Apple and other tech companies are vying for consumers' right to repair gadgets

Apple and other tech companies are vying for consumers' right to repair gadgets ...

It's well-known that companies resist the temptation to repair gadgets "from the outside." Some pre-create the device so that it cannot be repaired: they use unconventional bolts, glue, or solder components. Others modify the software so that the hardware fails after a repair, or the performance declines after an upgrade.

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Apple made concessions and permitted the repair of smartphones with third-party displays in 2017, and in early 2019, began to repair iPhones with non-genuine batteries, established a program to repair iPhones that have completed their warranty period at independent service centers, and also provided training for 265 thousand repairmen. Two years later, Apple announced that it would be providing components so iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 owners may have their displays, batteries, or cameras repaired.

Nevertheless, some argue that Apple's components and tools are so expensive that it's sometimes cheaper to acquire a new phone.

The right-to-repair movement has erupted around the world, requiring corporations to sell parts and repair kits to independent shops and regular users. Manufacturers argued that such restrictions would expose industry secrets, give third parties access to sensitive information, and harm consumer safety.

The Right to Repair movement encompasses all types of goods, from toasters to refrigerators, cars, motorcycles, and tractor cars, as well as official diagnostics, manuals, tools, and training. Deere and Company has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureaus, which allows owners to disable electronic locks legally.

Due to disappointing data on e-waste, legislators and companies have more or less stepped up in the first place. E-waste contains heavy metals and compounds, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium, which, if not properly treated, exposes communities to the danger of cancer and birth defects.

According to surveys conducted between June and September 2022 among 8,775 European households in six countries, there are on average 74 electronic goods in a household, including phones, tablets, and household appliances, including toasters, and hair dryers. On average, 13 of them are simply in storage (9 are owned but not used, and four are broken).

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The use of large amounts of energy and the extraction of raw materials leads to a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that affect global warming. One research claims that the manufacture of a smartphone produces 40 to 80 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, equivalent to driving a conventional automobile for 320 kilometers.

Manufacturers of washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and televisions must ensure that components can be replaced with common tools that consumers can readily use, according to European legislation. Apple, for example, scored its iPhone 12 Pro Max with a 6.

In 2021, US President Joe Biden asked federal officials to adopt regulations prohibiting manufacturers from doing self- or third-party repairs. Several states have considered right-to-repair legislation, but many have been defeated.

Consumer advocates are already expressing remorse that some new regulations only benefit professional repairmen, as they do not guarantee repair rights for consumers and organizations. In addition, legislation often emphasizes physical components rather than software. Manufacturers often sell entire modules of components rather than one component that must be replaced, making repairs uneconomic.

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