Apple to allow users right to repair, amid growing regulatory pressure in the west

Apple to allow users right to repair, amid growing regulatory pressure in the west
Photo Credit: Pixabay
18 Nov, 2021

Amid growing pressure from regulators around the world, Apple has decided to provide users the right to repair their own devices. The company said that the new self-service repair program is meant for iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models right now, and will start from next year. It will be available in the US first but will expand to other countries throughout 2022. Macs with the company’s new M1 chips will also be part of the self-service program later. Prices of Apple’s parts and components will be revealed when the program begins.

“Self Service Repair is intended for individual technicians with the knowledge and experience to repair electronic devices. For the vast majority of customers, visiting a professional repair provider with certified technicians who use genuine Apple parts is the safest and most reliable way to get a repair,” the company said in an announcement.

Consumer technology companies, including Apple, have often been criticised for making their devices too difficult to repair without expensive and professional help. In July, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order, which directed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop electronics companies from putting limitations on independent repairs and promote do-it-yourself repairs.

While the right to repair movement hasn’t gained steam in India, it has been significant in the west. In September, environmental activists filed a shareholder proposal with Apple, raising concerns about its “restrictive” repair policies.

“Investors are extremely concerned about Apple’s disingenuous combination of promoting environmental sustainability while inhibiting product repair,” said Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Investing. “The company risks losing its reputation as a climate leader if it does not cease its anti-repair practices,” he added.

Apple isn’t the only company looking to make repairs simpler either. In October, rival Microsoft also resolved to commission a third-party study into its device’s repairability, seen by many as a precursor to making them easy to repair. Like Apple, Microsoft also faced a shareholder proposal shortly before making the decision.