California to Introduce 'Right to Repair' Bill Requiring Smartphone Manufacturers to Offer Repair Info and Parts

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California is preparing to join several other states with a new Right to Repair bill, which will require smartphone manufacturers to provide repair information, replacement parts, and diagnostic tools to product owners and independent repair shops.

California Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman this afternoon announced plans to introduce the new California Right to Repair Act. Eggman says the bill will provide consumers with the freedom to choose a repair shop of their choice.

iPhone X image via iFixit
"The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence," Eggman said.
Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste said smartphone manufacturers and home appliance makers are "profiting at the expense of our environment and our pocketbooks" while Kit Walsh, Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the new bill is "critical to protect independent repair shops and a competitive market for repair," which will lead to "better service and lower prices."

In addition to California, 17 other states have already introduced similar Right to Repair legislation, including Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Several states began introducing Right to Repair legislation early last year, and the Right to Repair movement has continued on since then, spurred by Apple's iPhone throttling controversy.

Since last year, Apple has been lobbying against Right to Repair bills in various states, as have several other technology companies. In Nebraska, for example, Apple said approving Right to Repair would turn the state into a "mecca for bad actors" making it "easy for hackers to relocate to Nebraska." Other arguments from tech companies and appliance manufacturers have suggested Right to Repair bills would compromise device security and safety.

Right to Repair bills are heavily endorsed by repair outlets like iFixit, independent repair shops, and consumer advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In California specifically, the Right to Repair bill is particularly interesting because as Motherboard points out, there are strong repairability laws already in place. California Civil Code Section 1793.03 states that companies must offer parts for repair for at least seven years after a product is released, which is why on Apple's vintage and obsolete products list, it lists California as the sole state where consumers can continue to get repairs on vintage products.

Apple currently requires customers who have Apple products in need of repair to visit an Apple retail store, mail a product to an Apple repair facility, or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to receive support for their devices. Repairs from third-party repair shops that are not Apple Authorized Service Providers can void a device's warranty.

Apple's current flagship iPhone, the iPhone X, earned a repairability score of 6 from repair site iFixit. Repairs on the device require a special Apple-specific screw driver, delicate cables are often in the way and are difficult to replace, and Apple's waterproofing makes repairs complicated. Other Apple products, like MacBooks, have much lower repairability scores.

Article Link: California to Introduce 'Right to Repair' Bill Requiring Smartphone Manufacturers to Offer Repair Info and Parts
 

Appleaker

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2016
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This is great news (unless your Apple), and something I hope continues. I can understand Apples point of view but on a somewhat separate note, they are charging an over the top Apple premium for not only (some) products but essentially all repairs.
 

seanmcbay

macrumors member
Oct 9, 2009
86
277
Good. Hope it passes.

I love advances in tech as much as anyone but I feel like we’re too disposable these days. My parents would repair anything we had if it broke but these days most people just throw away and replace broken electronics. It’s so wasteful.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
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SoCal
Ok, so who is responsible for devices that are "repaired" by third parties who in turn mess them up? At one point or another I have repaired every Phone up through the Phone 6. Usually because myself or my kids broke the screen. I have never had problems getting cheap parts from Amazon, nor any problem with screwdrivers or even replacement screws. BUT the repairs are NOT for the faint of heart, it is tricky, takes time and practice. I happen to have skills in this area so it doesn't bother me; but I wouldn't want to see someone just try and wing it, likely they'll break things worse.

The reality is, Apple's fee for most repairs is not that bad, typically about $100.
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
9,426
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Well.... given how people think about California, I doubt Apple will disclose their repairing information in California anyway, let alone allowing people to repair their phone based on that info without losing warranty.
 

adam9c1

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May 2, 2012
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While I understand the interest in the idea, this will be poorly executed.

What's next? Allow repair laptops to the component level?
If manufacturers will be required to provide every part to replace that will only drive the cost up.

I think Apple to go around this will say device needs to be repaired at Apple or authorized center. Other repairs will void all warranties.
 

shareef777

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Jul 26, 2005
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For those so concerned about Apple and their bottom line. This is no different then an automobile. If I get into an accident and have a 3rd party repair my car, the manufacturer’s warranty still applies. If the manufacturer determines a future defect was due to an improper repair, then they are under no obligation to take care of that part on my car. Though they’re still responsible for the rest. Putting in an aftermarket radio doesn’t mean they aren’t liable for everything else!

Works the same for Apple. If I repair my screen with a 3rd party, that shouldn’t void Apple from any future repair except those pertaining to the screen.
 

MaSx

macrumors regular
Jan 16, 2010
228
134
I swear, sometimes I feel you've got Apple PR reps all over this forums. I would not be surprised one bit if Apple hired people to do that....Wait! they may not need to since we got a lot of sheep in Apple wagon. I have been using iPhone since 3G and continue to buy into it. However, when I hear people complaining about having choices (iPhone SE, iPhone 6, 6 Plus, X) blows my mind away. Like, are you for real? If you don't like the choice then just go do what you usually do, run to Apple store like a sheep.
 

applefan69

macrumors 6502a
Oct 9, 2007
561
167
Alberta
Unfortunately that is part of making things smaller, and more dense. Very very hard to work on. Old TVs easy, the electronics were simple, the system was simple. Today's 4k Smart TV's, there is only so much you can do unless you know how to remove chips off of a circuit board.
I like to think one day we will go full circle & being repairable will become a premium feature. Meaning consumers will pay extra for something engineered to have cake & eat it. We are still working on getting smaller, well now it is more water proof/bigger screens. But soon we will hit a limit, things will be so small & screens so big the only improvement the next generation can offer is to also be repairable. Also maybe consumers should start actively asking for repairability as a feature?

Too optimistic? Yea I think so too.
 

I7guy

macrumors Core
Nov 30, 2013
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I swear, sometimes I feel you've got Apple PR reps all over this forums. I would not be surprised one bit if Apple hired people to do that....Wait! they may not need to since we got a lot of sheep in Apple wagon. I have been using iPhone since 3G and continue to buy into it. However, when I hear people complaining about having choices (iPhone SE, iPhone 6, 6 Plus, X) blows my mind away. Like, are you for real? If you don't like the choice then just go do what you usually do, run to Apple store like a sheep.
Choice is good, but shoddy repair shops could do damage to consumers and Apple.
 

Boatboy24

macrumors 6502a
Nov 4, 2011
993
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1 Infinite Loop
For those so concerned about Apple and their bottom line. This is no different then an automobile. If I get into an accident and have a 3rd party repair my car, the manufacturer’s warranty still applies. If the manufacturer determines a future defect was due to an improper repair, then they are under no obligation to take care of that part on my car. Though they’re still responsible for the rest. Putting in an aftermarket radio doesn’t mean they aren’t liable for everything else!

Works the same for Apple. If I repair my screen with a 3rd party, that shouldn’t void Apple from any future repair except those pertaining to the screen.
So you've swapped out the screen, fine. But where do we draw the line? What if you swap out the OS? Switching out parts may have unintended consequences. I fully support repairability, and have done some battery changes on iPhones myself. But I'm not going to hold Apple responsible if something goes south after I've replaced one of their parts.