as the argument, nothing more complex than that.

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Ah that’s a good explanation. In that case it’s working very well particularly when there’s just one match it saves a lot of work finding the category.

I know this is no use for touch, but where a mouse is being used could you provide a tooltip/hover on each selection? In particular there is a distinction between “unknown”=>”I haven’t the faintest idea what the problem is” and “other”=>”there’s a specific fault which doesn’t have a category” which could be explained with hover.

“Liquid damage” seems like it would be a useful category.

Great work Monique!

My favourite problem so far is “Dod had bitten on it” - unfortunately there’s isn’t a selection for “Bitten by Dod” (hopefully a dog not the owner’s Dad) so I was going to choose Unknown but the most obvious thing to have broken is the screen so I chose Screen. Now I see that fault is one of the ones with conflicting opinions Screen/Unknown/Other. Could you change “Other” to “Known cause but no category” or “Cause with no category” to make clearer that it doesn’t mean ‘the fault cause is unknown’ (which is what Unknown means)?


Tooltips are a great idea! The definitions could go into the “info” modal too I guess.

FaultCat had “internal damage” to cover things like dropping devices and accidents with liquids (and “user anger”). The options for mobiles are designed to map to a set of commercial repairers’ fault types and they don’t have anything with a generic “damage” type. You’ll notice that with the exception of “Unknown” and “Other” each fault type is either hardware or software related (except perhaps “stuck booting” which could also be firmware). I think the aim is to target specific components.

Also, prior to confirming the given list of fault_types I ran a term frequency query across the mobile problem text and found only single occurrences of the words “liquid” and “water” so a specific fault type related to liquid was ruled out in order to keep the list concise. Of course other words like “ocean” have turned up! (Possibly toilet, sink, coffee, coke, wine etc.) :smiley:

With regards to more granular fault categorisation, after MobiFix has collected enough majority opinions we could re-run the “Other” and “Unknown” ones with more specific options - if there are enough to warrant doing so. Or we could simply share a spreadsheet and let interested parties enter opinions there.

There are a few other items in the list we may look at refining such as splitting screen problems into “broken glass” and “touchscreen” if possible. Apparently there is interest in knowing which particular camera was at fault also.

When all the votes are in we’ll see what else could usefully be achieved. :slight_smile:


Yes I see what you mean. Might try some sort of tooltip as suggested by @Ian_Barnard, there is always a bit of a trade-off between precise labels and keeping the screen real-estate tight and responsive.

Tooltips are live now! Thanks to @Ian_Barnard and everyone who supplied feedback.

Not every button has a tooltip, quite a few of the labels are pretty self-explanatory, but hopefully the new tooltips will help unravel a bit of confusion for some. :slight_smile:


I get the toaster picture/500 error quite often recently, wasn’t doing that until just now.

That’s strange, its working OK for me. Are you signed in or not? Tried a force-refresh of the page? Are you getting them just for MobiFix or have you tried other pages?

The only thing that changed was adddition of tooltips afaik. I’ve asked @neil to take a look in the logfiles.

EDIT: yep, he’s spotted something, only happening on certain MobiFix records. I’m having a look now.

I was on image and clicked Battery which was already green and Go with Battery and got this:

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Found it and fixed it. Hopefully the only bug! It was a typo in one of the keys of the suggestions array.

Neil has just pushed the fix to prod - just got in before the weekend starts!

Thanks for finding that, I couldn’t actually repeat it in dev but the logfile error pointed the way to the line of code and then it was obvious!

EDIT: I should know by now to “never release on a Friday afternoon” :laughing:


We’re 80% through on classifying the faults on MobiFix!

:whale2: :whale2: :whale2: :whale2: :whale2: :whale2: :whale2: :whale2: :white_large_square: :white_large_square:

With screens and batteries being by far the most common faults so far.

@Data To all the data delvers that haven’t had a go yet - just a couple of hundred opinions away, give it a go and let’s try and finish it off :slight_smile:

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I actually have a question. A few of my friends said they are hoarding their broken old phones which won’t turn on. They don’t want to throw them away because they have valuable metals and rare earths etc. But they don’t want to put them into electrical recycling because they worry about where it ends up and about their personal data (they can’t wipe/reset factory settings because the phone won’t turn on). Now, they also don’t want to pay a lot to a repair shop to wipe it. What’s the best way to go about this wiping? Will your SIM provider do it for free?

Done a few more :slight_smile:

One minor buglet asking for translation of sembla que all� on s’endolla est� xafat i no puc carregar la bateria gave a blank page on oogle translate.

One suggestion for future things like this - might be useful to put a record id on the page so it’s possible to refer to e.g. ‘number 1201 has a problem with translation’. Also maybe mobifix is testing my consistency but I seem to return to the same record relatively often and having an id visible would either reassure me that’s not the case or confirm my suspicion IYSWIM.