What just happened? Apple has had a reputation for being a staunch opponent of the DIY repair movement, so it's surprising to see the iPhone maker support California's right-to-repair bill. California Senate Bill 244 would require manufacturers such as Apple to give customers and independent repair shops the tools, parts, and documentation they need to repair their damaged or broken products.
As reported by TechCrunch, Apple proclaimed its support for SB 244, which it previously opposed, in a letter sent to California state senator Susan Talamantes Eggman, urging it to pass.
SB 244 covers a wide range of consumer electronics and appliances, from phones and laptops to microwaves and washing machines. But a couple of big exceptions are video game consoles and alarm systems.
Apple had a few conditions for continuing to support the bill: repair providers must disclose the use of non-genuine or used parts, and it wants assurances that the bill will not allow repair shops to disable device security features.
I've been working on the #RightToRepair in California for the past six years and I'm so appreciative that @Apple has stepped up to support this important consumer and environmental protection policy. This is an historic day for the movement! https://t.co/F1L4Sj4iXj– Senator Susan Eggman (@SenSusanEggman) August 23, 2023
Minnesota's right-to-repair law goes into effect on July 1, 2024. It's similar to the California bill, including the exclusion of game consoles, and is more comprehensive than the New York statute. However, the California bill goes a step further by requiring companies to sell parts and tools for devices after they stop being sold; three years after discontinuation if the item is priced at $50 to $99, and seven years if it's over $100.
In a statement to The Verge, Apple said it decided to support the bill so all Californians have even greater access to repairs while also protecting their safety, security, and privacy.
"We create our products to last and, if they ever need to be repaired, Apple customers have a growing range of safe, high-quality repair options," the company said.
Apple has become more open to the right-to-repair movement in recent times. The Self Service Repair program, which allows customers to buy Apple parts and tools, was announced in late 2021 and rolled out in the Spring the following year. It was expanded from the original selection of iPhone models to include select Macs. Apple announced another expansion in June to include support for the entire iPhone 14 lineup as well as the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro featuring M2 silicon.
Image credit: Tools by Joel Rohland