Each week, we will bring you the top repair news from around the world, curated for iFixit by the folks over at the Fight to Repair blog.
The Big News:
Phone Makers Warm to Owner Repair
Google last week became just the latest major smartphone manufacturer to say that it will begin supplying its customers with access to parts and information to repair their phones. They join Samsung, which announced a repair program for Galaxy phone owners in March, and Apple, which unveiled a self service repair program in November. Google will follow Samsung in partnering with iFixit to provide genuine parts and tools for its Pixel phones.
The announcements are good news for right-to-repair advocates: evidence that calls for new right-to-repair laws are changing thinking and business plans in the boardroom. But the fight for the right to repair isn’t over. Here are some things to consider amid all the good vibes from smartphone OEMs:
- The devil is in the details. OEMs like Apple, Samsung, and Google get lots of good press when they unveil repair-friendly programs. But the spotlight soon moves on, whether or not those firms make good on their promises. Apple still has not divulged details of how that program will work, five months after announcing it. That has led some to wonder whether the company intends to make good at all.
- A long-term vision? Big questions loom about OEMs’ long-term commitment to repair, re-use, recycling, and other circular economy concepts. In the case of Apple, for example, reports suggest the company’s long-term plans may have it moving away from the concept of ownership altogether—pushing customers into hardware subscription programs rather than allowing them to buy (and own) its hardware outright. Such a program would have profound implications for phone owners’ right to repair or modify their devices.
The long and short: while we can and should take pleasure in the progress we’ve seen in the past few months, it’s way too soon to declare victory in the fight for the Right to Repair!
Repair guides for machines designed to move slowly and get big jobs done, including farm vehicles and construction vehicles designed for specialty tasks.View Device
Nebraska was within a whisker of becoming a leader in the right to repair movement, as an agricultural right to repair bill made it to the floor of the Nebraska state Senate on Thursday for debate. In the end, however, it wasn’t to be. A filibuster orchestrated by opponents of Sen. Tom Brandt’s (Plymouth) Agricultural Equipment Right-To-Repair Act killed what could have been the first of its kind to reach a governor’s desk.
LB 543 would have provided farmers and independent mechanics with access to software, parts and other necessary repair materials for farm equipment. It earned support from numerous agriculture and repair advocacy groups, including the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Farmers Union, U.S. PIRG and the Repair Association. Equipment manufacturers and dealers staunchly opposed the bill.
“We believe that we had the votes to pass LB543 if the opposition had not filibustered the bill. Despite all of the progress we made, we can’t dispute that this was a tough loss for the farmers that need Right to Repair … Farmers in the Cornhusker state may have to do more of their husking the old-fashioned way while they wait for repairs on their modern equipment. We can all ‘thank’ industry lobbyists, who kept Nebraskan food producers from being able to fix their own stuff,” said U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair Campaign Director Kevin O’Reilly. (US PIRG)
We can all ‘thank’ industry lobbyists, who kept Nebraskan food producers from being able to fix their own stuff.U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair Campaign Director Kevin O’Reilly
EU Votes to Back Right to Repair Proposals (Apple Insider)
Apple Insider reports that the European Union has taken a further step toward implementing Right to Repair laws, with the latest vote backing proposals regarding repairability, and adding a requirement that manufacturers increase the warranty periods.
Proposals for Right to Repair legislation have been working through the EU’s political process since 2020, but a major element has now passed a plenary vote. According to Public Affairs Brussels, the European Parliament voted 509 in favor, with three against, and 13 abstentions, to adopt the European Commission’s proposal and make it an EU key initiative for 2022 (appleinsider.com)
MIA: Apple’s Self Service Repair Program (Mac Observer)
Apple last year announced a new “Self Service Repair” program, which for the first time would allow consumers to buy parts for iPhone 12 and 13, “soon followed by” M1 Macs, to repair them themselves at home. While the company promised that the program would be launched early this year in the US, we haven’t heard about it since November 2021—so what happened? Is it still coming?
The reasons why Apple hasn’t yet launched the Self Service Repair program are unknown, but there are some hints that indicate that the company still has plans to introduce it at some point.
For instance, some users have noticed that there’s an option to order “replacement parts” for the Apple Watch within the Apple Support app (although it only redirects the user to speak to an Apple advisor). The press release published on the Apple Newsroom site is still there with the statement that the program “will be available early next year in the US and expand to additional countries throughout 2022.” (9to5mac.com)
Federal Auto Right To Repair Bill Picks Up GOP Co-Sponsor (Collision Week)
Proposed federal legislation requiring automakers to supply information, parts, and software to service vehicles got a boost this week when U.S. Representative Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair Act (REPAIR Act). The bill was introduced in February by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). H.R. 6570 would be a federal version of legislation enacted by the Massachusetts legislature in 2012. It would apply to 288 million registered passenger and commercial motor vehicles in the United States. Currently, vehicle owners and independent repair shops outside of Massachusetts can access repair and diagnostic information as a result of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by most U.S. automakers in the wake of the passage of the Massachusetts right-to-repair bill. In exchange for proponents not pursuing further right-to-repair legislation, that MOU agreed to honor its terms nationally.