Apple Lends Support To Biden’s Federal Right To Repair Push

Apple has endorsed the Biden Administration’s nationwide right-to-repair regulations, as the iPhone maker continues its shift to support independent repairs in order to prolong the life of tech devices.

The White House announced the tech giant’s support this week, when Apple said it sees “real value” in a national law at a White House event on Tuesday. Microsoft has also added its support.

This is not the first time that Apple has indicated it is shifting from its traditional closed off repair ecosystem.

Image credit: US government

Right to repair

For example in August this year Apple wrote a letter to officially endorse Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman’s Right to Repair Bill in the US State of California.

That bill (SB 244), enhanced California’s warranty law and secures Californians’ right to repair a wide range of consumer electronics and home appliances.

The bill was passed in September this year.

Now the White House in its announcement said that “President Biden knows kitchen table economics matters most for hardworking Americans, and having the basic right to repair electronic devices alone can save a family $400 a year on average.”

Indeed, the White House cited research that suggests that the ability to repair consumer electronics devices could save American consumers $49.6 billion annually, reduce the nearly 7 million tons of annual electronic waste in the US, and support small independent repair shops.

It should be remembered that President Biden had begun taking action on the right to repair in his Executive Order on Promoting Competition of July 2021.

The White House said federal agencies are now taking action to make it easier and cheaper to repair things people own, state legislatures are passing laws across the country, and the private sector is making voluntary commitments, from companies like Apple and Microsoft.

No new legislation

So far California, Colorado, New York and Minnesota have already passed right to repair bills.

And 30 states beyond those have introduced right to repair bills.

The White House has now called on other US states to follow suit and for Congress to pass national right to repair laws, as well.

However no draft legislation was announced on Tuesday by the White House.

Apple support

Apple meanwhile announced that its commitment to make the parts, tools, and documentation needed for repairs of consumer electronic devices and appliances available to independent repair shops and consumers at fair and reasonable prices, is being extended nationwide.

Apple was quoted by CNBC as saying it sees “real value” in a national law at a White House event on Tuesday.

In a short talk, Apple service VP Brian Naumann reportedly said that Apple makes parts, tools, and manuals available to independent repair stores in the US, highlighting the company’s current policy under its self-service repair program.

“Apple also supports a uniform federal law that balances repairability with product integrity, data security, usability, and physical safety,” Naumann reportedly said.

“We believe that a uniform federal repair law should do the following,” Naumann was quoted as saying. “Maintain privacy, data and device security features which help to thwart theft; Ensure transparency for consumers about the type of parts used in a repair; Apply prospectively, to allow manufacturers to focus on building new products that can comply with the proposals; And finally, create a strong national standard that benefits consumers across the US and reduces the confusion created by potentially conflicting state approaches.”

Change of heart

To be fair Apple has been undergoing a change of heart about opening repair options for its devices for a number of years now.

In August 2019 for example, Apple confirmed it would, for the first time ever, supply genuine parts to independent repair shops.

Then in November 2021 Apple confirmed plans to give technically-minded customers the ability to repair their own devices. Repairable items include the display, battery, and camera.

Self Service Repair for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Five months later in April 2022, Apple opened up its Self Service Repair Store to US customers only, offering more than 200 individual parts and tools (torque drivers, repair trays, display, battery presses etc).

In December 2022 Apple opened its Self Service Repair Store in UK and Europe, so users could purchase genuine Apple parts to repair an iPhone themselves.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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