Apple Supports Right to Repair Bill in California

Apple has made headlines for lobbying against right to repair laws in recent years, but this week the company decided to express support for California's Right to Repair Act, SB 244.

Apple Self Service Repair Program iPhone
As noted by repair site iFixit, Apple yesterday sent a letter to California senator Susan Talamantes Eggman urging the California legislature to adopt the bill.

SB 244 would require companies to provide customers with the tools to diagnose and repair consumer electronics and appliances. Apple has already launched a Self Service Repair program for iPhones and Macs, with this program offering customers repair kits, repair manuals, and components for repairs.

Apple likely meets the requirements of SB 244 with the Self Service Repair program and with the repair programs that it has for repair shops, including options to become Apple Authorized Service Providers and to receive parts through the Independent Repair Provider Program.

California's bill also says that service and repair facilities that are not authorized repair providers for a company must disclose if they're using replacement parts that are used or not from the manufacturer. That means an independent iPhone repair shop in California would be required to source parts from Apple or to inform customers that device repairs are done with counterfeit components or used parts.

Further, the bill has a component that prevents manufacturers from being required to make tools, parts, and documentation available for any component that would disable or override antitheft security measures, which would encompass features like Face ID.

Independent repair shops already have the option of purchasing components from Apple, but have complained that Apple forces them to sign invasive contracts. As for the ‌Self Service Repair‌ Program, the kits and components that Apple sells are not much more affordable than simply getting a repair from an Apple Store.

In its letter, Apple said that it would continue to support the bill so long as it provides "protections for customers and innovators." Apple highlights specific components of the bill that encompass the protections that it prefers.

Assurances that the bill would not threaten consumer safety and data security by requiring that manufacturers allow repair providers to disable device security features, many of which have been requested by law enforcement agencies and required by law to thwart theft,

Focus on requiring manufacturers obligations to provide the documentation, tools, and parts to enable the repairs performed by authorized repair channels, as opposed to a broader undefined scope of repairs which may compromise consumer physical safety, repair reliability, and device integrity,

Requirements that repair providers disclose the use of non-genuine or used parts, and

Prospective application that would allow manufacturers to focus on building new products that comply with the proposal.

Apple has not in the past supported Right to Repair legislation, but SB 244 is not as open-ended as some of the past repair bills that states have promoted, and is not a free pass for repair shops as it includes consumer protections that prevent repair facilities from surreptitiously using substandard repair components. The bill would require components, repair manuals, and other necessary repair information to be made available for seven years for any product that costs more than $99.99, a move that would also undoubtedly benefit California customers. The full letter that Apple sent in support of the bill is available to read on Scribd.

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Top Rated Comments

JPack Avatar
11 months ago

Further, the bill has a component that prevents manufacturers from being required to make tools, parts, and documentation available for any component that would disable or override antitheft security measures, which would encompass features like Face ID.
There's the loophole right there.

Apple is currently electronically serializing every component in their devices, including the battery for "anti-theft" purposes. Apple has already serialized the lid angle sensor on MacBooks, meaning you can't replace the simple magnetic switch without going through Apple or an ASP.

Who is stealing a lid switch? Who is hacking a MacBook through the lid switch?

Pretty soon, the iPhone back glass, USB-C port, and the individual keyboard key caps will be serialized for "anti-theft."

So sure, Apple supports the heck out of this bill.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
11 months ago

Thanks right to repair bros for forcing me to pay for something most people won't use. ?‍♂️

Right to repair folks are insufferable.
What the anti-right to repair bros fail to realize is that by making something easier to repair, it can also mean easier to upgrade. That can save you money since you won't have to pay Apple's ridiculous memory and storage upgrade prices... back when you could upgrade the RAM and storage. Instead of Apple forcing you to buy upgrades from them, you would be able to get aftermarket upgrades at a significant discount.

Example:

https://www.macrumors.com/2020/08/05/third-party-ram-27-inch-imac-more-affordable/

To max out the RAM at checkout, Apple charges an additional $2,600, which is like buying another whole ‌iMac‌. Fortunately, the memory in the 27-inch ‌iMac‌ is user-replaceable thanks to the easily-accessible memory backdoor slot, and there are far more affordable options available from third parties.

OWC offers 128GB of DDR4 PC4-21300 RAM that's compatible with the 27-inch ‌iMac‌. The total cost on Amazon is $599.99, or $2,000 less than Apple charges its customers. These are the OWC memory upgrade kits available, compared to the prices that you'd pay when purchasing an ‌iMac‌ from Apple:

128GB (4 x 32GB DIMMs) – $599 at Amazon ($2,600 at Apple checkout).
64GB (4 x 16GB DIMMs) - $269 at Amazon ($1,000 at Apple checkout).
32GB (2 x 16GB DIMMs) - $135 at Amazon ($400 at Apple checkout).




Peoples needs change over time. Not everyone can anticipate what their future needs/use case will be. By making Macs easy to upgrade, you can save money by upgrading it down the road if needs/use case changes vs buying a new one.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
meltman Avatar
11 months ago

Too bad it probably increased the base price of Apple products (or took away features so that Apple can keep their margins)

What some people completely fail to understand is that providing service and designing for right to repair isn't magically "free". There's a cost to it.

Thanks right to repair bros for forcing me to pay for something most people won't use. ?‍♂️

Right to repair folks are insufferable.
You realize that companies that make their products easier to repair reap the benefits of that situation too right?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trusso Avatar
11 months ago

Thanks right to repair bros for forcing me to pay for something most people won't use. ?‍♂️
You're very welcome. I will gladly pay more taxes or a premium for products if that means better services and products that do less to harm the environment. I'm glad you feel the same. ;)

Although Right to Repair might increase the cost of doing business (or it might not), there's no evidence that Apple has passed that cost onto their customers. They can, but before you going swinging for the bleachers, I'd like to see at least an attempt to cite a source and not just blow smoke.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
11 months ago

Apple Supports Right to Repair Bill in California
?

*looks at calendar*

Nope. It's not April 1st.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
11 months ago

You really like to upgrade a years-old device w/ 128GB ram? For what reason?
?‍♂️

That was just to illustrate the huge price discrepancy between what Apple charges and what you can get from an aftermarket supplier, and how much you'd save.

And just because that iMac is years-old doesn't mean it cannot meet the needs of someone today. Maybe the 8GB of RAM isn't enough anymore and someone wants to upgrade it to 64GB. A 64GB upgrade now costs $65 from Amazon.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)