Ever tried to repair your iPhone yourself? Apple doesn’t make it easy. In fact, it prefers that you don’t.
The Cupertino, CA company, along with Microsoft and large consumer tech companies, has lobbied against so-called "right to repair" laws introduced in eight different states in recent months. The guidelines would require companies like Apple to provide their customers with access to parts and directions for repairing themselves the hardware they own.
So far, the only "right to repair" law that's passed in any state has dictated action from car manufacturers, not electronics companies. But supporters of bringing the movement to things like smartphones, tablets and laptops are going to continue to push.
"We’ve been working on this, in one shape or another, for over a decade," iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens told Circa.
iFixit helps gadget owners fix their devices themselves, when companies refuse to. Wiens’ team of experts tear apart smartphones, tablets and laptops and then provides the directions and sells the tools customers need to do those kinds of repairs themselves. The site has guides on how to replace batteries, screens and buttons for most of Apple's gadgets.
"Overall, the iPhone is pretty easy to fix ... [but Apple's] laptops and the iPad are bad," Wiens said.
The hardest to service, according to iFixit: For smartphones, it's the Samsung Galaxys; for laptops, the latest Microsoft Surface is king of the hard-to-take-apart mountain.
Smartphone maker Fairphone and, on the laptop side, DELL and HP, offer gadgets that rate high on iFixit's Repairability Score. Wiens said if "right to repair" legislation passed tomorrow, those companies would basically already be in compliance.
Apple recently announced it’s putting screen-repair machines in over 400 third-party stores, which should broaden your right to repair your iPhone … with a licensed retail partner.
Apple didn’t respond to Circa’s request for comment on the topic, but Wiens believes the rolling out of the machines is the company’s small response to the popularity of "right to repair," though one where the iPhone maker gets to continue raking in screen repair fees.
"It’s all about money," Wiens explained. "They’re making a billion dollars a year repairing phones’ glass, so they can afford to spend $100 million on fighting "right to repair."