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Apple Announces Plans to Democratize Repairs and Increase Consumer Access

Apple

Apple has revealed plans to make parts, tools and documentation necessary for repairing iPhones and computers available to independent repair shops and consumers across the United States.

This move comes as Apple backs a national right-to-repair bill, Reuters reported Tuesday (Oct. 24), citing the White House. 

Apple has faced criticism from consumer advocates who argue that its devices are tricky and costly to repair and that the Big Tech giant provides limited support. However, in recent times, Apple has shifted its focus toward promoting the longevity and resale value of its products while simultaneously making repairs more accessible.

In 2019, Apple began distributing parts and manuals to select independent repair shops. Now the company is extending its endorsement to a federal bill, aligning with President Joe Biden’s broader agenda to foster competition, combat excessive fees and empower consumers to exercise greater control over their possessions.

National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard announced Apple’s commitment to the right-to-repair cause in remarks for a White House event, urging Congress to pass legislation mandating these actions nationwide. Brainard highlighted that several states, including California, Colorado, New York and Minnesota, have already enacted right-to-repair laws, while 30 other states have introduced similar legislation.

Apple’s nationwide support for right-to-repair legislation mirrors the provisions of the California law, which requires companies to make parts, tools and documentation available to independent repair shops and consumers at fair and reasonable prices. 

Brainard emphasized that enabling the repair of consumer electronic devices could potentially save American consumers $49.6 billion annually, while also significantly reducing the country’s electronic waste, which amounts to nearly 7 million tons per year. Additionally, this initiative is expected to boost small independent repair shops, fostering economic growth and job creation.

Some consumer advocates have expressed reservations.

Nathan Proctor, who leads the right-to-repair campaign for the advocacy group PIRG, raised concerns about Apple’s previous repair initiatives, which included restrictive contracts for repair shops, per the report. These contracts limited the stockpiling of spare parts, hindering competition with Apple’s own repair services. Proctor said that his group would closely monitor the details of any federal legislation that emerges.

Apple’s announcement comes a month after the launch of its latest line of hardware.

The iPhone 15 and latest version of the Apple Watch were rolled out in retail stores in September. The release included a range of options, such as the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, the new Apple Watch SE, and AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with MagSafe Charging (USB-C).

Additionally, the Big Tech firm is reportedly teasing the launch of its latest Mac computers at a Halloween event later this month.