“Right to repair” advocates probably couldn’t have imagined that Apple would be one of the biggest names on their side a mere five years ago. But that’s precisely what’s happening here: The tech giant has officially came out in support of having federal right to repair regulations at an event hosted by the Biden administration. Apple VP Brian Naumann proclaimed at the event that the company “supports a uniform federal law that balances repairability with product integrity, data security, usability, and physical safety.” He also said that the company intends to “honor California’s new repair provisions across the United States” even though national regulations have yet to be established.
Apple has a lengthy history of opposing attempts at passing right to repair rules. The company once said that Nebraska was bound to become a “mecca for hackers” when a bill was introduced in the state. It changed its tune in the past few years, however, and started selling parts and tools to consumers, as well as offering them access to repair guides so they could fix their iPhones and Macs on their own. Apple also backed Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman’s right to repair bill in California in August before Governor Gavin Newsom signed it into law.
Under California rules, device makers are required to stock replacement parts and tools and offer repair documentation for three years for gadgets that cost between $50 and $99. For devices that cost over $100, they’re required to provide parts, tools and documentation for seven years. Apple already sells parts and repair tools across the US, but if it’s following California provisions nationwide, that means those items and its repair guides would be available for years to anyone in the country.
In addition to promising to honor California’s right to repair provisions across the nation, Naumann also talked about what an ideal federal law should have. “We believe that a uniform federal repair law should do the following: Maintain privacy, data and device security features which help to thwart theft; Ensure transparency for consumers about the type of parts used in a repair; Apply prospectively, to allow manufacturers to focus on building new products that can comply with the proposals; And finally, create a strong national standard that benefits consumers across the US and reduces the confusion created by potentially conflicting state approaches,” he said.