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.
“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.”
Despite lobbying against California’s right-to-repair law in the past, Apple has slowly been warming up to the idea. It established its own self-repair programs for various devices, including the iPhone 14 and M2-equipped MacBooks. While this program lets users obtain the tools and parts they need, right-to-repair advocates argue that it’s still not an economical way to repair the devices. It also made the iPhone 14 easier to repair, and the iPhone 15 Pro is rumored to be easier to repair, too.
“California’s final Right to Repair bill should balance device integrity, usability, and physical safety with the desire of consumers to be able to repair, rather than replace, a device when it needs repair,” Apple writes in the letter to Senator Eggman. “Legislation that correctly balances these concerns ensure that manufacturers are able to comply with the law while protecting consumers and their devices.”
The company adds that it will continue to support the bill “so long as it continues to provide protections for customers and innovators,” including requirements that “repair providers disclose the use of non-genuine or used parts.” It also wants “assurances that the bill would not threaten consumer safety and data security” by requiring manufacturers to disable device security features for repair shops.
After passing through the Senate 38-0 in May, California’s SB 244 bill is now headed to the California State Assembly. If approved, this would add to the growing number of right-to-repair laws passed in other states, including Minnesota and Colorado. New York passed a right-to-repair bill last year, but before it was signed into law, it was heavily amended to give OEMs some convenient exceptions and loopholes.
“From federal action to other state bills and manufacturers reacting... by improving repairability and access to repair, the idea is catching on. It’s a lot harder to argue against when people are aware of it,” Eggman says in a statement on iFixit.
Update August 23rd, 5:26PM ET: Added Apple’s letter to Senator Eggman and included a quote.