Apple Backs Nationwide Right-to-Repair Legislation in U.S.

Apple announced its support for nationwide right-to-repair regulation in the U.S. at a White House event on Tuesday, reports CNBC. This marks a stark shift in the company’s policy towards letting customers repairing their own Apple devices.

The company said it sees “real value” in a national law that would make iPhone parts and tools accessible to consumers. Brian Naumann, Apple’s service VP, stated that the company already makes parts, tools, and manuals available to independent repair stores in the U.S. under its self-service repair program.

The Biden administration has been advocating for right-to-repair laws as part of a broader initiative to eliminate “junk fees” and other practices that raise consumer costs. In 2021, the U.S. President issued an executive order directing the federal government to enforce existing repair laws to promote competition.

Lael Brainard, director of the National Economic Council, praised Apple’s “voluntary commitment” to offer parts and tools. Brainard also called on Congress to enact a national right-to-repair law, stating that such rules could save consumers money and prevent waste by keeping functional devices out of landfills.

Apple’s support for right-to-repair legislation marks a significant shift in the company’s stance. Previously, Apple had opposed such laws, partly because it profits from its AppleCare+ extended warranties, which also drive customer traffic to its stores.

However, the company has relaxed its position in recent years, launching a program in 2021 to rent tools and sell parts. Apple has also designed recent iPhones to facilitate easier screen and battery replacements.

Naumann outlined Apple’s priorities for a federal repair law, emphasizing the need for maintaining privacy, data and device security, ensuring transparency about the type of parts used in repairs, and creating a strong national standard.

Although no draft legislation was announced, panelists at the White House session suggested that it could be modeled after existing state bills, including those passed in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and New York.

Apple had previously endorsed the California right-to-repair bill and pledged to adhere to its requirements nationwide. The company expressed concerns about ensuring that independent repair shops use authentic parts and do not disable Apple’s software-based anti-theft features.

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