California Just Doubled Down on Right-to-Repair

Everyone should have the right to repair their tech through their own means. Apple, which has been historically hostile towards self-repairs and third-party repairs, has been gradually easing up, selling official parts and equipment for some of its products. And while it could improve more, it might actually be forced to do so now, thanks to new, more stringent right-to-repair laws passed by California.

The SB-244 Right to Repair Act has just passed unanimous votes through the state’s Assembly and Senate, and it’s now expected to soon move through a concurrence move and be signed into law by Govenor Gavin Newsom. The bill demands that vendors must provide parts, tools, and repair manuals for devices costing up to $99.99 for three years, with all items $100 and above needing support for seven years. This means that companies such as Apple, under this law, are obligated to release repair parts and tools, as well as repair manuals, for seven years if those items are valued at over $100.

Some items could skirt this requirement a bit. Namely, items that are priced at $49.99 rather than $50 would avoid this law entirely, while items priced at $99.99 rather than $100 would be obligated to provide parts for three years rather than seven years. We should also note that the law leaves the pricing of parts at tools at “fair and reasonable terms,” and if a repair shop is not authorized by an OEM to provide repairs, it must provide a written notice to the consumer of this fact.

Still, this is a step in the right direction, especially if it can get Apple and other companies to actually care more about third-party repairs. We know Apple can be forced to implement changes with appropriate legislation — the switch to USB Type-C on the iPhone 15 series was at least in part due to an upcoming requirement by the European Union, which requires that smartphones, tablets, most laptops, and other portable devices must support Type-C charging. More repair laws are also going into effect next year in New York and Minnesota, so hopefully, things will get better very soon.

Source: Ars Technica

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