Apple has expressed support for a “right to repair” bill in California, surprising many industry observers. The bill, known as SB 244, is currently being considered by the state’s legislature and aims to give consumers more freedom to repair their electronic devices and appliances. Apple’s letter of support emphasizes the importance of allowing customers to repair their devices safely and without compromising privacy or data security. This move sets Apple apart from other major manufacturers, as it is the only one to openly endorse the bill in this manner.
The letter from Apple is seen as a significant boost for the bill’s sponsors, state senator Susan Talamantes Eggman and co-author senator Nancy Skinner. With Apple being a nearly $3 trillion company that has its roots in California, its support carries considerable weight. This gesture also highlights the power of the right to repair movement, which has gained momentum in recent years. Similar bills have been introduced in at least 14 other states, and last year, New York signed the Digital Fair Repair Act with provisions to ensure access to repair information for independent repair providers and consumers.
California’s Right to Repair Act builds upon the existing Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act from 1970. The proposed legislation would require manufacturers to provide fair and reasonable means for owners, service facilities, and dealers to diagnose, maintain, and repair products, regardless of warranty. Additionally, non-authorized repair providers would need to inform customers and disclose the use of non-manufacturer replacement parts. The bill passed a Senate vote with unanimous support and is pending approval before a full assembly vote.
In conclusion, Apple’s unexpected support for the right to repair bill in California is a significant development in the ongoing debate surrounding repairability and consumer choice. As the only major manufacturer to explicitly endorse the bill, Apple’s stance underscores the need to balance consumer rights with privacy and security concerns. The backing from such a powerful and influential company provides a major boost for bill sponsors and the broader right to repair movement. With similar legislation gaining traction in other states, industry compromise may be necessary to achieve meaningful reform.