New Legislation Aims to Make it Easier for Customers, Indie Shops to Repair iPhones

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Lawmakers in Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts and Kansas have introduced legislation aiming to legalize "Right to Repair" rules for electronic devices, including Apple's iPhone, reports Motherboard. The laws would require manufacturers to sell replacement parts to independent repair shops and customers, and force them to make service and diagnostic manuals public.

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The bills are aimed at diluting the "authorized repair" model that most tech products subscribe to, making electronic device repair more similar to the car repair. The legislation is modeled after the Motor Vehicle Owner's Right to Repair Act, which passed in Massachusetts in 2012. That law effectively became national legislation as auto manufacturers didn't want to bother dealing with different legislation in each state.

The legislators behind the New York bill say that authorized repair shops result in "high repair prices and high overturn of electronic items." Additionally, many independent repair shops end up purchasing parts from Chinese grey markets or taking parts from recycled electronics to compete. This results in raids from the Department of Homeland Security as the independent shops end up unknowingly selling counterfeit parts.

Apple currently runs the Apple Authorized Service Provider Program, which allows companies to obtain Apple-genuine parts, reimbursement for repairs covered by Apple's warranties, a performance-based bonus program, on-the-spot technical service, comprehensive repair information, inclusion on Apple's website and more. However, the program requires businesses to allow Apple to review financial records, maintain high levels of customer service, establish a credit line with Apple and agree to promote the Apple brand and AppleCare. It also does not include individual customers who may want to repair their devices on their own.

The bills are being pushed by Repair.org, a lobbying firm representing independent repair shops. Repair.org tells Motherboard that it is focusing its effort on the New York bill since it's being considered for the third year and even had momentum last year until lobbyists from groups backed by Apple and other manufacturers stepped in to kill the legislation.

Top Rated Comments

Carlanga Avatar
50 months ago

This is completely stupid. If you want to repair your phone, by another brand. If I by ultraHD oled TV panel that is 1/2 inch thick, I don't expect to be able to POP the back open and tinker with it.

Also if my memory serves me, you couldn't really fix your Motorolla Star Tac either.

Nah. Your thinking is not right.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsamacthing Avatar
50 months ago
This is great news for consumers! And Freedom!
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sedulous Avatar
50 months ago

Miniturisation runs counter to "repairability". This legislation is not only offensively stupid, it will be impossible to implement.

I am not sure you get it. Miniaturization doesn't matter. The problem is Apple does not share documentation. It is much harder to diagnose and repair anything when Apple makes it a puzzle.

With documentation, independent repair shops can fix many problems that Apple won't or won't do economically. For example, my 17" MBP died. Apple quoted me nearly $1000 to repair. I managed to get board and circuit schematics and traced the problem to a tiny surface mounted capacitor. It literally cost me $0.25 to replace it. Just this week Apple quoted my cousin $1200 for a logic board replacement. I traced the problem to liquid damage in the keyboard causing the SMC_ONOFF to short. Literally a $23 repair. Without documentation there is no sane way to trace problems and identify/test/repair. In just two examples here, I showed savings of almost $2200 off what Apple Service quoted simply because I had documentation.

Apple clearly has financial motivation to hinder any means for independent repairs. The irony is that Apple does not even seem to use the documentation that it hates to share. They make no attempt to actually repair faulty parts (they throw them out and install whole new part). And with the trend towards ever more integrated components (i.e. soldered SSDs), it is going to get far more expensive to do repairs with Apple.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
50 months ago

Miniturisation runs counter to "repairability". This legislation is not only offensively stupid, it will be impossible to implement.

Miniaturization doesn't preclude repair. Besides the bill is primarily about authorized parts (to prevent gray market counterfeits) and proper repair manuals. A small minority in this thread seems supremely shortsighted and have an unnatural concentration on how this relates to Apple. It's myopic and makes those people seem sort of dumb. This bill is going to primarily affect repair shops that don't have Company X Authorized Repair Services. The guy at home wanting to repair his own electronics is only going to play a small role.

It would not be impossible to implement. The car industry found a way to do it.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sedulous Avatar
50 months ago
It is total crap that Apple seems to be trying to muscle everyone else out of the Apple business. If someone runs a repair shop wants to repair Apple products, they should be able to obtain parts and documentation from Apple. It really shouldn't be any different than the automobile service industry.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sedulous Avatar
50 months ago

There's nothing Apple can do to stop you repairing anything. But there's no compelling legal argument for them to sell your parts, and there's zero reason to honor warranties for repairs done outside of their guidelines.

It's just a little fishy when a guy who claims to save thousands on expensive Mac repairs by merely soldering out a $2 cap, is pining for laws to compel above and beyond corporate assistance. Hint: start a repair business in this easy market niche of non-warranty Apple repair work.

Yeah, I am planning worldwide domination by doing logic board repairs. Look, nobody is saying Apple would have to honor uncertified repair work. As it is, Apple has refused repairs due to cosmetic damage. However it still is the owner's choice. You'd have to be crazy to have repairs done by a third party while under warranty. But that year passes quickly... and people are finding fewer reasons to need to upgrade (MBP late 2016... no thanks).

Here is the damn 2.5V 330µF capacitor that aroused so much of your suspicion. And yes, this single stupid part prevented the entire computer from powering on (it sits in a circuit that kicks "up" the power when power state changes).


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Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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