Apple Joins the Right to Repair Movement

By Runisan Natheeswaran, Staff Writer

The ability to repair your devices through a third party or by yourself has been a long and painful process for many people. Apple products have been notoriously known for their lack of repairability, with many consumers being forced to replace the product completely or to fix it through Apple or an Apple-affiliated servicer for an expensive price tag. However, on Wednesday, November 17 2021, Apple shook the general public when they announced they would sell spare parts to consumers to repair their own products. 

Apple’s Self Service Repair  program will allow access to Apple genuine parts and tools for customers who want to complete their own repairs. The service will be available early next year and will focus on the most commonly serviced parts such as the battery, display and camera. 

Soon after the news broke, Apple stock climbed nearly 2% to end the Wednesday trading session and is now trading at all-time highs at over $160 as of Friday, November 19. 

This announcement was a huge surprise to many, as for the last decade, Apple computers and phones have essentially become nearly impossible to repair, service or upgrade. So what changed Apple’s mind?

Nathan Proctor, a Senior Campaign Director of Right to Repair at Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG), believes “combined pressure from consumers, regulators and shareholders has shifted Apple’s thinking.”

In fact, many forces have come together in support of the right to repair movement, even from the US Federal Government, as President Biden signed an executive order a few months prior preventing manufactures from imposing restrictions on independent repair shops and DIY repairs. 

Regardless of the reason for Apple’s change in mind, this is a great win for consumers and the right to repair movement, as this first step towards repairability and sustainability is a sign for more to come. The global world of technology currently suffers from an e-waste crisis, with over 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste produced in 2019 due to poor device life cycle, and a lack of durability and repairability. 

An enormous company such as Apple can influence the rest of the industry into changing their practices on repair policies. Proctor supposes that “ we’ll see some other big consumer electronic companies make similar moves.”

In spite of this news, some are still skeptical about Apple’s intentions, labelling it a PR stunt designed to appease lawmakers and right to repair activists, due to the lack of specifics on the program itself. Can Apple truly deliver a successful self-service repair program? Only time can tell, but one thing is for certain. The floor for access to repair has been raised and Apple’s new service might be a sign of good changes ahead in years to come. 

Read more about The Right to Repair Movement here.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

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