If there’s one company that used to embody the concept of being against self-repairs, it’s probably Apple. The company was notoriously hostile against third-party repairs, especially in recent years. But it’s also looking to tone down its rhetoric and look better for self-repair enthusiasts, especially against increasingly more pressing legislation. Now, Apple will be backing the US government’s intentions to make right-to-repair the law of the land.
After California’s right-to-repair law passed with Apple’s backing, the company announced that it would also back a nationwide bill. Brian Naumann, Apple’s vice president for service and operation management, said that “we intend to honor California’s new repair provisions across the United States,” confirming that Apple’s compliance with California’s law will extend nationwide, with the company making parts, tools, and documentation available to whoever needs them. He also added that “Apple also believes that consumers and businesses would benefit from a national law that balances repairability with product integrity, usability, and physical safety.”
While there is currently no nationwide right-to-repair law gaining traction in either the Senate or the House of Representatives, the White House has started to push for it and recognize right-to-repair as a consumer issue. Lots of states are following California’s lead and have passed right-to-repair laws of their own, while others are debating similar bills, so it’s just a matter of getting Congress to pick up the issue now to make right-to-repair nationwide once and for all.
However, while Apple is backing this, the commitment also needs to come in hand with a commitment to make its devices actually more repairable. While you can technically get parts for your iPhone and fix it yourself, any parts you buy actually need to be validated with Apple through its internal systems, making the process more complicated and closing the door to things such as repairs using second-hand parts (since it needs to check whether you actually bought the part rather than just verifying it). It’s something that iFixit has complained about, and so have other users.
We’re definitely glad to see Apple turn the ship here, but there’s a lot that needs to improve.