Apple, the world’s most valuable technology company, has announced it will support right-to-repair legislation in the United States. This decision comes after years of criticism from consumer advocates that Apple’s products are overly difficult and costly to repair.
Apple Embraces Right-to-Repair Movement, Agrees to Provide Parts and Tools Nationwide
The move is part of a broader effort by President Biden to increase competition and reduce unnecessary costs for consumers. On Tuesday, Apple said it will make genuine replacement parts, repair tools, and service manuals available to anyone nationwide who wants to fix iPhones and Mac computers. This shift could motivate other tech giants to make similar concessions.
Restrictive repair policies employed widely across the tech industry have driven up costs, limited innovation, excluded independent repair shops, and generated excessive e-waste, according to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan. She explained, “We’ve heard from healthcare workers and hospitals worried that they can’t fix a vital ventilator because the manufacturer refuses to grant them access or parts.”
Apple’s reversal in favor of federal right-to-repair legislation represents a culmination of its gradual shift over recent years toward promoting product longevity and retaining value. The company has increasingly enabled device repairs by distributing components and manuals to select independent shops since 2019. Last August, Apple publicly supported a right-to-repair bill in its home state of California, which compels companies to provide repair shops and customers access to parts, tools, and manuals at reasonable prices.
Brian Naumann, Apple’s Vice President of Service and Operations, conveyed the company’s commitment: “We intend to honor California’s new repair provisions across the United States. Apple also believes that consumers and businesses would benefit from a national law that balances repairability with product integrity, usability, and physical safety.”
National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard commended Apple’s decision and urged Congress to enact nationwide legislation. California, Colorado, New York, and Minnesota have already passed their own right-to-repair bills, with 30 other states introducing similar proposals.
Brainard insisted commitments from major companies like Apple could substantially lower costs for consumers while diverting e-waste from landfills and bolstering small repair businesses across the country. She cited estimates that consumers could save nearly $50 billion per year if they could fix devices themselves. Enabling DIY and third-party repairs could also cut the U.S.’s 7 million tons of yearly electronic waste.
While Apple has supplied spare parts to approved shops since 2019, the California law also mandates providing diagnostic tools, which the company now pledges to do nationally. However, some consumer advocates reacted cautiously, noting Apple’s past reluctance around repairs.
Nathan Proctor, leader of right-to-repair efforts for the advocacy group U.S. PIRG, said his organization will monitor how the policy functions in the real world. “We care about people’s actual experiences. We’ll keep watchdogging Apple and other companies,” he stated.
In summary, Apple’s concession to allow consumers and independent repair shops full access to genuine parts, tools, and manuals nationwide is a major win for the right-to-repair movement. However, advocates remain wary and will keep close watch to ensure Apple follows through on its commitments. If effective, the policy change could significantly benefit consumers, small businesses, and the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the right-to-repair movement?
The right-to-repair movement advocates that consumers and independent repair shops should have access to the parts, tools, and information needed to fix electronic devices. This allows people to repair their own items, promoting affordability, convenience, and sustainability.
How has Apple’s policy changed regarding repairs?
Previously, Apple tightly controlled repairs on its products, only providing genuine parts and manuals to authorized shops. Now Apple has agreed to make parts, tools, and guides available to anyone nationwide who wants to fix iPhones and Macs, embracing right-to-repair principles.
How could this policy change benefit consumers?
Consumers will have more choices for where and how to get Apple devices repaired at likely lower prices. They can go to independent repair shops or perform DIY repairs using genuine Apple parts. This makes repairs more accessible and affordable.
What concerns do right-to-repair advocates still have?
Some advocates remain cautiously optimistic, wanting to ensure Apple fully follows through on providing complete access to anyone who wants to fix devices. They emphasize the need to monitor real-world implementation and hold Apple accountable.
How could the policy change impact sustainability?
If consumers can repair devices, less electronic waste may be generated, diverting items from landfills. Enabling repair extends product lifespan and reduces the resources required to manufacture new items.
Apple permitting open access to parts, tools, and information required for device repairs promises significant benefits for consumers, small businesses, and the environment. However, the true impact depends on how comprehensively Apple fulfills its pledges compared to past shortcomings around right-to-repair. Advocates will keep a close eye on the policy rollout to confirm Apple delivers meaningful change that matches its promises. This marks a major development in the broader right-to-repair movement aimed at empowering consumer device repairs. If effective, it could pressure other manufacturers to follow Apple’s lead.
Blake Steve is an accomplished writer, researcher, and technology expert specializing in product research and reviews. With an extensive background in the field, Blake has developed a keen eye for evaluating and analyzing various products across a wide range of industries.
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