One of the more notable subjects to come across my Mac’s screen in recent months has been the so-called right to repair. As modern technology has moved into every nook and cranny of society, the right to repair what we buy and use has been overshadowed by large and powerful companies that want you to bring your product to them for repair. They don’t want you to do the repairs. That’s wrong.
This is a movement with legs. First, a bit of history. Years ago, the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right To Repair Act made its way into the political arena.
The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, sometimes also referred to as Right to Repair, is a name for several related proposed bills in the United States Congress and several state legislatures which would require automobile manufacturers to provide the same information to independent repair shops as they do for dealer shops. Versions of the bill have generally been supported by independent repair and after-market associations and generally opposed by auto manufacturers and dealerships.
The most prominent initiative came from Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts “Right to Repair” Initiative, also known as Question 1, appeared on the Massachusetts 2012 general election ballot as an initiated state statute. The Right to Repair proposal was to require vehicle owners and independent repair facilities in Massachusetts to have access to the same vehicle diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturers’ Massachusetts dealers and authorized repair facilities.
Similar initiatives are ongoing in other states. Apple is against the Right to Repair. That’s wrong.
Whether or not I can repair a product I buy from Apple isn’t the issue. It’s whether Apple should provide third party repair shops with the same information it uses internally to effect repairs, and to make parts available for third party repairs.
Third party repairmen need access to information, parts, and special tools. Over the years, Apple has removed such access at many levels and has taken a stand against the Right to Repair.
Money. If a Right to Repair bill passes into law in one state, other states will follow, but Apple and other technology manufacturers would be required to provide third party– and customers– with access to proper repair information, parts, and even certain tools.
Here’s the deal. I may not want to repair my own Mac, iPhone, or iPad, but I want a choice for such repairs; especially on older devices where Apple’s preference seems to be to jack up the repair price so high that customers would prefer to buy a new device rather than repair an older device. Without that choice Apple becomes a monopoly for service. That’s wrong. Choice is good.
After a few years Apple drops some devices from their repairable list. I understand that. But if I own one of those older, outdated products that could still work with a minor repair, I want that option. Apple doesn’t provide it. The Right to Repair is a good idea whose time has come.