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Apple’s new self-service repair program: what that means for you and your Apple device




The right to repair may change the way we all see a broken product. Here’s what you need to know:

Josh Miller / CNET

Apple says it will soon be able to repair the iPhone at home. Proponents have called on companies like Apple to relax restrictions on allowing consumers to repair their devices. In July, the Federal Trade Commission agreed on a new rule prohibiting companies from restricting customers from repairing their products or repairing at third-party shops. This summer’s executive order, issued by President Joe Biden’s policy statement from the Federal Trade Commission, has pressured tech companies to reconsider their repair policies.

Biden’s executive order came after years of debate by supporters seeking a “right to repair.” This is an initiative that, in theory, forces companies ranging from phone makers, car and washing machine makers to expensive agricultural and medical device makers to provide diagnostic tools. Documents used to repair a product when it breaks. This allows everyday people to repair the product themselves or go to a third-party repair shop, rather than relying on an “official” authorized repair center, which is often an expensive option.

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Below are general questions about the concept of the right to repair, what that means to you, and what the government is doing to realize the right to repair. (This story has been updated with new information.)

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What is Apple’s new self-service repair program

Apple’s new self-service repair program will provide repair guides that will allow you to order tools and parts after 2022, and return used parts for recycling. Initially, the program will only cover iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 repairs, and then self-service repair help for Macs with M1 chips.

The program has some restrictions. For example, you may not use a third-party battery or other parts unless your warranty expires.

What is the right to repair?

To summarize the right to repair the movement in one word, US consumers have the right to repair the product without having to buy a new product or ask the manufacturer or a third party to repair it.

This move has been around for some time and has already won small victories in states like Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, voters approved a bill in 2020 that would allow third parties access to vehicle data that manufacturers would not normally publish.

The right to repair also deals with precautionary measures. Proponents of this movement want tech companies not only to allow home repairs, but also to design and manufacture products that are easy to repair in the first place.

For example, Apple’s AirPod wireless earphones are so small that they’re part of the appeal, but repairs are almost impossible, according to the repair website iFixIt. This is a problem, considering that you probably need to replace the battery in a few years. However, instead of disassembling them and replacing the batteries, you may be forced to buy another pair.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to the request for comment.

What does the right to repair mean to you as a consumer?

If the government passes repair rights law at the state or federal level, you may be offered the option to try the repair yourself without revoking the warranty.

If your iPhone display is currently cracked and you try to replace it yourself, or if you’re working at a local repair shop and the person or company isn’t an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or the replacement screen is Apple-approved. If it is not a part, your iPhone may not be covered by Apple’s warranty.

Repair rights laws can also intensify competition for repair services, which can reduce prices from third-party repair shops, from mobile phones to medical devices to tractors.

What does the right to repair mean to the environment?

By allowing consumer-owned products to be repaired to extend their lifespan, the amount of waste and e-waste that flows into landfills can be reduced.

Do tech companies agree or disagree with the right to repair?

Attitudes vary. Last year, Bloomberg published an article about the rights to repair the movement and the efforts that companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have spent trying to prevent the repair rights bill from passing the bill and becoming a law. Did.

Reason? Intellectual property and security. These companies publish schematics and manuals and claim that if they are forced to sell official parts to someone, there is a risk that the product will be copied.

Companies also argue that, for example, if an untrained individual replaces a battery, it can endanger the safety of the individual by accidental damage that can cause the battery to spontaneously ignite.

At the same time, companies like Apple are gradually starting to support independent repair shops. Critics, however, say Apple isn’t doing enough.

Who supports the right to repair?

While companies are wary of supporting this move, a growing group of tech and social media influencers are starting to grow.

Among them is Kyle Wiens, who is responsible for the online manual and parts supply site iFixit. He also visited legislatures across the country and urged them to consider repair rights laws. He refused to share his recent sales, but in 2016 he sold $ 21 million in toolkits and parts to help replace bad screens, cameras, buttons, and batteries on his device.

Another person in the community’s attention is Louis Rossman, the owner of a New York-based repair shop. He uses YouTube to teach more than 1.5 million subscribers about computer repairs. Over the years, he began to claim more rights to repair. More recently, through his advocacy groups Fight to Repair and Repair Preservation Group.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also said in a cameo video in July in support of Rossmann’s right to repair.

“If I hadn’t grown up in a very open tech world, Apple wouldn’t have been,” Wozniak said in a video. “It’s time to start doing the right thing … it’s time to grant the right to a more complete repair.”

How is the government involved in repair rights?

According to the Repair Association, a total of 32 states have considered or are currently working on repair rights legislation since 2014.

In 2021 alone, 27 states are currently considering repair rights legislation, according to the US Public Interest Research Group. Both the Repair Association and the USPIRG organization are working with lawmakers to develop and pass a law on repair rights.

The New York State Legislature passed the repair rights bill in June, but it must be passed by Congress before it can be signed.

At the federal level, Biden has just signed an executive order, among other things, the FTC “cell phone.” This order also instructed the FTC to consider similar repair rules for farmers, tractors. Facilitates the repair of expensive equipment such as.

FTC’s recent vote to “strengthen law enforcement” on repair restrictions has taken steps to discourage governments from putting pressure on businesses and preventing consumers from repairing their devices. Another positive sign that you are.

What are other countries doing about the right to repair?

As of July 1, some UK device manufacturers need to make replacement parts available to product owners.

The new law is not as widespread as it includes all electronic devices such as smartphones and computers. Instead, it is limited to appliances.

Consumer electronics manufacturers have two years to get parts available, and those parts need to be available for several years after the company stops manufacturing certain products. However, the law does not include all the components that make up a product. Instead, the invoice is limited to repairs that are “safe” and can be done at home. The BBC reported, for example, that repairs to heating elements or motors should be done by a “specialized repairer.”

What’s next to the right to repair?

For now, we need to see exactly how FTC will start enforcing new policy statements. This is what we are actively monitoring.

While monitoring the FTC, we will continue to monitor proposed repair rights bills that function throughout the various stages of the process at the state level across the country.




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