Apple Gives in to Repair Rights


After years of resistance, tech giant Apple has eased back on their longstanding policies regarding independent repair shops. Until recently, these shops have been unable to access specialized tools, diagrams and approved parts required to perform safe, easy repairs for common product issues. As of this year, any independent company can now apply through Apple’s Independent Repair Provider program for a chance at official certification that would grant them the ability to purchase the above directly from the company. As of now the program requires a repair shop to have at least one approved technician on staff who can apply for free training and certification through Apple.

This small change in company policy, although a step forward, has still not completely appeased some of Apple’s staunchest critics in the right-to-repair movement. Headed primarily by The Repair Association (TRA), the right-to-repair movement has focused on pushing federal legislation that would require companies to release necessary materials required for a successful, safe repair. While Apple has acquiesced to this demand without a federal law in place, advocates are quick to criticize two points of the program.

The first point of contention is the strict requirements businesses must go through in order to receive official repair certification. Many critics view the inclusion of these requirements in the program as a means of continuing the repair monopoly while complying with present and future state right-to-repair laws.

The second major critique involves Apple’s continuous use of hostile assembly methods in their products. From glued down batteries surrounded by delicate cables, to the use of pentalobe screws in 4 different sizes, these products have continuously grown harder to repair. Whether or not these issues will be included in future legal discussions of the right-to-repair remains to be seen. For now, Apple consumers may want to visit their local repair shop before going to an Apple store.