Apple quietly added iPhone and MacBook repairability rankings to its French website

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,858   +744
Staff member
In a nutshell: The right-to-repair movement has taken some positive steps. Apple and Samsung recently began labeling their devices with repairability scores in France. Granted, this became required as of the first of this year. However, the two companies, which have stood against R2R laws in the past, have not complained about the new rules.

French law now requires electronics manufacturers to post repairability scores for their products. The legislation went into effect on January 1, but companies have until next year before regulators begin imposing fines to enforce the rule. Apple and Samsung have already started displaying the labels on their websites (below) and in stores (bottom).

French media outlet Radio France Internationale notes that manufacturers are allowed to self-report their scores but are bound by strict guidelines. The ratings range from 1-10, with higher scores indicating the device is more readily repairable.

Things like ease of disassembly and availability of repair manuals or replacement parts factor into the scores. MacGeneration lists the five main judging criteria are as follows (translation via Google):

  • the availability of documentation (for repair, use and maintenance as well as the period during which this information is made available);
  • disassembly (how easily it is done, how easy it is to access parts, what tools are required, how the parts are fixed in the device);
  • spare parts (period of availability and delivery times);
  • the price of spare parts (compared to new);
  • the available software updates, the offer of remote technical assistance free of charge and the possibility of resetting your device in a software way [sic].

For example, the iPhone 11 ranks a 4.5, while the iPhone 12 scored a solid 6.0. According to the detailed listings that Apple recently added to the French version of its support pages, the newer phones are more repairable because they are easier to take apart and because parts are less expensive.

Although neither Apple nor Samsung have commented on the new law, it is safe to assume that they are probably not happy about having to list repairability scores, especially on products that fall short in that area. Apple has been a vocal opponent of right-to-repair laws in the past, but has begun relaxing its stance more recently. Fortunately, the rules allow device makers easy ways to increase a product's ranking.

For example, Le Monde reports that Samsung published a Galaxy S21 Plus repair guide online to boost its score. Since most companies already use them in-house, online manuals are a practically effortless way for OEMs to improve their products’ rankings. Making spare parts more readily available is another thing they can do without much hassle.

These seemingly little things are the whole point behind the legislation. Instead of requiring manufacturers to outright allow third-party repairs, which Apple and others have long resisted, lawmakers have forced them to compete in terms of repairability, and they seem to be taking to it without complaint.

Image credit: Vladimka Production

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m4a4

Posts: 2,244   +2,363
TechSpot Elite
However, the two companies, which have stood against R2R laws in the past, have not complained about the new rules.
Well, yeah, because they can self-police. Those "strict" guidelines don't really do much with how vague they ended up being.
Louis Rossmann goes over how it's a step forward, but still not going to do much.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 643   +886
Well, yeah, because they can self-police. Those "strict" guidelines don't really do much with how vague they ended up being.
Louis Rossmann goes over how it's a step forward, but still not going to do much.
It's still worth the price of admission for forcing Apple to display something on their page that only shows the iPad as a 6 out of 10, basically forcing the Emperor to admit he has no clothes.
 

Wereweeb

Posts: 13   +30
Now revise the law and start forcing them to substract points if there's firmware locks to stop replacement parts from fully working, if they don't supply batteries and other parts for the median lifetime of the device, on how many of the most common repairs (Screen, battery, charging port) require full disassembly of the device or have high risk of damaging the parts (E.g. glued batteries, screens that break on removal), and how many parts aren't modular compared to the median smartphone.

If Apple can score a 6 and Samsung an 8, it's a sign that the law is too gentle and permissive.
 

ypsylon

Posts: 307   +206
Anyone who thinks that modern iPhone has repairability of 6 out of 10 raise your hand.

I thought so.

Generous 0.

That's the problem when politicians put their fat useless fingers in places where they don't belong. Obviously whoever wrote that "law" never had piece of modern IT tech in hands, especially from Apple. Company with corporate motto: No Repairs! No Replacement Parts! No Mercy!

iPads have 0 repairability - although this is kind of device which is running forever except some truly freakish accidents so no complaints here.

Pre M1 Macs well maybe 2/10. Feeling generous. After M1 except battery and some standard components which are not part of soldered SoC - solid -1.

Ahh let's not forget that Apple still is the only company which sells a PC (iMacPro) which has exposed PSU. If you're brave enough to replace CPU or RAM yourself you can beautifully burn yourself to a crisp. That alone show carelessness of Apple. They never planned anyone to repair/upgrade anything it this - no denying fine machine. However 2 most common points of failures for iMP are the cooling system and burned - exposed - PSUs. I know, I know that's a special feature. But I wonder tho, why no other company ever thought of selling PC with completely exposed PSU hmm...
 
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theruck

Posts: 281   +131
The manufacturers will make it another marketing parameter work for them
there is no way how iphone 12 is easier repairable than 11. and raising the score by providing a repair manual for 12 while not providing it for 11 will make ppl to chose the more expensive product as they will perceive it as more value. french did not do it the best especially not implementing the third party parts compatibility into the rating but its a start at least. it could lean apple being full of your data your rights bs a bit to your device your repair rights
 

Homerlovesbeer

Posts: 131   +139
Anyone who thinks that modern iPhone has repairability of 6 out of 10 raise your hand.

I thought so.

Generous 0.

That's the problem when politicians put their fat useless fingers in places where they don't belong. Obviously whoever wrote that "law" never had piece of modern IT tech in hands, especially from Apple. Company with corporate motto: No Repairs! No Replacement Parts! No Mercy!

iPads have 0 repairability - although this is kind of device which is running forever except some truly freakish accidents so no complaints here.

Pre M1 Macs well maybe 2/10. Feeling generous. After M1 except battery and some standard components which are not part of soldered SoC - solid -1.

Ahh let's not forget that Apple still is the only company which sells a PC (iMacPro) which has exposed PSU. If you're brave enough to replace CPU or RAM yourself you can beautifully burn yourself to a crisp. That alone show carelessness of Apple. They never planned anyone to repair/upgrade anything it this - no denying fine machine. However 2 most common points of failures for iMP are the cooling system and burned - exposed - PSUs. I know, I know that's a special feature. But I wonder tho, why no other company ever thought of selling PC with completely exposed PSU hmm...
So you replace your CPU or RAM with the power still on do you? Interesting......
 

Homerlovesbeer

Posts: 131   +139
I guess you never took an electronics course. Some power supplies can hold considerable amounts of juice for months even when turned off.

A simple discharge resistor should be engineered into the circuit to discharge the capacitors to avoid shock but if there isn't it's not difficult to discharge a capacitor yourself by bridging the terminals.

Poorly designed PSU might be an issue but I very much doubt Apple would have such a product.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 643   +886
Poorly designed PSU might be an issue but I very much doubt Apple would have such a product.
Watch some Louis Rossman board repair videos. You'd be surprised just how many corners get cut with their PCBs. On the whole their design philosophy skews towards looking visually impressive at first blush but falls apart once you start scrutinizing the finer details.
 

Homerlovesbeer

Posts: 131   +139
Watch some Louis Rossman board repair videos. You'd be surprised just how many corners get cut with their PCBs. On the whole their design philosophy skews towards looking visually impressive at first blush but falls apart once you start scrutinizing the finer details.

Will do. Thanks mate, appreciate it.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 994   +1,132
TechSpot Elite
It just goes to show you, with all of the bluster and fear-mongering that these corporations spread about market regulation, when France enacts a law like this, they just deal with it quietly, knowing that they have no choice. This is how they'd react in any country because it's either that or they leave the country and lose all of the profits that are available through that country's market.

To anyone who likes to scream about the wonders of de-regulated markets, take a good long look at how much better a properly-regulated market is. Corporations know better than to screw around with the French government because they know that the French will have no qualms about pulling out the guillotine for them. This is why Sarkozy is in prison for at least one year and probably more with more corruption cases coming up against him. The French people aren't willing to take any crap from their governments and have no problems expressing it.
 

BadThad

Posts: 390   +356
Just another EU cash grab by a bankrupt France. It has nothing do with helping consumers and everything to do with generating fines and money.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 994   +1,132
TechSpot Elite
Watch some Louis Rossman board repair videos. You'd be surprised just how many corners get cut with their PCBs. On the whole their design philosophy skews towards looking visually impressive at first blush but falls apart once you start scrutinizing the finer details.
Louis Rossman is an amazing advocate for right-to-repair as well. I love watching his videos because even though he's a business owner, he just tells it like it is. That's all that someone needs to do to be a great techtuber in my eyes.
 

Underdog

Posts: 187   +105
Just another EU cash grab by a bankrupt France. It has nothing do with helping consumers and everything to do with generating fines and money.
I don't know where you got the idea France is bankrupt, or the idea that France can turn consumer rights legislation into a cash grab. France grows enough food that ranks only around third place in world exports. And its not all GM crap like the US grows.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 994   +1,132
TechSpot Elite
I don't know where you got the idea France is bankrupt, or the idea that France can turn consumer rights legislation into a cash grab. France grows enough food that ranks only around third place in world exports. And its not all GM crap like the US grows.
Isn't it amazing how some people actually believe the lies about Europe being bankrupt? Oh well.

On another note, I wouldn't be too worried about genetically modified foods because pretty much everything we eat has been genetically modified in some way. Like, this is what watermelon looked like before we started playing with it:
giovanni_stanchi_watermelon_seeds.jpg

and bananas:
Wild-Banana-Collage-850x417-600x294.jpg

When you get right down to it, selective breeding is also genetic modification but in a more indirect way like, seedless grapes have never existed in the wild. Hell, the most famous apple in the world, the McIntosh, are all from trees that were cloned/grafted from a single tree that grew in Dundas, Ontario in 1811. Technically, that tree is still alive as entire orchards which grow McIntosh apples because they're not descended from that tree, they ARE that tree. To date, around 25% of all McIntosh trees are clones/grafts of the original tree. The "genetically-modified" scare turned out to be a load of FUD. I myself was concerned about it but the more I read, the more I realised that it wasn't worth worrying about because genes are in a perpetual state of modification in nature anyway.

Having said that, France does have some of the most fertile growing lands in the world and when I was there, I was amazed at how the colours of plants seemed so much more vibrant than I'd ever seen before. If you've never been, I highly recommend it. There are few things more stunning than a huge field full of sunflowers that have the brightest yellow petals imaginable on a perfect sunny day near Lyon. :D
 
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Underdog

Posts: 187   +105
Isn't it amazing how some people actually believe the lies about Europe being bankrupt? Oh well.

On another note, I wouldn't be too worried about genetically modified foods because pretty much everything we eat has been genetically modified in some way. Like, this is what watermelon looked like before we started playing with it:
giovanni_stanchi_watermelon_seeds.jpg

and bananas:
Wild-Banana-Collage-850x417-600x294.jpg

When you get right down to it, selective breeding is also genetic modification but in a more indirect way like, seedless grapes have never existed in the wild. Hell, the most famous apple in the world, the McIntosh, are all from trees that were cloned/grafted from a single tree that grew in Dundas, Ontario in 1811. Technically, that tree is still alive as entire orchards which grow McIntosh apples because they're not descended from that tree, they ARE that tree. To date, around 25% of all McIntosh trees are clones/grafts of the original tree. The "genetically-modified" scare turned out to be a load of FUD. I myself was concerned about it but the more I read, the more I realised that it wasn't worth worrying about because genes are in a perpetual state of modification in nature anyway.

Having said that, France does have some of the most fertile growing lands in the world and when I was there, I was amazed at how the colours of plants seemed so much more vibrant than I'd ever seen before. If you've never been, I highly recommend it. There are few things more stunning than a huge field full of sunflowers that have the brightest yellow petals imaginable on a perfect sunny day near Lyon. :D
I'm always pleased to hear from someone who has travelled outside the US for something other than war. A chance to climb outside your comfort zone and see what the rest of the world is like. A chance to see through your own eyes.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 994   +1,132
TechSpot Elite
I'm always pleased to hear from someone who has travelled outside the US for something other than war. A chance to climb outside your comfort zone and see what the rest of the world is like. A chance to see through your own eyes.
You flatter me sir and I thank you for that but I'm afraid that my being outside of the USA has a lot more to do with the fact that I'm a born-and-bred Canadian than any special courage on my part (Google "Avro Arrow" and you'll understand). It often goes without notice that I use English spelling. I don't blame you for thinking that I was American since the manners of speaking are almost identical. It's kinda like mistaking a Kiwi for an Aussie.

I also had a rather unfair advantage when it came to loving France though. A lot of people forget that a good chunk of us Canadians also speak French. Now, I'm a bit different from the stereotypical Quebeois image that people have because I'm what is known as a "Montreal Anglophone". This means that I'm actually bilingual but I have absolutely no French accent when I speak English but I definitely sound French when I speak French. My French accent is softer than the typical Quebecois "Joual" accent and is closer to the Parisian Metropolitan accent.

As a result, I LOVED France because although my vocabulary was clearly Quebecois, my accent was very easy for the French to understand. To give you an idea, Quebec-made French movies are often subtitled in France because the Quebecois accent is so harsh. I call Joual "The Highland Scot" of the French language because it's very abrupt, guttural, nasal and hasn't changed in hundreds of years. Knowing the language is a massive advantage to enjoying a country to its fullest and with most Americans being unilingual, I can see how it could be intimidating. Being fluent in French opens up a bunch of countries like Switzerland, Belgium, Morocco, Vietnam, etc. that could be a bit uncomfortable otherwise.

I'm actually also a citizen of the UK and Eire so I just might go and live in the EU one day.