Apple said to fight ‘Right to Repair’ legislation

“Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics ‘Right to Repair’ legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill’s path through the statehouse,” Jason Koebler reports for Motherboard.

“The legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops, and would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public,” Koebler reports. “Nebraska is one of eight states that are considering right to repair bills.”

“According to the source, an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist will testify against the bill at a hearing in Lincoln on March 9… The source told me that at least one of the companies plans to say that consumers who repair their own phones could cause lithium batteries to catch fire,” Koebler reports. “Manufacturers have lobbied hard against right to repair legislation in the past. Last year, a bill headed through the New York statehouse was killed in part due to lobbying from Apple and IBM, among other manufacturers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We can see both sides. We’ve repaired and replaced batteries in Apple devices in the past, but certainly it can be dangerous to mishandle/damage lithium batteries during the process.

49 Comments

    1. Is that 3.5 stars because of the message or messenger…? People here cringe at the idea of “power to the people”? Seriously?

      I’m not sure why I still visit this site after all these years.

      The last 2 months has clearly shown us that those who embrace “thinking different” are scarcely able to do so when the wind changes direction. Very delicate.

      The intolerant don’t tolerate intolerance.

            1. Come to think of it, Lennon did reveal a vicious streak in “How Do You Sleep?” He must have hated having his raw edge blunted by the saccharine Paul McCartney in all those hit songs they co-wrote. Funny, because he could be just as blandly sentimental himself. All You Need Is Love? Really?

      1. Way to go with snap judgments, Chase. Here are my consideration when applying my star vote:

        1) it is botty and he is despicable and often hypocritical, but I try to get past that if he posts something valid

        2) his post is fairly meaningless. What does “power to the people” mean in this context? People already have the power to *not buy* products that cannot be fixed. Most people don’t even fix easy stuff, anyway, much less iPhones.

        3) What are the potential unintended consequences of these attempted legislative actions? Who defines what must be “fixable” and to what level of detail – replace modules? Replace individual components? How might this legislation affect product design? International trade?

        In summary, botty’s puerile and meaningless “power to the people” remark deserved one star. It adds nothing and ignores everything of substance. In addition, if you contrast his viewpoint on this matter to his vehement objections in other situations in which people wanted to control their own destinies, he is a hypocrite, too. He loves populist power only when it suits his own agenda.

      2. P.S. I am not sure why you visit this site anymore, either. In fact, I wonder that for myself, as well. It is a familiar and fairly decent news aggregation site. But I have bookmarked a number of other Apple-related sites and have begun spending less time on MDN. The boorishness on this forum is legendary.

  1. As part of Apple’s iPhone 5 standby switch repair/replacement program, I automatically got a new battery out of it because it was impossible to get at the switch without destroying the existing battery’s integrity.

    While I’m definitely not complaining about getting a free battery out of the deal (it was 2 years old at the time and quickly losing its capacity), you know that Apple sure as hell didn’t want to give out a battery for free if they didn’t have to, especially as part of an unrelated replacement program.

    I don’t know what the heck adhesive they used or other design decision they made, if it’s impossible to reach and replace/repair one discrete component without destroying another, that’s just bad internal design.

    1. From Apple’s point of view, if the total cost-to-repair in such a situation exceeds their cost to simply replace the entire unit, it’s more a business decision rather than a design decision. You’re right from a narrow point of view, but that has NEVER been Apple’s view of the world.

    2. On the contrary, it’s not bad design if it is integral to function and enables other desirable features. Engineering-in accessibility for home repairs is the antithesis good design. It’s a kludge solution meaning more screws(to lose), badly fitting parts with room to move about(more rattles), weaker seals(lets in dust and moisture), inevitable damage to components and batteries(Note7), dry joints, unseated ICs, damaged wiring….
      No thanks. Not a trade off with any real benefits imo.

  2. Ok here is my sob story:

    My iPhone 5s’s screen was coming undone because the glue was peeling back. Shoddy manufacturing apparently. It happens. The phone was just over 1 year old so the warranty was expired.

    I simply took it to my local Apple Store to see if they could re glue it back together again. (The phone was in mint condition, I never dropped it and it was in a case at all times)

    Apple told me it would be over $100 (more like $125 if I remember correctly)

    I told them I don’t need a brand new screen. I just need the glue reapplied so it doesn’t fall off.

    Still no dice:/

    I said “no thank you, I’m not paying that kind of money for a new screen when the phone doesn’t need it.

    I took it to a iPhone repair shop which is a 2 min walk away and they reglued the screen for me for —- check this out—-

    $17.00

    Ummmmm, yah Apple, I’m fighting you on this one. I could pay Over $100 or less than 1/5 of that price to get my property fixed… I’ll choose the cheaper one and they guarantee their work with a 30 day warranty in case it comes undone again, which by the way, I still have the phone and it has not come undone.

    1. Why are you fighting Apple on this one? It is not their intention to prevent third-party repair shops to exist. Do you actually understand the purpose of this bill?

      Apple is trying to prevent some law form requiring them to start selling replacement parts. And when they do (in compliance with that law), nobody will buy those parts form Apple; they will continue to buy them from the same source they used before this law were to came into force — from the free and open market of replacement parts for Apple hardware. Go to eBay and do a search for “replacement iPhone 7 battery” or “replacement iPhone 6S camera”, or screen, or TouchID… you’ll find that even the most expensive replacement assembly is still less than $100, and most are well under $50, complete will all the necessary tools and detailed instructions.

      1. Predrag, you’re missing part of the point.

        If you’ve ever owned or operated a 3rd party Apple/Mac repair store/shop, you’ll know what a huge disadvantage they have in terms of quality parts. Every time you have to go on the “open” and (honestly) black market, you never really know what kind of quality you’re getting. If you want to go all OEM, you’re hampered even more and the prices you’ll find on the “open market” are whacked.

        Apple controls too many pieces of the pie and should compete on quality work and advice, not because they have access to parts for pennies on the dollar. This is part of a very transparent strategy to drive all of the little guys out of the market and force everyone to go to Apple corporate stores and deal with “Geniuses” to get all of their repairs done.

        People deserve a choice and independent repair shops deserve equal access to parts and a somewhat level playing field. The field will never be level because little guys who might clean $500,000 in parts and labor a year, are competing with the worlds largest publicly traded company in the history of the world. It may become the world’s first TRILLION dollar company. We already have cable monopolies running slow “high-speed” internet all across America, making us one of the slowest “1st World” nations in the world when it comes to internet access. Do you really want one global multinational controlling all repair on your Macs and iDevices?

        I’ll answer for you: No, you do not.

        The right to repair is a non-partisan issue that all Mac/Apple customers will benefit from. If you still choose to have an Apple corporate store do all of your repairs, then nothing will change other than possibly the cost of doing so getting lower.

        But the key word here is “choice.”

        The right to repair is about choice. Without it the consumer becomes a prisoner of the corporation’s good will.

        1. Your argument is articulate, intelligent and strong.

          However, I’m not sure if forcing Apple to sell spare parts for its devices will make any meaningful difference for anyone who currently provides independent repair services for Apple hardware. It is very unlikely that the parts that Apple will sell will be meaningfully competitive with any of the current suppliers on that open (eBay) market. The thing is, the multi-touch display assembly that is a part of every iPhone isn’t some mysterious component that is secretly manufactured in Apple-owned facility and built into that iPhone in the same factory; it is a well-known entity that can actually be purchased on the open market (as it is made by one of the suppliers for Apple). Same thing with practically all components in the iPhone. Or the MacBook. Or the AirPort Express…

          I have a feeling that, if this “right to repair” (the most unreal misnomer since “Mission Accomplished!”) bill ends up a law, there will be no practical consequence for anyone. Perhaps some repair shops will deliberately choose to source parts only directly from Apple (and pass the cost on to the customer), but I can’t imagine most remaining competitive with such practice.

          1. Thanks for your well thought out response, Predrag.

            I speak from first hand experience and the only reason we ever considered being an Apple “Authorized” Repair Center was to have easy access to high quality parts. All the eBay, PowerBook Medic (a fine place) stuff is so time consuming that it dings productivity. Same for the schematics and basically being more transparent about how to open and repair. All the reverse engineering from iFixit and other YouTubers is still 2nd and 3rd hand. I think it behooves a company as large as Apple to do this. If they don’t want to be compelled by law, they could do it through other channels.

            Like allow the Chinese companies that are manufacturing these parts and assembling them to sell them on the OPEN market which should lower prices overall.

            There may be better solutions out there, but the right to repair is, at the very least, a step in the right direction to greater consumer repair choice.

  3. Odd that Mr. Tim Liberal Social Justice Environmentalist Cook wouldn’t want to help make a bold sustainability statement by making tools that are upgradable and repairable instead of helping to fill the land fills.

    Just popped a new battery, SSD and 16 GB of RAM into an old circa 2011. 17″ MacBook Pro and it runs freakishly fast. The computer is six years old, and is runnning a brand new clean install of sierra like nobody’s business. It’s thin ENOUGH. Feels like a brand new computer.

    It should work for the owner for at least 2 or 3 more years.

    I guess repairable products is just too progressive, even for Tim.

    1. This doesn’t qualify as a consumer-protection issue justifying regulation or social activism.

      Companies properly oppose right-to repair legislation that would materially affect their business practices.

      As John Deere complained in opposition to Kansas HB 2122, decisions to expand access to diagnostic and repair information should be made through the marketplace, not through legislation.

  4. Yeah, we should have the right to repair the products we purchase. I don’t buy the Apple excuse that products could be damaged. They’re damaged already. People can figure it out. That’s what innovation is for, right Apple? “The right to Repair” will probably benefit Apple in the medium run by introducing more newbies to Apple through the used market and allowing more Apple owners to upgrade by being able to sell products that otherwise would end up as waste.

    1. Did you read the article? Do you know what the law is about? Hint: the headline, and the “right to repair” name isn’t it.

      There is no law, nor regulation, that prohibits you from tinkering with your iPhone (or any other device). You are free to do to it what you want. There is a large global market for replacement parts for all Apple devices. Look on eBay and you’ll find replacement battery kits, screen kits, camera kits, touch-ID kits… Plentiful, cheap, complete with instructions and custom tools. You are free to repair your broken phone.

      The law is supposed to require Apple to sell the replacement parts themselves (rather than leaving that market to third-parties). It solves nothing, it improves nothing. After all, does anyone really believe that a screen replacement kit for an iPhone will be sold cheaper at Apple Store than it is today on eBay (shipped directly from China)?

      This law is a solution in search of a problem.

      1. I might add, I can’t see any part of the engine in my Audi – it’s totally sealed in, top, bottom and sides…you need special tools just to take away all the engine bay tech…and there are very few non-authorized dealers I would trust my car to.
        Horses ass law making.

      2. It’s a not-quite-right solution to a very real problem.

        You’re right of course that there’s nothing to prevent me from repairing my own electronics. The Right to Repair movement is primarily about requiring manufacturers to provide sufficient technical reference documentation so that individuals or service providers can competently make those repairs.

        This includes manuals, tools (Apple has invented 2 different new screw heads for no reason other than to discourage repairing your own gear), and part specs.

        The current atmosphere of secret schematics and closed repair process is anti-consumer.

  5. Well, if you’re dumb enough to poke a lithium battery, you deserve to be burned.

    Apple just doesn’t want customers to upgrade or modify their own stuff. No wonder people are considering Hackintoshes more often.

  6. I don’t think anyone here wants to make it illegal for someone other than Apple to repair an iPhone. If you are adventurous, know what you’re doing and know where to find replacement parts, you are free to do to your iPhone whatever you wish.

    Apple is essentially simply trying to defend its bottom line. The new law wants to require Apple to make available for sale replacement parts and service manuals. This essentially means that the law will require Apple to enter a new market (replacement parts), which is minuscule (how many iPhone users actually need service; and of those, how many will NOT take their phone to Apple Genius Bar?), and where the law now regulates what should be offered for sale.

    Apple doesn’t really care if customers are opening up their devices and repairing them on their own. They simply don’t want to make repairability a consideration in their industrial design, especially when it is in direct conflict with reliability, weight, size, number and complexity of parts.

    In other words, if Apple has to choose whether to make iPhone with a user-replaceable battery, memory, camera, screen, or make the phone robust, with as few parts as possible, in as few assembly steps as possible, making it cheaper, the obvious choice (not just for Apple, but for overwhelming majority of consumers) is — make the phone compact, robust, reliable and cheaper.

    And those who want to replace their screen, please feel free to do this on your own. The iPhone screen isn’t a custom-build display that only Foxconn can get for the iPhone assembly plants; anyone can buy complete 3D touchscreen assembly for iPhone 6S, for example, on eBay, shipped directly from China, with all the necessary custom tools and screwdrivers, for less than $50 (look it up). Same for all other components inside every Apple device.

    This law is pointless; it is an unnecessary regulatory burden on Apple in search of a problem. Free and open market is clearly already solving that problem. I am all in favour of proper regulation where it is required (protection from harm), but there is nothing to protect here.

  7. Planned obsolescence.

    There are people within Apple pushing hard to make its products disposable. There is no legitimate reason that a battery cannot be user-replaceable other than Apple greed.

    1. Get to an Apple store with your dead phone and Aplpe will have a solution for cry babys

      Disposable products? Obsolescence?! I have and 2004 ipod still running high, a 2008 MPB running EI, a 2007 Mac Pro still doing HD edits, an iPhone 4s, 5c, 5s still running high.

      What are you talking about? Another one who has no clue and probaly no Apple products.

      1. Sorry but Apple battery replacement solutions suck. They charge a fortune to swap out a battery if the battery isn’t glued in. If it is glued in, then Apple will also take your first born child. All the while the Apple Store salesman drops hints that for just a little more you could have the new thinner model. It’s not a customer friendly setup.

        That said, I don’t see a law being effective since everyone knows Apple is big enough now to ignore or steamroll any consumer wishes.

        1. Sounds like you are ready to make the switch.

          Go to ShameSung my friend. These gadgets are darn cheap.

          That way, you will no longer have to swap the battery, you just dispose of the entire phone.

          The ROI on Apple products is the best in the industry. If you can’t afford the backlash, move on.

  8. Apple is right here. It is their only way to assure the integrity of the Apple experience. Beside, there is Apple Care.

    I am lucky enough to work in a industry where you play with big powerful tools. To name a few brands : Barco, Christie Digital, Lightware, Think logical, Sony, Panasonic and so on. None of these company give the right to repair easily. You need grades, classification, certification, dedicated training and so on.

    Barco isn’t giving the right to repair now has too many horror story came from clients. They made the decision to stop repair training program and assure quality overtime.

    Apple is in the same mentality. Knowing that all Macfan boys are zealots (like me), Apple is only protecting the Apple experience.

    Plus, get to an Apple store and trust me Apple will try hard to suffice you.

    BTW is there any Samsung zealots repairing their crappy phone?

  9. The problem for the manufacturers is that people are sick of throwing away electronics for want of an affordable part. I can understand the concern about lithium batteries, but frankly, that’s an item that a LOT of users already do replace. Apple should use more screws and less glue in their products.

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