Tech companies haven’t always made it easy for consumers to repair their products. Without the manuals, parts, and tools we need, there aren’t many options available, and lobbying paid for by many big companies has worked to keep it that way.
Thankfully, the right-to-repair movement has picked up momentum over the past couple of years, putting pressure on giants like Apple, Samsung, Google, and even John Deere to make it easier for both consumers and independent repair shops to repair their devices. While both Apple and Samsung now have self-repair programs that let customers fix their own devices, there’s still a long way to go to make them more widely applicable, available, and cheaper.
In a handful of US states, lawmakers have signed right-to-repair laws pressing companies to improve the repairability of their products. New York passed a right-to-repair law last year, but it went into effect with amendments that introduced OEM-friendly loopholes. Meanwhile, other states, including Minnesota and Colorado, have been more successful recently in passing right-to-repair laws of their own.
You can catch up on all the latest right-to-repair developments in the stream below.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has signed a groundbreaking right-to-repair law after it passed the state legislature in April. The rules, part of an omnibus appropriations bill, require electronics manufacturers to let independent repair shops and consumers buy the parts and tools necessary to repair their own equipment. But the rules don’t apply to some notable categories, including farm equipment, game consoles, medical devices, and motor vehicles.Read Article >
The new Minnesota rules take effect July 1st, 2024, and they cover products sold on or after July 1st, 2021. If manufacturers sell a product in the state, they must offer residents the equipment to repair it on “fair and reasonable” terms within 60 days, and they must offer documentation for performing repairs and service free of charge. Failure to do so will violate Minnesota’s Deceptive Trade Practices statute, opening manufacturers up to penalties from the attorney general.
It was never clear who the $10,000 to $17,000 18-karat gold Apple Watch was for, beyond celebrities and the ultrarich, but I hope whoever bought one way back in 2015 expected Apple to stop supporting them at some point. That day has come. Apple has now internally listed all first-gen Apple Watch models, including the solid-gold Edition, as “obsolete,” MacRumors reports.Read Article >
Apple’s obsolete label doesn’t just mean the end of software support. That ship has sailed; the original Apple Watches (widely referred to as Series 0) never updated beyond watchOS 4.3.2 in 2018. It means the end of hardware support: the company will no longer provide parts, repairs, or replacement services.
Sep 27There might be some hurdles to getting some kind of federal right to repair legislation passed for agricultural equipment.
According to Monarch Tractor CEO Praveen Penmetsa, the problem right now is that farmers “cannot let somebody monkey with [their] emissions equipment that is not certified to do so.” He argues that if the industry moves to electric and zero emissions, then its not a question of emission equipment anymore.
The House just introduced the Agricultural Right to Repair Act. We’ll see how far it gets.
While Apple may have made the iPhone 15 Pro Max easier to repair physically, a teardown from iFixit reveals it still comes with the same parts pairing constraints as its predecessors.Read Article >
Like the iPhone 14, iFixit found that the iPhone 15 lineup has a redesigned midframe that you can access by removing the device’s screen or back glass. However, iFixit notes that the internals on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max live behind the screen, rather than the back glass, as is the case with the base iPhone 15 and 15 Plus as well as the iPhone 14 lineup.
Sep 20Congress is trying another right to repair bill for farming equipment.
The bill, introduced in the House, is called the Agriculture Right to Repair Act, as reported by 404 Media — meaning it shares the same name as a similar bill introduced in the Senate last year. Hopefully this House version gets off the ground.
iFixit is dropping the repairability score on the iPhone 14. While the organization originally gave the phone a seven out of 10 to indicate high repairability, iFixit has lowered that rating to a four after taking into account parts pairing requirements that make fixing the device a hassle.Read Article >
When iFixit announced its score for the iPhone 14 last year, it said it was looking mainly at the repair-friendly design of the device. Unlike its other devices, Apple included a rear glass panel that you can pop off with basic repair tools, including a heating mat, suction handle, and an opening pick. While this design change was notable at the time, iFixit acknowledges that it missed the significant hurdles to repairability programmed within iPhones in general.
California just became the third state to pass an electronics right-to-repair act. Senate Bill 244 passed in a 50–0 vote in the California state Assembly on September 12th. The bill also passed the California Senate back in May with a 38–0 vote. The bill is now headed for a final concurrence vote in the Senate before heading to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.Read Article >
California now follows in the footsteps of Minnesota and New York. Both states approved similar right-to-repair legislation in the past year. However, the California bill stands out in that it requires companies to expand access to repair materials like parts, tools, documentation, and software for a longer period of time. The bill outlines three years for products costing $50 to $99.99 and seven years for products priced at $100 or more. The bill will cover electronics and appliances made and sold after July 1st, 2021.
Sep 13California is on the precipice of turning its Right to Repair bill into law.
The state’s legislature has passed Senate Bill 244, according to iFixit, and all it needs to become law is to pass a “minor procedural vote” in the state Senate and then be signed by governor Gavin Newsom.
McDonald’s ice cream machines are so notorious for breaking that it’s become a meme. But now we may have some glimmer of Shamrock Shake-flavored hope: not only has iFixit performed a teardown of McDonald’s machines, but it’s also petitioning the government to let it create the parts required for people to fix them.Read Article >
As shown in a video posted to YouTube, iFixit purchased the same ice cream machine model used by McDonald’s and spent hours trying to get it up and running. The machine spit out numerous error codes that iFixit says “are nonsensical, counterintuitive, and seemingly random, even if you spent hours reading the manual.”
In a major reversal, Apple is now expressing support for a right-to-repair bill in California, as reported by TechCrunch and iFixit. In a letter to California Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman, Apple says it endorses the SB 244 bill, which requires manufacturers to give customers and independent repair shops the appropriate tools, manuals, and parts to repair damaged electronics and appliances.Read Article >
“Apple supports California’s Right to Repair Act so all Californians have even greater access to repairs while also protecting their safety, security, and privacy,” Apple said in a statement to The Verge. “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.”
DIY repairs for the Google Pixel 7A just got a lot easier as famed right-to-repair-supporting website iFixit has added official parts for Google’s newest slab phone to its store. iFixit has been stocking genuine Google Pixel phone parts for over a year after it made a deal with Google that followed a recent trend by phone makers to improve the accessibility of OEM components.Read Article >
When we reviewed Google’s more affordable flagship in May, Allison Johnson called the Pixel 7A the best midrange Android phone for most people thanks to good build quality, a great camera, and an improved 90Hz OLED display.
Microsoft has started selling controller parts on its online store. Owners of both the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller and the standard Xbox Wireless Controller can head to the Microsoft store right now to buy replacement boards, sticks, buttons, covers, and more. Now, if your shoulder buttons are broken or your sticks are drifting, it means you don’t have to rely on third-party sources for parts and directions to attempt a repair that could be much cheaper than replacing controllers that can cost $59.99 or $179.99 brand-new.Read Article >
The Elite series 2 controller repair kits range in price from $23.99 for button sets to $59.99 for a replacement PCBA and motor assembly. As you’d expect, prices are lower for the standard controller, starting at $19.99 for just the controller’s top case and going up to $34.99 for the PCBA and vibration motor. Replacement top cases are available in black and white variants, as are the buttons — sorry, fluorescent color fans.
May 31California’s right to repair bill has passed the state Senate.
SB 244 passed 38-0, and now it’s heading for the California State Assembly. If it passes there and it’s signed into law, it would expand access to replacement parts and service information. That would put California in the company of Minnesota, Colorado, and New York, all of which have recently signed right to repair rules — although New York’s was significantly compromised.
Colorado has become the first US state to pass a law that gives farmers the right to repair their own equipment. Governor Jared Polis signed the bill into law on Tuesday, requiring manufacturers to provide access to the parts, software, tools, and documentation necessary for farmers or independent repair shops to fix agricultural equipment.Read Article >
“This is a common-sense bipartisan bill to help people avoid unnecessary delays from equipment repairs,” Governor Polis says in a statement. “Farmers and ranchers can lose precious weeks and months when equipment repairs are stalled due to long turnaround times by manufacturers and dealers. This bill will change that.”
Nintendo has started offering free repairs for faulty Joy-Cons in more parts of Europe, regardless of warranty status, as first reported by Nintendo Life. On a support page on Nintendo’s UK website, the company says it will fix Joy-Cons inflicted with the dreaded stick drift “at no charge” in the UK, Switzerland, and the European Economic Area (EEA) — even if the company’s two-year warranty has expired.Read Article >
Although Nintendo has offered free repairs for out-of-warranty Joy-Cons in North America, Latin America, and France, it never extended the policy to the UK, Switzerland, and all of the EEA until now. The company previously only repaired faulty Joy-Cons in these countries for free if they had an active warranty, and it’s unclear how long this offer has been active. We reached out to Nintendo for more information, and we’ll update this article if we hear back. The European Commission said Nintendo changed its policy after it contacted the company.
HMD has worked to make what it says are the most common smartphone repairs — replacing a broken screen, charging port, or flat battery — a simpler process on its new Nokia G22, and it’s partnering with repair specialists iFixit to provide customers with the necessary replacement parts, tools, and guides. The Nokia G22 will be available on March 8th in the UK for £149.99 (€179 / around $180) and will be sold in select global markets like Europe but not the US.Read Article >
The company joins a growing list of smartphone manufacturers that are making replacement parts more easily available to end customers. In the past couple of years, we’ve seen Samsung and Google partner with iFixit to sell replacement parts, while Apple launched its own Self Service Repair program. These companies are making spare parts easier to buy, but the actual ease with which you can repair their devices is more hit-and-miss.
This week on The Vergecast, the flagship podcast of home theater remotes, we dedicate an episode to the right to repair the technology you own.Read Article >
We live in a world where our most important gadgets are with us at all times. Because of this, we expect them to last as long as physically possible. Unfortunately, the reality of consumer tech today is that a lot of gadgets are not built with the intention of being easily fixable when they break. On today’s episode, we talk to people who are figuring out how to repair the tech we use every day so we can use it even longer, even after manufacturer support stops.
Samsung is finally adding Galaxy S22 parts and manuals to the self-repair program it established last year with partner iFixit. Just as we’re preparing for the Unpacked event that will launch the Galaxy S23, customers can now get access to genuine replacement parts for the S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra, as well as the Galaxy Book Pro (15-inch) and Pro 360 notebooks.Read Article >
When Samsung first launched the self-repair program in August, customers only had access to limited OEM parts like replacement back covers, USB-C charge ports, and screens for previous generation Galaxy S20 and S21 devices, as well as the Tab S7. Even with the addition of S22 devices, not much has changed in terms of what customers can officially fix.
John Deere has finally committed to giving farmers the tools they need to fix their own equipment. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the agricultural lobbying group, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), on Sunday, an agreement that’s also supposed to ensure that farmers can take their machines to third-party repair shops, as reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.Read Article >
For years, John Deere has been at the center of the right-to-repair debate, and not in a good way. The company put software locks on equipment that only authorized dealers can disable, preventing farmers or an independent repair shop from diagnosing and fixing a machine. It can also remotely shut down machines at any time (like it demonstrated when Russians stole Ukrainian farm equipment last year). These limitations have led some fed-up farmers to hack their tractors, something this new agreement is supposed to remedy.
Apple is raising the price of getting a new battery installed in most iPhones, iPads, and Macs, starting on March 1st. The company made the announcement on the devices’ repair pages, in small text under its price estimators, which was noticed by 9to5Mac.Read Article >
How much the price hike is depends on what device you have. For iPhones, it’s simple — Apple’s site says “the out-of-warranty battery service fee will be increased by $20 for all iPhone models prior to iPhone 14.” For phones with a home button, that means the price will be going from $49 to $69, and for Face ID phones that means it’ll be going from $69 to $89. Those prices, by the way, were put in place in 2019, after Apple ran a year-long promotion where you could get a new battery for $29, to make up for its battery throttling controversy.
Dec 29, 2022
New York governor Kathy Hochul signed the Digital Fair Repair Act on December 28th, 2022, and the law will go into effect on July 1st, 2023 — a full year after it was originally passed by the NY State legislature. The bill establishes that consumers and independent repair providers have a right to obtain manuals, diagrams, diagnostics and parts from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in order to repair their own devices. However, the bill was meaningfully compromised at the last minute by amendments that give OEMs some convenient exceptions and loopholes to get out of obligations that many right to repair advocates had been hoping for.Read Article >
One of the most controversial adjustments in the signed law is that it allows OEMs to sell assemblies of parts instead of individual components if they choose to. The bill also won’t require OEMs to provide “passwords, security codes or materials” to bypass security features, which is sometimes necessary to do to save a locked, but otherwise functionally fine device.
Dec 20, 2022
Apple’s self-service repair program has just been expanded to include the company’s lineup of M1-powered desktop Macs. As noted by Six Colors, customers in the US can now order genuine repair parts for the iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Studio. The Studio Display has also been added to the program.Read Article >
You can browse the collection of repair manuals for all of these products on Apple’s website; in fact, you must go through the manual if you want to take advantage of the self-service repair program.
Dec 15, 2022
Almost a year ago today, Dell announced the “Concept Luna”, a fully repairable and upgradable laptop incorporating sustainable materials. With everything removable and replaceable, from the memory and SSD to the keyboard and the screen, it looked to be a similar concept to the groundbreaking Framework Laptop — and potentially a huge win for both sustainability and right-to-repair advocates. The problem: it was not anywhere close to a real thing you could buy.Read Article >
Well, it’s been a year. Concept Luna is still not on shelves. Dell still has no concrete plans to put it on shelves.
Dec 6, 2022
Apple’s self-service repair program, which is designed to let customers repair their own iPhones and MacBooks, is launching in Europe. The company announced today that genuine Apple parts, tools, and manuals will be available to customers in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK to perform their own repairs.Read Article >
Spare parts are available via Apple’s self service repair store, which features a drop-down menu in the top right to select the correct country. As with the service’s launch in the US earlier this year, customers will be able to rent tools to perform the repairs rather than needing to purchase them outright, and receive discounts by sending in their replaced parts to Apple for refurbishment or recycling.
Nov 29, 2022
It’s a good day when you get a free replacement for something broken. For me, it was a new controller. My old controller had its right joystick snap off in my bag. Despite the protruding nub snapping off, the analog mechanism still worked — so I reached out to the manufacturer for a replacement stick, and instead, they sent me a very nice and very new replacement. The thing is, like Carrie from Sex and the City, I didn’t want a replacement Blueberry iBook, Aiden! I just want my PowerBook fixed.Read Article >
Don’t get me wrong. Of course, I am just as grateful for the replacement as I was for the Thanksgiving turkey I’m still digesting. But my request to customer service wasn’t for a replacement — it was for a part. I inquired again about the part, but they said to just dispose of the broken controller. Not a fan of wasting a good controller, I headed over to eBay and found a broken one I could source parts from. Once I got that in, all it took was 11 screws and I was able to harvest my joystick.