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Apple's begins a U-Turn on the Right to Repair, starting in California

1 cover Right to Repair

Earlier today iFixit announced groundbreaking news  that marked a significant milestone in the Right to Repair movement. In an unprecedented move, Apple has officially endorsed Senator Susan Eggman’s Right to Repair Bill in California. This endorsement comes on the heels of intense lobbying battles over the past few years that halted the bill behind the scenes, primarily due to resistance from Apple and other manufacturers.

This year’s bill, known as SB 244, enhances California’s warranty law and secures Californians’ right to fix a wide range of consumer electronics and home appliances. The bill would require manufacturers to provide parts, tools, and repair diagnostics necessary for both consumers and third-party repair providers to fix products, opening up a competitive repair market that is cheaper for consumers and better for the planet.

2 Sen Susan Eggman Right to Repair

iFixit’s CEO Kyle Wiens said, “Apple’s endorsement of the Right to Repair Bill in California is a watershed moment for consumer rights. It feels like the Berlin Wall of tech repair monopolies is starting to crumble, brick by brick.”

Critically, California’s bill goes farther than laws that passed in Minnesota and New York, by setting a term for availability of parts and updates. For products that cost between $50 and $99.99, parts, tools, and documentation will have to be available in California for three years after the last date of product manufacture. For products costing over $99.99, repair materials will have to be available for seven years. These terms will ensure that manufacturers can’t drop product repair support at the end of a product’s warranty period.

The bill also has a different mechanism of enforcement. Instead of being enforced solely by the state attorney general, SB 244 would allow a city, county, or the state to bring a case in superior court. Those cases will be funded by a fine on any manufacturer caught violating the law: $1000 per day for the first violation, $2000 per day for the second, and $5000 per day for the third and subsequent violations.

Apple has a long track record of opposing this environmental legislation, going so far as telling lawmakers in Nebraska that Right to Repair legislation would turn the state into a “Mecca for Hackers.” This not only makes repairs more affordable but also encourages consumers to repair, not replace, their devices—reducing e-waste, which Californians are generating at a rate of 54 pounds per second.

iFixit’s Director of Sustainability, Liz Chamberlain, said, “It’s not just about providing parts and tools for repairs; it’s about empowering consumers to make environmentally responsible choices. Right to Repair has been building momentum in Big Tech’s backyard. It’s about time Apple opens the front door.” For more, read the full report by iFixit's Elizabeth Chamberlain.

Apple may have decided to finally comply due to the EU finalizing a similar bill that would force Apple's hand to begin with. Yet it's great to see Apple is set to comply with California's Right to Repair Bill in California and hopefully it will be available throughout North American in the not too distant future. Then again, let's not jump the gun too soon as Apple may have simply supported Eggman who is openly gay. Here's to hoping that isn't the case.   

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