Apple Takes One Step Closer Toward Supporting Right to Repair

March 08, 2019

Apple as a company has historically been against a consumer's right to repair their own devices. Until recently, Apple Service Centers would not repair a modified device. Now according to a French website, Genius Bar instructions regarding modified devices have changed.

"The Genius Bar and AASPs are now instructed to ignore the third-party battery and proceed with service as normal, according to Apple's internal document. This could include repairs to the display, logic board, microphones, and so forth, with normal fees applying."

This new policy is a vastly different policy than Apple's previous ban on repairing devices with third-party batteries. Apple is also changing how it approaches battery repairs within a device for its service technicians. Batteries can be replaced at the technician's discretion rather than offering an entirely new device.

Right to Repair: What is it?

A consumer's right to repair has been a hot topic in the tech sector lately. Large companies like Apple and Samsung argue that third-party repairs reduce the quality of the devices they've produced, voiding the warranty. But often these companies charge hundreds of dollars for something that a third-party place will charge $50-$75 to replace.

Right to repair also brings into question who owns the device. If a consumer has paid over $1,000 for the device, it is owned by the person who purchased it. That person should be able to take it to any repair shop they choose, rather than being required to use authorized service centers. These third-party repairs should not impact your ability to receive official support from the device manufacturer down the line.

Large companies like Apple and Samsung do have a valid argument in regards to third-party repairs. If you send in a device to have the touchscreen worked on and the home button stops working, neither company should be liable to repair an issue potentially caused by a third-party.

But many smartphones, tablets, and even laptops are designed to make them hard to take apart and repair. Right to repair legislation could eventually change the way these devices are designed internally to make them more accessible for repairs.

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