The White House, which hosted a discussion about growing right to repair legislation across the country, announced Tuesday that Apple will make parts, tools and documentation needed for consumers and independent repair shops across the U.S. to repair Apple products themselves, signaling a shift in consumer rights that will allow customers to avoid costly repair processes for their devices.
Right to repair legislation at the state level has aimed to help consumers affordably repair their devices with tools and parts provided by the original manufacturers of such devices, allowing them to avoid difficult and expensive repair processes for products like phones and computers.
Though the legislation has only been passed in three states so far—California, Minnesota and New York—Apple will make repair tools and parts nationally at “reasonable prices,” according to Lael Brainard, the director of the National Economic Council.
Apple, which has built a reputation for high product repair costs, will also pledge support to a federal right to repair bill.
In California, the Right to Repair Act covers electronics and appliances made and sold after July 1, 2021, and requires manufacturers to make repair parts available seven years after the initial production of devices priced above $100.
Nathan Proctor, the senior director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair, told Reuters he had reservations about potential federal legislation, noting Apple once required repair shops to sign contracts preventing them from stockpiling spare parts for quick walk-in repairs, making the shops less appealing than Apple’s own repair services.
30. That’s how many other states have introduced similar right to repair legislation passed in California, Minnesota and New York, Reuters reported, citing Brainard.
Right to repair proponents have said the legislation aims to make repairs more affordable and convenient for consumers with broken products, which at times have to be replaced entirely, turned back in to original manufacturers for pricey repairs or given to repair shops that use third party parts. Right to repair provisions also stand to benefit farmers, according to EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. Early this year, tractor maker John Deere pledged support for consumers to repair their own equipment, reaching a memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureau Federation and allowing farmers to branch away from company authorized parts and service facilities, opening up use of independent repair options, according to BBC News. However, right to repair advocates have been reluctant to support the memorandum, with Walter Schweitzer, president of the Montana Farmers Union, telling NPR.